The responsibility of McCarthy for the Red Scare

The Cold War marked the significant beginning of the uproar that was the Red Scare. Communist threat was imposing the United States more than ever, and as the tension between both politically opposing countries intensified during the late 1940s and 1950s, the impact of this communist threat started to influence all sectors of American society. The Red scare showcased social upheaval as a product of political suspicion. Affecting all levels of society, it distributed mass suspicion, as well as introducing to individuals the use of the Red Scare as an element of control. The impact of the Red Scare was fuelled by the anti-communist propaganda that stemmed through all waves of society, further sparking this hysteria. A key fear that played a focal role towards this, was the fear of losing freedom. As a prominent American sentiment, displayed through the ideal of the American dream, the prospect of the loss of freedom was something that greatly powered this communist subversion.

This initial infrastructure that built up the domestic fear of communism was starting to expand into the wider more political sectors of American society as ‘the anti-Communist fervour permeated American politics’. [1] The rise of ‘McCarthyism’ was formulated after Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin), made himself famous in 1950 by claiming that large numbers of Communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department during his Lincoln Day speech. His polarising character was demonstrated through his search for communists in the Central Intelligence Agency, the State department and other highly prominent sectors of the government. His constant presence within the spotlight played a key role towards the control that he possessed, such as being able to control the press to the rise of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1954. His role towards the Red Scare was highly influential.

The differing views on McCarthyism’s impact ranges from the idea that McCarthyism was only a catalyst to the hysteria that was the Red Scare, to the view that McCarthyism encompassed all that was the Red Scare, and acted as a pioneer to this movement of subversion. To view the whole impact that McCarthyism played on the Red scare, and subsequently American society, three interpretations have been chosen. ‘McCarthyism was more than McCarthy’ by Don. E Carleton as suggested by the name highlights the idea that McCarthy was not the focal point of the Red Scare. Carleton’s research stems around the more domestic impacts of the Red Scare that McCarthy did not account for. In addition to that, Richard H. Rovere’s interpretation ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’[2] further suggests the view that McCarthy played a more potent role towards the Red Scare, diverging from the already prevalent anti-communist attitudes of the time and focusing on the expansion of McCarthyism, predominantly through politics. Finally, the third interpretation will be focused on the impact of the government against that of McCarthyism and the Red Scare. Deborah K. Palmer[3], showcases the unstable response of ‘control groups’[4] as a key reason towards the Red Scare. Ultimately the impact of the McCarthyism was significant towards not only the Red scare, but the ideology of American values such as capitalism and laissez-faire. This impact was fundamental, and in some eyes the turning point.

Dr. Carleton’s interpretation on McCarthyism highlights the ephemeral nature of McCarthyism and focuses on how the Red Scare already ‘permeated all levels of society’.[5] Published in 1987, this interpretation assesses the Red scare and the impacts of McCarthyism from a more analytical perspective due to his writings not being within the time period of McCarthyism. Coming to the end of the Cold War, it could suggest a less bias perspective. This because of the fact that he would not have been writing in the midst of the Red Scare tension whereby political stances could have been easily swayed, in amongst the hysteria. Carleton examines the value of McCarthyism by looking at the Red scare beforehand, as opposed to looking at the full extent of the impact of McCarthyism. The result of analysing the impact of the Red scare from this approach means that there is distinct comparison created for the reader from the social conditions before and after the uproar of McCarthy. To exemplify the weight that McCarthyism placed on the Red scare, Carleton focuses on the effects of the Red scare from a local level, examining the ways in which innocent members of society were affected by this.  This not only highlights the extent to which the Red Scare infused sectors that weren’t political, but also highlights the sheer degree to which these accusations were being made, further showcasing the spectrum at which these local level attacks were situated. Carleton purposely highlights the idea that ‘the Red scare had a virulent effect in components of American life outside the national, political and entertainment areas’[6]. This brings the focus of the Red scare elsewhere from that of the influence of McCarthy. As said by Landon Storrs ‘McCarthyism’ remains an apt label for the demagogic tactic of undermining political opponents’[7]. Storrs described it as a term too ‘narrow and complex’[8] to fully encapsulate the extent of the impactful factors of the Red Scare. This emphasises the idea that when looking at the Red scare as a whole, McCarthyism did not encompass all of the responsibility, further supporting Carleton’s view that it was the primary force of the Red Scare mania. Carleton supports this view through a series of case studies, focused around the records kept of suspected communist advocates. One example mentioned, is of ‘a Cleveland engineer with an otherwise spotless record’[9] who kept close affiliation with his parents whose names appeared on lists by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The HUAC was known for carrying out strident attacks on Roosevelts administration prior to the outbreak of the war[10], further showcasing how not only was the anti-communist sentiment existent long beforehand, but also that McCarthy’s role was non-existent in it. The impact of the HUAC was a way in which the government ‘fed off the hysteria’[11] and marked a way for movements such as McCarthyism to unravel. This is the focal point that is displayed in Carleton’s source, suggesting that the fear and hysteria of such anti-communist sentiments was the main responsibility for the Red Scare.

