The Lavender and Red Scare

During the early 1950s, the United States was in a fierce rivalry with the Soviet Union for global power. Both superpowers employed large amounts of espionage to gain intelligence. In America the fear of Soviets lurking amongst the American public became known as the Red Scare. Where thousands of innocent people were investigated by the United States government due to ties to either left wing groups, or racial backgrounds. During this time another scare occurred. Known as the Lavender Scare, thousands of Homosexuals were also investigated by the United States government for simply being Homosexual. The scare originated from the United States senator Joe McCarthy and his ties to the homosexual community. While little information was given about his personal life. McCarthy soon came under fire from many others in Washington about his sexuality. Many saw his homosexuality as a weakness and a sign of disloyalty to ones country. Friedman explains this in his article about McCarthy where he states that many believed his lack of “masculinity” was a show of disloyalty to ones nation. Many believed that in order to show loyalty. One needed to be masculine and strong. McCarthy however, was Anti Communist and ran many campaigns to show the flaws of a Communist society. Not only did he show his loyalty to his country, but he served in its armed forces as well. McCarthy enlisted in the Marines during the Second World War and served in the South Pacific theatre. Fighting against the Imperial Japanese. After the war, McCarthy went to law school and win an election as the youngest circuit judge in Wisconsin history. However these services to his country did not translate to loyalty in the eyes of other senators in the United States government. In the past, many homosexuals that worked with the United States government were prosecuted by other members and their sexualities, usually of a private matter, were made public for everyone to see. This was similar with McCarthy. He had worked for years to establish himself as a tough strong man from humble beginnings on a farm, however this reputation was thrown out the window.

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