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Using Historical Footage (High School)

Central Question

Senator Joseph McCarthy

Why is the exchange between Welch and McCarthy historically significant?


This example includes materials for challenging high school students to consider the historical context of primary source footage. Asking questions of, and about, this clip from the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings helps students consider its contemporary reception and significance. Additional documents then challenge students to consider McCarthyism as an ideological and political climate that extended beyond its namesake’s actions in its duration and impact.

Film Clip: Army-McCarthy hearings, June 9, 1954 (duration: 12:28)

Partial Transcript: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/welch-mccarthy.html

Historical Thinking Focus: Interrogating sources, Historical context and significance