1950's Historiography

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Insert Name Here Period Teacher Turn in Date Historiography Paper The 1950’s and the present as well as recent years contain many similarities in their social and political development. While nearly 60 years apart, these decades share many commonalities including great fear of certain social and political waves (communism and terrorism), acute paranoia, and general malcontent throughout the era. The results of these similar circumstances are that the thought processes of historians in both eras are increasingly similar. During the 1950’s a great communist scare was taking place, and a similar circumstance is happening today with terrorism. In the 50’s, with the containment policy and the domino theory a prevalent fear for Asia,…show more content…
Anyone (although public figures were primarily targeted) could have been involved in communist activities – a prevalent fear in the minds of many American citizens – and therefore discriminated against. In view of the horrors of the war, the utter terror derived from the mere thought of America going communist, and the irrationality of the people, many historians chose to view the past with less harsh an eye. Many of America’s past follies were looked upon in a brighter light, as well as its faults made to seem more justified. In view of the foul events taking place, it was a natural reaction to look upon the past in a more positive manner. The cold war, for example, can be viewed a great many ways; however for 2 decades following WWII the Soviets were viewed as the aggressors when plenty of evidence (such as many American missiles facing the border of the Soviet Union from bordering countries) is available to suggest that the Soviets were not the only justified in some of their actions but that the US was the real aggressor at times. However as the current times were so dark, it was not difficult to look upon the past with a far less critical…show more content…
While the scare is over terrorism rather than communism, the principle is the same. Out of this terror, paranoia, fear, and general discomfort, historians tend to draw a more positive light to shine through the darkness of the age. The terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 11th was one spark that started the fire against terrorism. People, primarily men of Middle Eastern descent are the new subjects of discrimination - in the eyes of the fear-ridden American they are possible terrorist threats. The country, just like in the 1950’s – nearly 60 years prior was, and is sold on fear. However in this decade there isn’t a new “McCarthy” – one man is not needed to stimulate accusations and distrust as this fear is not against just anyone, but rather focused on specific ethnic groups. The terrorist scare of present times shares the same qualities and traits as the communist scare of the 50’s and the resulting effects on historian thought. Both are an overblown paranoia against a specific group of individuals causing much havoc and fear. Out of this fear comes the resulting philosophy or thought process of historians – a new pro-American, less critical view of the
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