History coursework

Joe McCarthy gained fame at the height of the ‘Red Scare’ in America, between 1945 and 1952. During the Red Scare, people were very worried about the rise of communism in the world.In 1946 there was the discovery of a large communist spy ring in Canada.

It began to make people paranoid about communists in trades unions. At that time, Joe McCarthy was a senator for the Republicans; he was in direct opposition to President Truman, a Democrat.The issue of the Red Scare was an important way to get votes and many programs and bills were passed to stop the infiltration of spies and communists into American society. The Federal Employee Loyalty Program in 1947, and the ‘Smith Act’ of 1940, made it illegal to ‘advocate the destruction of the American government’. This is when Mr McCarthy began his crusade against communism.In 1949 China became communist and the fear of the American people was growing. They needed a hero to appear to be doing something significant against the perceived rise of communism in America.With the discovery of the accused ‘communist traitors’, Alger Hiss in 1948, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1950, the public consciousness was getting more agitated.

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McCarthy made a famous speech in 1950. He explained to the American people how much of a problem communism was to America. The problem is never of invasion, but of constant infiltration. He urged the American people to root out these communist traitors from society, claiming they had renounced God.The main point of his speech was to tell the public that Truman was soft on communism. McCarthy claimed he had a list of 57 individuals who were communists, in charge of American foreign policy and were being protected by Truman.

This captivated the American people, and it was the time at which the Red Scare was at its most intense. McCarthy was taking advantage of it, constantly accusing people of being communists, doctoring photos to prove it. He accused the media, and the film industry.When Eisenhower, a fellow Republican, became President, McCarthy lost the friction he had always had between himself and the President, which he had always thrived on.

Fred Salmon 11MOEventually McCarthy overstepped the line, accusing the army of hiding 45 communists in its ranks.He had no real proof or evidence that he was correct in his accusations. The media was accusing him of faking photos and evidence just to get fame; people were beginning to look harder at what he was saying.A commission was soon set up to hear the charges between the U.S army and McCarthy. 20 million people watched on TV as the lawyer Robert Welch humiliated McCarthy.

McCarthy turned up drunk. Ending up with everyone connected to him getting extremely embarrassed by him, even fellow Republican senators. Eventually he made the mistake of claiming that a man in Robert Welch’s company was in fact a communist, once, a long time ago. This appalling accusation was not popular, and Robert Welch completely wiped the floor with him. McCarthy’s time was gone; he was disgraced, and lost all his influence.Explain the part played by Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President Kennedy.The assassination of JFK is one of the single most talked about events, ever, in the history of the 20th Century.

Facts don’t add up, people change their stories, evidence contradicts itself, and most importantly there are far too many coincidences. It looks so much like a cover-up, it entices peopleTo try and make things clearer, I will set out all the evidence of what happened on the 22nd of November 1963, and in the investigations following the assassination.At that time, Kennedy had lots of enemies.

Kennedy’s brother, Robert, was the Attorney General, and was starting a big campaign to expose the mafia. Right wing racists also had motives: Kennedy was in favour of focusing on the issue of black civil rights in America. Even the C.

I.A had motives, because Kennedy had decided against invading Cuba, which had led to an embarrassment in the Bay of Pigs. If you go even deeper, you can see motives for the arms dealers, as Kennedy was reportedly planning on stopping the Vietnam War, which meant less money for them.The Warren Commission, set up by the government in 1964, stated that Oswald was a lone gunman, working of his own accord. They deniedFred Salmon 11MOany evidence of a conspiracy, and disregarded any witnesses claiming any such thing. Their full report had no index and no logical order, making it very difficult for anyone to make sense of it.