In addition to this, Carleton showcases further examples of the constituency files of Texas congressmen, such as the Red Scare ‘foot soldiers in local communities’[12] further reporting on Red Scare participants. This clearly emphasises the disassociation of the impacts that the Red Scare in contrast to that of McCarthyism. Looking at the ‘multiplicity’[13] of how it panned out at the local community level it shifts the focus away from McCarthy but also does not place the blame elsewhere. A key flaw that this example possesses is that it only displays examples in the state of Texas, not showing a more widespread impact, hindering his thesis. Furthermore, it can be argued that even though Carleton disproves the potency of McCarthy’s influence, he also does not focus on what the prominent reason for the Red scare was. This leaves the question of whether it was due to the Cold War tension, or the pre-existing anti-communist ideals that were already rooted in America. Despite this, the weight of this interpretation bodes well with the criteria of assessing the responsibility of McCarthy during the Red Scare, embedding case studies from an individual perspective to the perspective of collectives affected by the Red scare. Without directly focusing on the role of McCarthy, Carleton proves to exemplify many other factors that were just as prominent. The lack of focus on McCarthy can be seen as a hindrance with regards to the direct focus of the criteria. Nevertheless, it can still strengthen the case with the focus of directing the reader to other more pressing issues that stemmed from the Red Scare- issues that did not gain enough recognition towards the responsibility of the Red Scare.

Whilst Carleton addresses the impact of McCarthyism at a more local and concentrated level, it is important to assess McCarthy’s responsibility of the Red Scare and its impact on a broader spectrum. Carleton’s view addresses the idea that the Red Scare was very much evident before the rise of McCarthy. However, it is crucial to understand the influence that the figure of McCarthy played on the already present issue of anti-communist sentiments, and to assess if his impact inflamed the issue or stagnated it; a factor which Carleton’s interpretation did not place enough emphasis on. In Richard Rovere’s interpretation ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’[14], he emits a very biographical tone in his interpretation of the impact of the senator. The result of this is that is sheds a glorifying light on McCarthy’s actions, placing full blame on him for the Red Scare. The image of McCarthy during the Red Scare was seen to have emitted great recognition, and Rovere highlights his renown in the light of the American political system at the time, which focuses on the effectiveness and his impact of his actions during the Red Scare.

Rovere was an American political journalist during the period of 1915-1979. He was initially a member of the Communist movement in 1939, during the Great Depression, writing for the ‘New Masses’ paper. However, in the same year, as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, he broke with Stalinism and became an anti-communist liberal. Due to this, it is evident to see that Rovere was very much influenced by the political climate at the time, turning to communism during an economically gruelling period, and then going against those ideals after its affiliations with the Nazi movement. This affects the validity of the source as it showcases how Rovere could have been very much swayed by the heat of the prevalent anti-communist sentiments, and writing in 1959, shortly after McCarthy’s death, it is evident that he viewed McCarthyism as highly impactful, suggesting that McCarthy fuelled the drive for the Red Scare.

Rovere highlights how McCarthy was ‘the most gifted demagogue’[15] that had a swift access to ‘the dark places of the American mind’[16]. McCarthy’s use of propaganda and popular prejudices were shown to have created a mass fear in unemployment, as they seeped into the areas of government employment, labour unions, higher education, the media and party politics. McCarthy’s demagogic tactic ironically influenced anti-communist crusaders to undermine democracy by suppressing the expression of dissent. Justin Gustainis highlights McCarthy’s impact as a demagogue in a ‘rhetorical situation’[17] during a gruelling economic climate, such as the recovering period after the Great Depression. His influence was rife within all sectors of society, which is chiefly exemplified in the notion of “The Black silence of fear”[18] coined by the Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, deploring how it ‘blanketed the nation’[19], diluting political dissent and further encouraging political conformists. This showcases the extent of control that McCarthy not only had on his victims but his supporters, and further reinforces Rovere’s portrayal of his ‘towering figure’.[20] However, despite this, McCarthy’s evident presence in American society, infiltrating a sense of security for that of the public, is a factor that Rovere does not highlight within his interpretation. When assessing the extent of responsibility, the idea of impact plays a focal role in evaluating this. Rovere’s interpretation of McCarthyism, is seen to concentrate vastly on the bearing that he had on the higher ranks of administration and government bodies. In conjunction with Carleton’s interpretation, Rovere approaches McCarthy’s role predominantly from a political standpoint, when in reality the Red scare was the cause of mass hysteria on a social front, which arguably held the most fervent and influential positions in the framework of American society.

