American Attitudes Toward Communism
Overall, the American people were adamently against communism, as it stood as the direct antithesis of the American liberal/capitalistic ideal. This was especially true in the case of McCarthyism at home.
The US took a hardline on communism in the international realm as well. One official US foreign policy was called containment. Containment is the policy that was used to justify American military involvement in Vietnam, The driving principle behind containment was the belief that communism was an ideology that could spread like wildfire. As such, it needed to be contained by any means necessary to reduce communist influence throughout the world. The idea was that if one country in southeast Asia fell to communism, soon every country in the region would fall to communism. This is called the ‘domino effect.’ This type of thinking was actually perpetrated by President John F. kennedy’s Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in response to Laos being taken over by communist forces, “if Laos were lost, all of Southeast Asia would fall.” This policy influenced American foreign policy so much that it became official military policy in 1958 with the document NSC-68. This meant that the US military had prerogative to engage any sort of communist influence appearing throughout the world, as it was perceived to be a threat to national security. Anti-communist propaganda appeared all throughout American society and presented anybody even remotely sympathetic toward the communist cause, such as with McCarthyism, was seen to be a threat to national security.