They claimed that Oswald shot 3 bullets in 6 seconds, and he ran down the stairs to the 2nd floor of the book depository in 70-90 seconds.However the policeman witness who saw him on the 2nd floor said he was totally cool and collected, and not out of breath at all. They claimed that he shot through tree foliage, even though it would have made more sense to shoot the President on Houston Street, it would have meant a head on shot, which would have been easier.For me the main flaw in the Warren Commissions Report is that they seem to just disregard a lot of evidence that was collected, and claim them as simple coincidences. The fact that a single bullet could do so much damage and yet come out untouched is one such piece of evidence. When Jim Garrison tried to prosecute Clay Shaw (more about him later) this is what he said:Diagram Presented at the Garrison trial of Clay Shaw.Warren Commission Exhibit #689 (with President added.)Garrison Stated:”Therefore this one bullet has to cause seven wounds, because one missed and one was the fatal shot hitting the President.

So by the Warren Commission’s own admission, prior to hitting the Governor, this bullet had to go through President Kennedy who is sitting back there. Now you’ll notice that the Warren Commission did not attempt to include President Kennedy in their diagram of the shooting–they could not because of the total impossibility of this bullet having gone through the President also, it would have been too obvious. In other words, by the evidence of the Warren Commission itself, it is obvious that there was another shooter in Dealey Plaza.”Fred Salmon 11MOWhether he was right or wrong about another shooter, it does seem highly unlikely that one bullet could do so much damage and yet be totally intact, ‘magically appearing’ on Kennedy’s stretcher some time later.

The Warren Report however did have a lot of interpretations that seem to make sense. They recovered the sniper rifle at the other end of the warehouse with a partial palm print, Oswald’s. The rifle was registered to one A. Hiddel, the same name that Oswald carried in his wallet on a fake I.D. The rifle had been bought through a mail order company, which leads us to wonder why he would do such a thing when he could very easily have walked into any Texan gun shop and bought a rifle with no chance of being traced.The Warren Report states that Oswald shot a police officer who tried to arrest him after the assassination.

This is quite suspicious; if he was that scared maybe he was in fact the sniper after all. However, the Commission failed to investigate the fact that one witness said she saw two figures. The key witness also said he saw a man in a white jacket, but was never shown a line up.

It is little inconsistencies like these that leave doubts in my mind.Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, he was not told on what charge, and was interrogated for 12 hours with no record of what happened in those 12 hours. Soon afterwards a local thug named Jack Ruby, a man who had only 4 years left of life after being told he had terminal cancer, murdered him.

There are many reports of Jack Ruby having been a colleague or acquaintance of Oswald, of course un-provable, but interesting none the less. There is also one incident by the picket fence on Dealey Plaza on the 22nd November 1963, the day Kennedy was assassinated, when a young women saw 2 men get out of a pick-up truck holding what looked like a rifle covered by cloth. The driver of the pick-up was none other than Jack Ruby. She was disregarded as an unreliable witness.Lee Harvey Oswald was once a Marine, a radar specialist. He gained some special training in Russian; this was unusual for a Marine, especially one who was trained in radar monitoring.

He was discharged for having a fight with a senior officer, and moved to Russia, where his details become sketchy and unreliable. It is believed he gave important information to the Russians. Whether this is true or not, he returned to America with a new wife, apparently disillusioned with the Russian way of life. When he landed in America, he was issued with a new passport. Considering that he was potentially a traitor this seems very odd.Fred Salmon 11MOIn 1976 the Senate, because of new key evidence, set up a new commission. The conclusion of this Commission was basically that Oswald had fired three shots at the President, but that it was quite likely that he was involved in a vast conspiracy. They advised the government to look deeper into it, but as yet there has been no new investigation.

Between the 1964 Commission and the 1976 Commission, there had been an investigation headed by Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans. He took a man named Clay Shaw to court, claiming he was part of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Garrison said Clay Shaw knew Oswald, and had organized the whole scheme. It was decided by a jury that he was not guilty, mainly due to key evidence that could not be brought to court due to difficulties in the way the investigation took place.Garrison believed in what Oswald had said when he was originally arrested; Oswald claimed he was just a ‘patsy’. Garrison thought he was a scapegoat in a much wider conspiracy.So when all the evidence is stretched out in front of us it all seems very confusing, dizzying even.