Rovere’s prominent focus on the political influence that McCarthy held over the government body and how it penetrated large sectors of the Democratic party is reinforced through his report of key case studies and anecdotes highlighting the influence made under the name McCarthyism. Rovere mentions his past career as a journalist, and his insights into the effects of McCarthyism through the lens of the press and media, a viewpoint that was crucial during a period of dissent and conform. He states how ‘in 1953, the very thought of Joe McCarthy could shiver the White House timbers and send panic through the whole executive branch’[21]. Rovere goes onto recall a story about how his interview with one of the Presidents assistants. Rovere’s intention was to not bring up the topic of McCarthy, however, inevitably the topic was brought up and ‘at the mention of McCarthy, his whole manner and expression changed’[22]. Rovere’s own personal accounts of his insight into the effects of McCarthyism can be deemed as a highly valuable component for the strength of the interpretation. In comparison to Carleton’s view of McCarthy, he utilises primarily second-hand sources, that can question the full validity of his view, however Rovere’s first-hand account, gives strength to his insight of McCarthy.

Rovere’s view of him as an essentially ‘destructive force’[23] towards the government is exemplified through all stages of McCarthy’s force within American society. This is reinforced from his dealings with Millard Tydings- a chairman of the committee that was to inquire into McCarthy’s charges against the State Department However despite this he put down Tydings by spreading the word that he was pro-communist. McCarthy’s use of inquiry and attack was a key way in which he could grasp control. The federal employee loyalty program was a ‘crucial instrument’ [24] of the growth of the Red Scare through McCarthy, an example of how the party was used as a key tool towards his works. Truman’s institutionalisation of the loyalty program in 1947 further showcased the persistent nature that McCarthy’s anti-communist ideals were taking on. This expanded the existing procedures for dismissing the political dissidents. McCarthy’s exploitation of the political system was daring and corrupt, expanding the boarder of his influence.

The component that played a significant role in the mass hysteria of McCarthyism, is the role of the government and the impacts of its arguably shadowing nature towards the movement. The leniency by which the government initially approved of McCarthy’s accusations can be seen as a way in which McCarthyism was highly propelled, giving it its notorious legacy.

Deborah K. Palmer, in her interpretation of ‘An Analysis of the Leadership and Rhetorical Strategies of Agitation and Control’[25] makes a clear focus on the role of the government towards McCarthy. McCarthy’s role as the state senator of Wisconsin, meant that his influence towards the government body was significant, from President Truman, to Eisenhower, McCarthy’s influences were prominent. When assessing the responsibility of McCarthy, the nature of an interpretation can differ from the perspective of placing the full blame and authority of McCarthy on the Red Scare, such as Rovere’s perspective. Contrastingly it can take on the stance of how the Red Scare was already a prevalent issue, placing little responsibility on McCarthy, much like Carleton. The premise of this interpretation counteracts the intentionalist approach that Rovere displays, and further develops the structuralist approach that Carleton fails to shed full light on, in terms of the Red Scare.

A significant emphasis that Palmer displays through her thesis, is the idea of ‘the strategy of avoidance’[26] from the government; or what she refers to as the ‘control group’.[27] Palmers interesting portrayal of the government as the control group serves as a way to highlight the lack of control that they had of McCarthyism. This referral further reinforces the idea of how control played a key part within the Red Scare, as a way to shift public perception of the Cold War chiefly displayed through Truman’s anti-communist foreign policy, and the ‘elaborate Federal Employee Loyalty Program’ [28]. This government form of control was seen to have been less strident than that of McCarthy’s methods of investigation. Palmer’s interpretation of how McCarthy’s control over the ironically named control group, serves to reflect Rovere’s viewpoint on how McCarthy ‘held two Presidents captive’[29] however Palmer makes sure to highlight this government inefficiency as the focal reason towards the hysteria of the Red Scare, not McCarthy’s dealings with such government counterparts. The effect of Palmers twist on placing the blame of the impacts of the Red Scare on the government suggests that the consequences were an inevitable cause due to the lack of intervention from the government, as opposed to a calculated attack on American society. This imminent nature of the effects of the Red Scare is a view that Carleton advocates, highlighting how it was a problem that was already rife within society, placing specific emphasis on the House of Un-American activities and its ‘proliferat[ing]’ nature[30].

Palmer develops her criticism of the control group and its ‘avoidance tactic’[31], and states examples of these ‘avoidance tactics’. A key illustration that Palmer displays is through John E. Peurifoy’s tactics of challenging McCarthy after his Wheeling speech when he ‘cited the subversive character’ of government policies. Peurifoy challenged McCarthy by asking him to name some card-carrying communists. The aim of this was to involve McCarthy in a discussion with the control group so that they could catch him out through his accusations. As a counter to this, McCarthy was seen to have questioned the reliability of members of the Secretary for discharge. Palmer goes on to suggest how this move seemed to strengthen McCarthy’s campaign due to the fact that the Senate were unable to implement the ‘principles of superiority and preparedness’[32]. This is a key way in which Palmer makes sure to highlight he dynamics between that of the control group, being the government and the agitative group being the movement of McCarthyism throughout the Red Scare, and their abrasive relationship throughout most of the Red Scare. The conceding nature of the government to give strength to McCarthyism is a key point not fully raised by Rovere. He conveys how McCarthy exploited the American party system as well as the government body in ‘brilliant and daring ways’[33] as opposed to the government exploiting itself by giving into this ideal of the ‘strategy of avoidance that Palmer so fervently proposes. The two contrasting perspectives, goes to further reinforce the impact in the differences within the time periods both historians were writing in.

