Technically, it was the Second Red Scare—the First Red Scare happening in the late teens and early twenties.
Regarding Mc Carthy, Arthur Miller later said, “[J]ust about anything that flew out of his mouth, no matter how outrageously and obviously idiotic, could be made to land in an audience and stir people’s terrors.” Miller would himself be investigated in 1956 and called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), where he testified honorably and did not name names when prompted.
These people were then looked at as and many of them lost their jobs because they were accused of supporting communism with little or no backing evidence.
Miller wrote his play about the Salem Witch Trials, and compared it to the Red Scare and Mc Carthyism.
The tide eventually turned, and both Mc Carthy and Mc Carthyism would be discredited, with the Senator dying of acute hepatitis in May 1957.
One might guess that what attracted the playwright to the story of Salem, the archetypal witch-hunt in American history, was the desire to find an historical analogue with which to compare the current crisis.
This is partly true, but Miller had always been fascinated by the history at Salem.
He was drawn to “the interior psychological question …
He came to America to make a better life for himself and his family, which he did as he became a professor at the University of South Florida (5). Sami Al-Arian was just a normal person, but because of his race, he was suspected to be a terrorist.
He was in prison for six years, and while he was finally declared innocent, there is no way to get that time back.