There is no way to sort out truth from fact anymore, and to be honest I feel we may never know the real truth. The evidence points towards Oswald being the shooter, but it is not a definite fact, it also points towards some sort of conspiracy, a conclusion that could be jaded by corrupt evidence. It looks as though we will have to wait until 2029, when all the documents on the assassination will be released, to find out at least some truth about what happened on the 22nd November 1963 in Dealey plaza.Who did more to undermine the trust that many Americans had in the office of President – Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon?Both Johnson and Nixon were in office for two terms, so they must have at least looked like they were doing something right. They were both very popular in their prime, but equally un-popular in later years.

Both presidents had to deal with two major and controversial issues.The first of these is the issue of Civil Rights.Fred Salmon 11MOJohnson was a very keen developer of the Civil Rights. Trying to give as many rights to the black population as possible, he put lots of bills through the Congress. He made discrimination in public places illegal and stopped funding segregated schools.

The government gave money to parents who sued segregated schools (DeJure), and he sent a bill through which made “discrimination of colour” in the work-place illegal. All of these bills were considered by many to go too far, but by others not to go far enough. There lies the internal problem with the civil rights issue: it was very hard to strike a balance with the public’s opinion. Johnson even appointed the first black cabinet minister.

He also started a system called ‘Affirmative Action’ whereby the government would employ a fairer percentage of black people. Johnson passed another bill that gave the vote to all black people in the country. He believed that this would stop all the problems with Civil Rights.However the riots continued, much to his dismay. With the rising of ‘Black Power’ he became increasingly annoyed by the black community. He felt he had done so much for them and they just threw it right in his face. Every summer of Johnson’s presidency there were huge, so called ‘Urban Riots’; which led to deaths, injuries, robberies, and to the introduction of army patrols in black neighbourhoods.

These riots were obviously un-popular with the general public.In contrast, the black people had not really voted for Nixon in the election, he was not very popular at the beginning of his time in office, and he seemed to be unenthusiastic about the issue of Civil Rights. He appealed to the ‘southern voters’.

However he did do some things to help black people in his time: he did not cut down the welfare program that helped, he extended the voting rights act. The army and the C.I.A cracked down on the Black Panthers and the urban riots. All the leaders were arrested or killed. This was beneficial because it gave a kind of peace to the black community, much like Nixon’s attempts at peace in Vietnam. He also set up ‘ the Philadelphia Plan’ which aimed to get all government-run businesses to set targets for training and employing black people. He desegregated more of the schools that were not following the law.

He stopped the unpopular scheme of busing (sending inner city black pupils to white schools by bus). This was a very good move for Nixon as it increased public confidence in him as he had done something they felt strongly about.The problem with Nixon and Civil Rights is how contradictory his ideas were. It’s very unclear whether he really helped civil rights, but he definitely made more popular decisions.Fred Salmon 11MOThe next big issue to concentrate on is that of the Vietnam War.Nixon and Johnson had different views on this matter.Johnson’s war began with the brutal assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem.

Johnson decided to honour U.S commitment and not let communism take over South Vietnam. Soon after, there was the ‘Gulf of Tonkin Incident’, and the Congress gave Johnson ‘all necessary means to stop the aggression’. He started ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’, bombing key targets of the North Vietnamese army. As war progressed Johnson got more troops in; by 1964 he had deepened American involvement, but as yet had not explained fully the issue to the American people, angering them, and causing them to loose trust in him.By 1968 when the American involvement was at it’s peak, the people were becoming restless, and riots and demonstrations began to occur all over the country. It became an issue, either pull out or fight harder, this was called ‘the hawks vs.

the doves’.So in the end Johnson decided to stay in Vietnam and fight, but with increasing amounts of casualties and deaths, public opinion was now 50/50. The draft was re-introduced, and even more people sent to war. All in all, I feel it was really out of Johnson’s control by then; it was more in the control of his advisors, ‘The Wise Men’, thus the American people felt that their President was no longer in chargeOne of Nixon’s election promises was that he had a plan to finish the Vietnam War altogether.

