When the Red Scare was happening, Americans became mildly hysteric because they were concerned about the communist forces who were testing nuclear bombs and citizens began to prepare for what they thought would be a nuclear war. Politics were influenced and many people became distrusting of American politicians during this time.
The Red Scare happened during the mid 20th century as a result of growing pressure from communist countries to have a political war with the United States. The communist countries were prepared to fight in a more physical war and were wholly against the United States. Because of the time that this was going on, politicians were doing anything they could to fuel the fire of concerns from American citizens. They were using this concern as a means for political persuasion because it was happening around major election times.
Some people in the United States actually became radicals and were supportive of the communist efforts. Various political and governmental forces worked to squelch this communism in the United States and prosecuted every individual that was seen as a threat in the form of communism. Political entities began to make an example of the people who were radical communists in the United States to help secure their positions that they were doing what was best for the country.