The potent influence of the Red Scare was fuelled by the undeniable heat between McCarthy and the senate, however a key component Palmer fails to put enough emphasis on is the impact of public response, and how the reaction of the public was one of the most crucial driving forces of the Red Scare. Her lack of emphasis on this very significant sector of the Red Scare, weakens her argument on the incompetency of the control groups due to the fact that the responsibility could have been laid on the public perception. Carleton’s source chiefly focuses on this idea, highlighting how the red scare was a ‘simplistic device’ for the ‘community to use against…the conception of the perfect and proper community’[34] Carleton’s persistent focus on the public perception is a key way in which he makes sure to highlight the upheaval of the solid foundation of American society- the public, as opposed to Palmer’s perspective on the ever-changing foundation that is the government. The public perception and the fear of communism ‘generate[d] a great passion in people’ [35]It can be argued that this is a factor of Palmer’s interpretation that does not cover the wider perspective of the responsibility of the Red Scare.

The terror of the Red Scare was a fear that fed all elements of American society upon the ideals that it laid its foundation on. The interpretations focus on the prominent sectors of American society, that made up the very premise of what the Red Scare was. Carleton’s interpretation highlights the idea that the Red Scare was a force before McCarthyism stepped into focus within society. Carleton’s view supports the impact of the public voice and the influence of their discontent and fear with the hysteria of the phenomenon. His interpretation sheds light on the ideals of the Red Scare shifting the prospect of the American dream. Through his display of the case studies, the idea of the disruption within a person’s career is exemplified.

Contrastingly, Rovere’s interpretation takes on a completely different stance on the prospect of the responsibility of the Red Scare. Rovere places the full focus of the second Red Scare on McCarthy as a leading figure of demagoguery, enhancing the portrayal of his political role in instigating such hysteria. The nature of Rovere’s perspective can be seen as, being selective with the facts due to his previous communist involvement and his political bearing towards the far left, portraying McCarthy in a prominent light towards the anti-communist movement. Unlike Carleton, Rovere does not shed light on the conditions of the Red Scare before McCarthyism, suggesting that Rovere does not acknowledge the point of reference for the criteria of the question; comparing responsibility of McCarthy against what it was like beforehand. In conjunction to that, the last interpretation by Palmer, serves to move away from the figure of McCarthy and the body of the public, and places her focus on the government body, and its inability to keep such terror at bay. Palmer highlights the key dynamic between the forces of McCarthy, and the rest of the Senate, displaying their inability to control McCarthy, referring to them as the control group. Palmers view can be seen as a vital part that played towards the image of McCarthy as a powerful demagogue, however streamlined her view by restricting it to one focus, severely hindering the perspective of the Red Scare as a whole movement. The amalgamation of all interpretations can give the reader a good insight into all the competing factors towards the potency of the Red Scare, despite their differing assessments.

The Red Scare, was a force that encompassed many factors. It was the creation of fear and control, over a country that supposedly advocated freedom. Whilst assessing the three interpretations, it is clear to see the impact of the Red Scare did not derive from solely one factor. The Red scare was seen to have been a union of the incompetency of government forces, the fear and perception of the public and the agitating nature of McCarthy. All these forces worked towards the development of anti-communist sentiments, symbolising the American attitude in the midst of Cold War tension. The impact of McCarthyism can be seen as a prominent aspect of the hysteria of the Red Scare, with his countless scapegoating and ‘McCarthy hearings’ he deepened the importance of American capitalist values, yet was not the force that instigated the Red Scare. McCarthy became a label of political attack, yet did not fully permeate to local sectors, that serves as a way to display the influence of social attitudes towards the wider framework of politics. He was a key component to the uproar of the Red Scare, yet was not vital, due to the already prevalent nature of it.

Word Count: 3839


[1] Don E. Carleton – “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level

[2] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’

[3] Deborah K. Palmer – McCarthyism: An Analysis of the Leadership and rhetorical strategies of agitation and control

[4] Ibid pg 37

[5] “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level- Don E. Carleton pg 14

[6] Ibid pg 14

[7] Landon R.Y. Storrs Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of American History: McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare pg 3

[8] Ibid

[9] Don E. Carleton “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level pg 17

[10] Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt Glossary: House Un-American Activities Committee

[11]  The First Amendment Encyclopaedia: House Un-American Activities Committee

[12] Don E. Carleton “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level pg 17

[13] Ibid pg 17

[14] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’

[15] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’ pg 3

[16] Ibid pg 13

[17] J. Justin Gustainis -Rhetoric society of America: Demagoguery and Political Rhetoric: A review of the Literature- pg. 156