He started by bombing the Ho-Chi Minh trail in Laos and Cambodia; it was kept secret from the press and the public. This first move was very unpopular.The people were organising huge rallies and demonstrations against the war, ‘The Moratorium’ were the largest of these. Unluckily for Nixon the news of the My Lai massacre got out, photographs of the atrocity were plastered on all the front pages, and this news of a whole village being massacred and its being kept secret, shocked and horrified most Americans.Nixon had several schemes up his sleeve, however most were highly un-popular, such as the invasion of Cambodia. His plan was beginning to get clearer as he slowly removed troops from the fighting, and tried to get them to train the Vietnamese troops. This was called Vietnamisation. Year by year there were fewer troops and far fewer casualties, though he still was unpopular.

Eventually the two countriesFred Salmon 11MOsigned a kind of peace treaty, and the Americans fled. Although not quite the sort of end that the military presence had originally been for, it was still something all the American public wanted to happen.There are also other separate issues that each individual president had to face.For instance, Johnson had started his campaign with the promise of a ‘great society’, which was reminiscent of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ that wasn’t very popular in the time of its initiation.He tried to make a lot of changes, starting with the number of civil rights bills he passed. His ‘War on Poverty’ had the tag line ‘a hand up, not a hand out’.

The money was organised by the O.E.O (the Office of Economic Opportunity) and 800 Million was set aside for this scheme.

Although a large sum it was nowhere near enough.More federal money was put into education services, 4Billion dollars to be exact. This helped a lot, but it could not end the rise in bad behaviour and bad academic results in school children.

A system called Medicare was created to give more medical aid to the elderly, for free. It prevented a lot of the elderly from dying, but it meant social security taxes had to be put up, which angered most businesses. Another similar system, Medicaid, was set up in pretty much the same way to help certain categories of poor people.

Johnson gave a lot of people what they needed. However he really did not go far enough, it just angered the middle classes and probably enraged the working classes because the system was a lottery.Nixon on the other hand had a scandal on his hands, ‘ The Watergate Scandal’. He had been identified as one of the main people who organized a break-in of the opposition’s office, to fix the bugs they had set up months before. Nixon had paid them hush money after they got caught. Eventually it became apparent that Watergate was not the only illegal operation that Nixon had been involved in, there had been more hush money, more bugging. Nixon kept on trying to appeal to the public, claiming his innocence.

But everyday people began to lose more and more trust in him.It was then uncovered he had tapes in his office, he had recorded all his conversations, but he would not allow anyone to have these tapes. Even when the Supreme Court ordered him to hand the tapes over, he still made excuses.

Eventually, when he did give themFred Salmon 11MOup, he only selected some of them, and one had a large 18-minute gap in a very key part of a conversation. This led the public to lose all trust in the President as he kept on appealing and saying he was innocent.Eventually, just before he would have been impeached, Nixon was the first president in history to resign his office. He had severely damaged the public’s trust in the presidency, and the way in which politics is run.

With all the facts aligned in a contrasting way we can see how each President dealt with similar crisis. As regards the Vietnam War, they both made a lot of mistakes as far as trying to get the public to trust them in their decisions, especially as they chose to hide much from the public anyway. However Nixon finished the war and as such resolved the crisis far better than Johnson. Nixon also dealt with the Black civil rights more confidently, by stamping out the entire ‘Black Power’ movement which had been endangering society for the past few years.Although not doing as much as it was intended to, Johnson’s ‘great society’ was not unpopular; he was at least trying to improve America.

Ultimately, however it was Nixon who undermined the trust of the American people the most because of ‘The Watergate Scandal’ when he lied to the public constantly. He resigned because of this dishonesty and he never recovered his political influence.