Why are people so paranoid? How can something so frivolous and unbelievable bring out the worst in us? There was a time when everyone was going hysterical over nothing, thousands of artists were getting laid off for no good reason, and a national communist scare had the nation at a standstill. In premise, it sure reminds me of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, where a small town in Massachusetts goes stark crazy over what seems to be a huge witch hunt but in this case, it's not the 1600's anymore and it's hard to believe this was the United States in 1954 under the iron-mouthed Senator John McCarthy.
There were several communist scares in the United States such as the Red Scare in the 1920s and the Palmer Raids that followed, but in February 1950 Senator John McCarthy acquired quite a following when he began pointing fingers at alleged communist sympathizers. The hysteria and paranoia that had existed post World War I returned in full swing once more, but this time the threat was even greater and movie directors, actors, writers and other artists were being deemed potential communists and were chastised. Black listing, which was a list that had prevented the people on it to acquire jobs because of the potential communist threat, made many artists whom lost their jobs were unable to acquire any more work; lives were ruined.
The madness finally ended in 1954 when McCarthy accused the secretary of the Army for concealing foreign espionage activities. The secretary fought back in a widely publicized set of debates. McCarthy was then seen as brash and temperamental, with little evidence to back up any of his claims, and then his following had died like the hysteria that he had brought with him; this had thus set the stage for Miller's play The Crucible. .
Arthur Miller had rewritten the Witch-hunt that had occurred there in 1692 into a fictional literary piece. The play The Crucible used the historical witch-hunts with fictitious characters to subtly question the actions that the government was taking to prevent communist spreading.