[18] Ibid pg 156

[19] Schrecker, Ellen. The Age of McCarthyism. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Marvin’s Press, 1994. (pp. 92-94)- The Legacy of McCarthyism

[20] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’ pg.4

[21] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’ pg.16

[22] Ibid pg 16

[23] Ibid pg8

[24] Princeton Paper- McCarthyism pg. 2

[25]Deborah K. Palmer- McCarthyism: An Analysis of the Leadership and rhetorical strategies of agitation and control

[26] Deborah K. Palmer -McCarthyism: An Analysis of the Leadership and rhetorical strategies of agitation and control- pg 37

[27] Ibid pg7

[28] Encyclopaedia Britannica: The Peak Cold War Years- The Red Scare

[29] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’ pg 5

[30] Don E. Carleton- “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level pg24

[31]Deborah K. Palmer McCarthyism: An Analysis of the Leadership and rhetorical strategies of agitation and control- pg36

[32] Ibid 36

[33] Richard H. Rovere ‘Senator Joe McCarthy’ pg 37

[34] Don E. Carleton “McCarthyism was more than just McCarthy”: Documenting the Red scare at the state and local level-pg14

[35] Charles Martelle -The college at Brockport: State University of New York- Fanning the Flames: Interpretations and Reactions to McCarthyism pg 30

How does Williams portray Maggie in Act One of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

Tennesse Williams

Tennessee Williams’ play ‘cat on the hot tin roof’ presents the characters of Maggie and Brick, a couple undergoing a great amount of strain within their relationship, through the infidelity and lack of love. Their relationship presents dimensions of a troubling nature, from obstacles of love and marriage to social pressures and constraints with family expectations. Williams presents Maggie as the character that vocalizes her troubling feelings the most, showcasing all tension, and displaying these complexities to the audience. Maggie is shown to be a persistent character that possesses elements of self-doubt and a longing of a relationship with skipper, which is something that Harding highlights through her affair with skipper and her own vanity.

The most significant way Williams presents Maggie is through her relationship with Brick. Brick is shown to have a resentment towards Maggie, this is shown through the long monologues that Maggie does compared to the short and blunt sentences that Brick comes out with, in addition to Brick barely paying attention when he says; ‘did you say something’. The way Maggie extends one point for a long period of time suggests her want for that connection with Brick, finding excuses to talk about things like being the ‘perfect candidate for Rainbow Hill’ and raging about the ‘no neck monsters’. This evident separation and the futility of Bricks mental absence in the room can lead the audience onto feel sympathy for Maggie, because with Bricks mental absence Maggie vocalizes how ‘living with someone you love can be lonelier than living entirely alone’ The contradictory nature of this quote, highlights the way Maggie has reached the pinnacle of her desperation. In addition to the verbal desperation shown through Maggie’s monologues, her physical stage presence is shown to be another way Williams demonstrates her seeking validation from Brick. Maggie is walking around half naked ‘in a slip of ivory satin and lace ‘She is trying to attract Brick in a physical way, showcasing her vanity as ‘she giggles with a hand fluttering at her throat and her breast’ This element of promiscuity that Maggie possesses is another way Maggie tries to reiterate her need for Bricks attention.

Furthermore, another focal aspect of Williams’ representation of Maggie, are the complications presented with her affair with Skipper. The prominent factor that can be presented to the audience is the way that Maggie talks a lot about the situation with Skipper, despite Bricks attempts to make her stop talking about it. This persistence that Maggie acquires could signify to be the reason as to why Maggie and Bricks relationship is in such a fragile state. Maggie explain how sleeping with Skipper was a way for both of them to feel a little bit closer to Brick, further reflecting their relationship with Brick, portraying Brick to be an inaccessible character if they both had to resort to infidelity. Maggie’s desperation is further shown through her affair with Skipper as it highlights her love for Brick and Bricks detachment from her. In addition to that Williams creates parallels between Brick and Skipper through how ‘skipper began hittin’ the bottle’ This correlation between Skipper and Brick that binds in with Maggie, displays Maggie’s efforts in trying to fix something that is not broken or cannot be fixed. It brings up this idea of mendacity, and what lies behind Maggie’s perception of Brick and Skipper’s relationship. Maggie tries confront skipper, to tell the truth about his feelings towards Brick;’  I destroyed [Skipper], by telling him the truth that he and his world which he was born and raised in, yours and his world, had told him could not be told?’ It ties with the idea of Maggie’s persistence, despite her knowing what is actually happening within her relationships.

