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Arthur Miller, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare

Lecture presentation
by

Yanira Figueroa

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Arthur Miller, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare

Joseph McCarthy Miller's Education Miller graduated from Lincoln High School, New York in 1932, and he was accepted to the University of Michigan. But like other families during the Great Depression, Miller’s family had very little money for college. So he had to work odd jobs throughout his college career.
At first he majored in journalism and became a reporter and editor of the student newspaper. But in 1936, his first published play, No Villain won the Avery Hopwood Award, motivated him to change his major to English.
After graduation, Miller worked for the Brooklyn Navy Yard to pay the bills as he wrote radio plays for CBS. Miller and Monroe In 1940, Miller married his college sweetheart, Mary Slattery a daughter of a salesman. He had two children, Jane and Robert, with his first wife Mary. In 1956 Miller divorced his wife only to marry Marilyn Monroe later that year.
In 1958, Miller wrote and directed the play The Misfits, in which Monroe starred. The filming caused stress on their marriage, and in 1961 the couple divorced.
A year and a half later, Monroe died of a drug overdose. The McCarhty Hearings For the next four years, he searched for Communist subversion through televised and highly publicized hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He subpoenaed some of the most prominent entertainers of the era (e.g., Orson Welles, Lucille Ball, Dashielle Hammett, and Lillian Hellman) before HUAC, demanding “the naming of names.” Joseph McCarthy Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908 – 1957), arguably the greatest demagogue in American history, gained national attention in 1950 when he claimed that the State Department had been infiltrated by Communists. In a speech in West Virginia, the Senator proclaimed, “I have in my hand a list of 205 cases of individuals who appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party.” Arthur Miller Arthur Miller McCarthyism and the Red Scare The Crucible As a result of his experiences with the HUAC, Miller wrote The Crucible, which drew connections between McCarthyism and the Salem Witch hunt.
Many innocent people were accused and lost everything in both the Red Scare and the witch hunts.
Through the play, Miller was able to indirectly criticize the American government. The Fall of McCarthy Careers and lives were ruined by McCarthy’s accusations, which were based on unidentified sources, and weak evidence. In April 1954, McCarthy accused the Secretary of the Army of concealing foreign espionage activities. The Secretary countered that members of McCarthy’s subcommittee staff had threatened army officials in order to obtain preferential treatment for an associate of the subcommittee who had been recently drafted. The Senator and his committee were cleared of these charges, but McCarthy was censured by the Senate, and his power slowly declined. Miller and the Red Scare The late 1940 through the 1950s is often called the “Red Scare,” when many Americans were afraid that communism would invade the United States. Senator Joseph McCarthy organized many meetings or hearings in attempt to “catch” communist Americans or traitors.
The House Un-American Activities Committee or HUAC was formed to target members of the communist party in the United States. Many of these people accused of communism where innocent, but lost it all through these HUAC hearings. Miller was one of McCarthy’s victims.
In 1952, a director who Miller worked with, Elia Kazan, listed Miller as a member of the communist party.
In 1957, Miller was called to testify by the HUAC. He refused to reveal names of colleagues who had participated in Communist activities.
Miller was found guilty of contempt of court, and was sentenced to thirty days in jail and fined $500. In addition, to having his passport revoked, Miller was blacklisted from Hollywood. In other words, he was prohibited from working in the entertainment industry. His conviction was overturned in 1958. Arthur Miller Born on October 17, 1915 in New York City to Jewish-American parents, Isidore and Agusta Miller.
His father owned a successful women’s clothes manufacturing business. But in the market crash of the 1930s, his father’s business failed, and the family had to move to a humbler in Brooklyn.
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