In 1949, a re-elected Pres. Harry Truman attempted to push through a Fair Deal of domestic reforms, but with little success. Instead, the US government’s attention fixated upon the “Red” threat after a Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War & the Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb. As a charter member of the new NATO military alliance, the United States committed itself to counter these red gains by crushing Communist influences, both at home & abroad. This show profiles some of the individuals brought under suspicion in the search for “enemies within” that followed, including Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, Elizabeth Bentley, Kim Philby, & Klaus Fuchs. It also introduces a young & ruthless anti-Communist politician named Richard M. Nixon. The Red Scare ended up costing many innocent people their jobs based only upon them having previous left-wing political affiliations, & the Lavender Scare resulted in federal employment discrimination against gay & lesbian Americans based upon the dubious notion that they were all somehow “security risks.” The curse of the Cold War was the fear that gripped people throughout the USA, as they came to dread that their neighbor might be a Commie traitor, that their co-worker could get them fired by smearing them as a Red, & that a nuclearized World War III may be just around the corner.
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