Maggie’s nature is clearly amplified through her interaction with other characters, especially Brick. William’s does this to showcase her almost self-conscious nature and her care for staying within the social conventions. This links in with the pressures that Maggie is faced with through her interactions with Mae, as well as her stage presence. Williams creates an ironic parallel between Mae and Gooper and Brick and Maggie. Mae’s fertility is something that very much defines her in the play, and it is used as a direct contrast to Maggie who can’t have children due to her unstable relationship with Brick. Mae uses this as a way to get to Maggie; ‘honey if you had children of your own you’d know how funny that is’ this further reinforces Maggie’s underlying pressure that she may be feeling to meet the social expectations. In addition to Maggie’s lack of children, Mae and Gooper demonstrate affection towards each other with serves as another parallel to Maggie and Brick’s relationship. Mae is shown to be everything that Maggie is not, further emphasising this social detachment that Maggie plays, that could possibly create more sympathy from the audience. Williams creates this pressure through Maggie’s character to highlight inward self-deprecation that Maggie plays towards herself, she is ‘completely alone, and she feels it’ she is the ‘cat on the hot tin roof’ as her unfortunate circumstances within her relationship presents the hardships and pressures that she not only puts upon herself but receives from others.

To conclude, Williams portrays Maggie as a ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ a phrase that encompasses her lack of love and stability within her relationship, alongside her social strains put upon herself.  Her determined and persistent attitude draws out her true emotions alongside the stage directions that reflect her inner feelings when no one is around. Maggie is a character that yearns for the attention from Brick, and she gives herself away physically to gain this, reinforcing this idea of her want to make things right and her need for love.

To what extent did Stalin’s power over the party change between 1928 and 1953?

-MAKING OF THE USSR-

Throughout the course of Stalin’s power over the USSR, he exhibited control through the many forms of an autocratic dictator, showcasing forms of terror in an extremely centralised government as well as terror shown by purges. Stalin’s course of power originated on the fundamental foundations of terror throughout the communist party leading onto further formations of the Soviet constitution and the rise of high Stalinization that formed within the latter half of Stalin’s control due to his tactics within the party. These forms of power display a noticeable change through the dependence on the tactics used that Stalin has to how he exercises the forms of power that originate from regulating the communist party at the very beginning of his authority to the slow demise of his power post-war.

One of Stalin’s main tactics to secure his power was the removal of political rivals so that his own policies could be put forward easier as well as eliminating any obstacles to his rise in power. There were disagreements within the party during 1928, such as the Rights concern about the removal of the NEP that was translated by Stalin as standing in the way of ‘socialism in one country’. Stalin neutralised the right through undermining Bukharin to get to the wider opposition of the right in the politburo. Targeting individuals at the extent that Stalin did with Bukharin was a good tactic used to stabilize his control that is shown to have foreboded possible future methods used by Stalin to minimize threats to his power (possibly the Kirov murder1934).  However, there is a notable change within the shift of the number of purges used by Stalin that contrasts to the beginning foundation formed by the removal of his political rivals.

The purges of the 1930s further secured his hold over the party. Stalin used forces of terror such as the chistka to accentuate the power that he was controlling. Additions such as the chistka imply the lengths that Stalin took to rule over the party and signifies the start of reliance upon the use of terror through purges as it is shown to be a focal factor in maintaining the power. This unchanging way of regulating the party was a good way to get rid of opposing party members, and to Stalin, this was a vital way of securing his prominent authority within the government. It secured the allegiance of Stalin’s cronies, and as said by professor of history; Ronald Grigor Suny ’purging was a permanent and necessary component of totalitarianism in lieu of elections to seeing the Great Terror as an extreme form of political infighting’, it shows how before the war the great purges played a focal role with Stalin’s power over the party and was a shift from the early 1930s where the severity of the purges heightened.  Through the 1930s as the purges widened, it further highlights the dependence and the importance of purges, and it indicated how Stalin was working at his own agenda to not only secure the communist party but also trying to secure his own personal position. Furthermore, this is especially demonstrated through how purges widened with show trials after the Kirov murder as an excuse to ensure loyalty. This factor can be shown as a similarity or a constant that has always been a motive for Stalin, due to the fact that the purges of the Politburo were to ensure that the ruling opinion was Stalin’s. This tightening of power over the party creates more terror, which could suggest superficial power over the party due to the fact that it is not party members actual opinions and intentions. It can bring up the question; if the actual intention to agree with policies is not there, then is true power?

The Soviet constitution of 1936 showcases a different type of control that is utilized by Stalin. It was not a form of terror as such, but a façade of a democratic constitution created to display a united front for the government, it shows off a different type of way Stalin secured his power over the party. Additionally there were limits to Stalin’s power that has shown to have weakened his strength over the party such as personal limits and limits imposed within the leadership, such as concerns expressed by the Politburo about the increased use of brutality and even economic plans presented by Stalin that faced high amounts of concern from within the Politburo. These concerns show the dissatisfaction within the party members that hindered Stalin’s power to dictate without obstacles, these factors can show how only the strongest force for control over the party were the purges.

During the war Stalin’s power was at a high and it demonstrates a change in Stalin’s form of power over the party as purges decreased and even some ex party generals were released from gulags (Russian labor camps) The use of propaganda heighted to retain support and to mobilize the masses for the war effort, it shows a direct contrast to the brutality used within the party before the war. The events of the war rose Stalin up as a hero for the Soviets and soon developed into High Stalinism, increasing the influence that Stalin had over people and exhibits the power of this cult of personality that formed.

