On This Day: McCarthyism and the Red Scare

Senator Joseph's McCarthy's claims that communists had infiltrated and threatened the American way of life set off a red scare in the 1950s—and those claims have influenced today's concepts of loyalty to country. Using video clips from historians and authors, as well as newsreel footage of McCarthy and those who criticized him, learners consider the tense moment in American history. After watching the clips, they consider what role fear at home played in the Cold War. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use clips from historians to analyze the effects of McCarthyism on American politics and culture
  • Ask class members to use clips of McCarthy and his detractors for how they make their case to the American people
Classroom Considerations
  • Teachers must create a free C-SPAN Classroom account or the use of the following login credentials: Username: students, Password: C-SPANCLASSROOM
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • Authentic clips are carefully curated and easy to incorporate into instruction
  • Footage includes experts in the field discussing their work on the Cold War
  • None