After the war Stain needed to reassert power over the party, yet the exterior look of power and control that Stalin had developed was shown to have been a façade as his health started to decline. Stalin gradually relied on political scheming to minimize threats to his position and power. Additionally, Stalin could no longer command his subordinates and could only maintain through the intrigue of terror. This is further showcased through the Mingrelian affair and the use of expanding the politburo to use as counterweight against Beria and Malenkov. It further highlights the façade that Stain was still powerful when in reality his power was draining away so he had to resort to diluting other party member’s power to make himself seem more powerful. The decline of power that reflects his health shows an end to Stalin’s ability to control the party yet his cult of personality is still maintained.

To conclude, from 1928-1953 Stalin’s power noticeably changes through the course of his control over the communist party through the forms of terror implemented over the party, ranging from the extents of the terror, such as the great purges of the late 1930s that exhibited a great amount of terror to implement control, over the party. Changes to Stalin’s method of control starts to change over the course of the war and the deterioration of the maintenance of power starts to show after the war. This direct contrast to the beginning of Stalin’s power with a heightened method of control to the draining away of power as a façade begins to form highlights the extent to which the power drastically changed over the course of 1928-1953.

The American Dream

“A study of the USA in the C20th shows the American dream is a myth”

America was seen to have emerged during the twentieth century as a prominent force of economic power. It seemed to have freedom, individual liberty and accomplishment all encompassed under this idea of ‘The American Dream’. The idea of the American dream embodied freedom and equality and that everyone should be offered the opportunity of becoming rich and successful if they worked hard enough. As said by American writer, James Truslow Adams, ‘life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone with the opportunity for each’. The nature of America as a country embraced endless opportunities for the use of land, and culture as a result of immigration. The goal was success and opportunity- Jennifer L. Hochschild states that ‘The American dream consists of tenets about achieving success’ Success played a focal role in the layout of the American dream, in more negative ways than positive. The idea of success was warped through the ideology of a capitalist society alongside traditional societal views of family and culture. The American dream in its essence was no more than an ideal as opposed to reality. It carried fundamental flaws and contradictions that prioritised oppression and legislation over equality, to the point where the full achievement of the American dream was almost unattainable to reach.

During the 1920s the American dream bridged heavily on society through the economy, politics and popular culture. The 20s saw an increase in prosperity due to factors such as a larger population of 106.4 million with a considerable amount of purchasing power. In addition to that, there was the aftermath of the First World War with many other countries in a state of bankruptcy meaning loans and reparations that countries owed America, and a stream technological progress that was shown through ‘Fordism’ paving the way for industrial and management developments. The twenties highlighted the American dream in the light of consumerism and materialism as a meter of success. This new liberal era impacted mass enlightenment from the jazz age to the sexual revolution. The American dream was not only attainable from an economic standpoint but from the personal view of individual lives. Harold Evans states in ‘The American Century’; ‘such was the exuberance of the people, manifested in spectacular bursts of invention and productivity’ Due to this significant influx in prosperity, the Wall Street crash leading to the great depression took a heavy toll on the socioeconomic condition of America. The great depression under Hoover’s government faced many trials that extinguished a sense of hope in the American dream that t was once found during the age of prosperity. Many of Hoover’s policies were either implemented too late or they were too short term. The great depression marked a key adjustment to what American citizens perceived the American dream to be. It showcased how the idea of an ‘American dream’ was not as simple as what materialism and consumerism offered. It weakened this idea of success that Hochschild speaks about, highlighting how success was not always in the hands of the American population.

A drastic transformation needed to be made, and subsequently due to this Roosevelt came into the presidency and launched ‘The New Deal’ between 1933-41. Historians would mark Roosevelts New Deal as a crucial turning point to the welfare of America from not only an economic standpoint but a social one. Roosevelt’s main aims through the new deal were to aid victims that were exposed to the detrimental consequences of the great depression. Millions faced unemployment, hunger, and poverty. A reformation of the economic system was a necessary component to revive America from its downfall, and to further revive America of its ideal of the American dream. Roosevelt implemented much of his new deal legislation within the first three months of his presidency, this showcased not only his efficiency but his readiness to immediately reform the economy. Roosevelts most successful policies were that of his ‘alphabet’ agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) which helped the poor, providing them with basic necessities such as food and clothing, and the Public Works Administration (PWA) which created jobs by paying unemployed people build schools, bridges, and works. These are just two examples of how the new deal carried out major reforms to revitalise the population from the depression. This sense of hope can be seen to instill sentiments of the American dream, the new plan showcases how the economy picked back up to make the American dream accessible once again. The new deal is an example of how the government stepped away from laissez-faire as an ideal and stepped in to help the population. One may argue that this lessens the ability for the American dream to be implemented to its fullest, due to the fact that government interference lessens independence and flexibility within society, and an element of dependence can start to form. This was a significant criticism that came from Republicans at the time, especially during the 1930s as an anti-communist sentiment was beginning to develop. E.J Dionne states in her article on practical Liberalism that; the new deal was a ‘broadly humanistic movement to make man’s life on earth more tolerable’. And this is what many saw it as. The new deal restored the confidence to American companies and its citizens, paving the way for a climate of hopeful change and development.  

The economic factors that contributed towards the idea of the American dream were significant, yet they were not as significant as the civil rights movement that spread across all sectors of society, from race, sexual orientation, and gender. The civil rights movement signifies the struggle for achievement and success due to the oppression and constraints set by society and the government. A key factor that the civil rights movement propelled was racial inequality. Segregation had been a standard way of living within most states. The changes to discrimination started off with desegregation, a key example being the Brown versus Topeka Board of Education case. In this case, the NAACP won a major supreme court ruling that declared racially segregated schools unconstitutional, this was a major development that created more of a sense of hope for full equality, yet at the same time caused more friction with southern states. The southern white power structure showcases key attitudes against the movement that hindered its progress and subsequently hindered the achievement of the American dream. It highlights how one of the focal opponents to the civil rights movement was legislation. The government as a structural opponent was harder to break through, as opposed to public opinion that altered through the period of the 50s. Peaceful protest, as promoted by Marin Luther King was significant in public perception of the civil rights movement. Aldon D. Morris states that ‘wide-scale black protest…stood a good chance of exposing the contradiction between racism and democracy’ This contradiction is especially prevalent due to the fact that the American dream was an ideal revolving around the nature of the government and the constitution. The advances in the civil rights movement carried on under Kennedy and Brown, and in 1964 a civil rights act was implemented. This was shortly after Kennedy’s proposal of the New Frontier, where a wave of civil rights campaigns was at its height. The civil rights act of 1964 marked the breakthrough of equality through the force of the government, however, this did not extinguish social perceptions and behaviour. There was a divide between the opportunities that black people and other minorities could receive. The civil rights movement was a positive step towards equality, yet not transformational to the treatment and viewing of the black community. The civil rights movement played a pivotal role in a generational stream of movements, which, as said by Morris, ‘crystallised’ the United States in its constitutional development. The Civil rights act was paramount in this regard for it prohibited a wide array of discrimination, yet it did not destroy them. The American dream, which conveyed the idea of success to anyone was emphasised as mere fiction to those from minority groups when assessing the effects of the movement from a long-term perspective. It cemented the view that development would take a much longer time.

and gender. The civil rights movement signifies the struggle for achievement and success due to the oppression and constraints set by society and the government. A key factor that the civil rights movement propelled was racial inequality. Segregation had been a standard way of living within most states. The changes to discrimination started off with desegregation, a key example being the Brown versus Topeka Board of Education case. In this case, the NAACP won a major supreme court ruling that declared racially segregated schools unconstitutional, this was a major development that created more of a sense of hope for full equality, yet at the same time caused more friction with southern states. The southern white power structure showcases key attitudes against the movement that hindered its progress and subsequently hindered the achievement of the American dream. It highlights how one of the focal opponents to the civil rights movement was legislation. The government as a structural opponent was harder to break through, as opposed to public opinion that altered through the period of the 50s. Peaceful protest, as promoted by Marin Luther King was significant in public perception of the civil rights movement. Aldon D. Morris states that ‘wide-scale black protest…stood a good chance of exposing the contradiction between racism and democracy’ This contradiction is especially prevalent due to the fact that the American dream was an ideal revolving around the nature of the government and the constitution. The advances in the civil rights movement carried on under Kennedy and Brown, and in 1964 a civil rights act was implemented. This was shortly after Kennedy’s proposal of the New Frontier, where a wave of civil rights campaigns was at its height. The civil rights act of 1964 marked the breakthrough of equality through the force of the government, however, this did not extinguish social perceptions and behaviour. There was a divide between the opportunities that black people and other minorities could receive. The civil rights movement was a positive step towards equality, yet not transformational to the treatment and viewing of the black community. The civil rights movement played a pivotal role in a generational stream of movements, which, as said by Morris, ‘crystallised’ the United States in its constitutional development. The Civil rights act was paramount in this regard for it prohibited a wide array of discrimination, yet it did not destroy them. The American dream, which conveyed the idea of success to anyone was emphasised as mere fiction to those from minority groups when assessing the effects of the movement from a long-term perspective. It cemented the view that development would take a much longer time.

The American dream and all that it offered was shown to be a myth in the c20th. It offered some element of hope from an economic standpoint, yet it could not be a full development if it did not encompass all elements of society. Under the harsh reality of a capitalist society that constantly thrives through competition and hierarchy it was shown to be unrealistic. The American dream did not offer ‘opportunity for each’ and could only be directed to a certain group in society that fit the criteria of privilege as shown through the struggle for civil rights and more specifically, racial equality. The American dream was only a myth that society revolved around but could not live by.