Joseph McCarthy
Wisconsin politician
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere.
Joseph McCarthy's personal information overview.
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McCarthy's reputation misleading - UT Daily Beacon
Google News - over 5 years
Joseph McCarthy. The scant assessment usually includes a combination of the words HUAC (Sen. McCarthy was never apart of the House Un-American Activities Committee in any way), Red scare, witch hunt and hysteria. Most students are left with the notion
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McCarthy Redux - Hillsboro Times Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) launched his famous scourge of allegedly communist infiltrators in the US government and other prominent organizations. Many notable people supported his efforts, including Joseph P. Kennedy, father of future President Kennedy
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Bloomfield enduring hurricane-induced flooding -
Google News - over 5 years
Fire Chief Joseph McCarthy reported widespread flooding in Bloomfield along Broad Street and adjacent side roads. "Most of the major streets in town are impassible," he said, adding that many home basements have been flooded. Mayor Raymond McCarthy is
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Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) - Columbia Journalism Review (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The marketing team behind Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), a biopic of Edward R. Murrow set largely amid the public duel between the broadcast pioneer and the mildly outspoken anti-communist Senator Joseph McCarthy, decided to go with
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American History: Truman's Second Term - Voice of America
Google News - over 5 years
SENATOR JOSEPH McCARTHY: “Even if there were only one communist in the State Department –- (repeats) Even if there were only one Communist in the State Department, that would still be one communist too many.” (MUSIC) A Republican senator from Wisconsin
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Bloomfield Fire Department puts doomed building to good use -
Google News - over 5 years
"This is a wonderful combination of private developers working alongside municipal government," said Fire Chief Joseph McCarthy. "They usually have a small window of time between getting possession of the building and knocking it down,
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Late Night Dawg Bites: Georgia Tech Hammered, Auburn Up Next, and Richard ... - Dawg Sports
Google News - over 5 years
In his 1953 play The Crucible, Arthur Miller used the Salem witch trials of 1692 as an allegory for McCarthyism, but there was one major problem with that analogy: Joseph McCarthy was wildly irresponsible in his accusations, and he indefensibly leveled
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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men - Power Line (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
He's the author of numerous books, including both theoretical titles such as The Theme is Freedom, but also the most serious defense of Joseph McCarthy, Blacklisted by History. On the theoretical level Stan is known as one of the great “fusionists,”
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Music lessons at Pittston parks in '54 - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Google News - over 5 years
After completing the project, she sent the finery to Senator Joseph McCarthy in Washington DC Mrs. Redington had been following the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV and was impressed with the Senator's “lovely wife”. Upon receipt, the embattled senator
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Lies, dammed lies and Statistics - Meridian Booster
Google News - over 5 years
An example would be former US Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy said he had a list of communist supporters working within the US state department. The list varied from 57 to 205 to 81 in his speeches. But the statistic wasn't the point; it was that the
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Glenn Beck's Greatest Hits: An Odyssey of Outrageousness (Video) - TheWrap
Google News - over 5 years
Ah, Glenn Beck; half PT Barnum, half Joseph McCarthy, and half homeless man standing on the street corner hurling curses at the sun while wearing his pants on his head. (Yes, we're aware -- that's three halves, but the man is Just
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Flashback to the 1950s - Las Vegas Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Joseph McCarthy conducting on black-and-white TV witch hunts of Americans whose loyalty he questioned. Even fluoridated water was considered a communist plot. It was a time when certain politicians figured it was easy to prey on the fears of Americans
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A Second Look: 'Insignificance' - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Four characters identified only as the Actress, the Professor, the Ballplayer and the Senator — but instantly recognizable, thanks to some none too subtle identifying traits, as Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio and Joseph McCarthy
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Joseph McCarthy
  • 1957
    In the summer of 1957, a special election was held to fill McCarthy's seat.
    More Details Hide Details In the primaries, voters in both parties turned away from McCarthy's legacy. The Republican primary was won by Walter J. Kohler, Jr., who called for a clean break from McCarthy's approach; he defeated former Congressman Glenn Robert Davis, who charged that Eisenhower was soft on Communism. The Democratic winner was William Proxmire, who called the late McCarthy "a disgrace to Wisconsin, to the Senate, and to America". On August 27, Proxmire won the election, serving in the seat for 32 years until the end of his fifth full term at the start of 1989. Joseph McCarthy remains a very controversial figure. In the view of a few conservative latter-day authors, such as commentators William Norman Grigg and Medford Stanton Evans, McCarthy's place in history should be reevaluated. Some scholars assert that new evidence—in the form of Venona-decrypted Soviet messages, Soviet espionage data now opened to the West, and newly released transcripts of closed hearings before McCarthy's subcommittee—has partially vindicated McCarthy by showing that many of his identifications of Communists were correct and that the scale of Soviet espionage activity in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s was larger than many scholars suspected. After reviewing evidence from Venona and other sources, historian John Earl Haynes concluded that, of 159 people identified on lists used or referenced by McCarthy, evidence was substantial that nine had aided Soviet espionage efforts. He suggested that a majority of those on the lists could legitimately have been considered security risks, but that a substantial minority could not.
    McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48.
    More Details Hide Details The official cause of his death was listed as acute hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. It was hinted in the press that he died of alcoholism, an estimation that is now accepted by contemporary biographers. He was given a state funeral attended by 70 senators, and a Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass was said before more than 100 priests and 2,000 others at Washington's St. Matthew's Cathedral. Thousands of people viewed the body in Washington. He was buried in St. Mary's Parish Cemetery, Appleton, Wisconsin, where more than 17,000 filed through St. Mary's Church to pay their last respects. Three senators—George W. Malone, William E. Jenner, and Herman Welker—had flown from Washington to Appleton on the plane carrying McCarthy's casket. Robert F. Kennedy quietly attended the funeral in Wisconsin. McCarthy was survived by his wife, Jean, and their adopted daughter, Tierney.
    He and his wife adopted a baby girl, whom they named Tierney Elizabeth McCarthy, in January 1957.
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  • 1954
    Also in 1954, the radio comedy team Bob and Ray parodied McCarthy with the character "Commissioner Carstairs" in their soap opera spoof "Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife".
    More Details Hide Details That same year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network broadcast a satire, The Investigator, whose title character was a clear imitation of McCarthy. A recording of the show became popular in the United States, and was reportedly played by President Eisenhower at cabinet meetings. The 1953 fiction novel "Mr. Costello, Hero" by Theodore Sturgeon was described by noted journalist and author Paul Williams as "the all-time great story about Senator Joseph McCarthy, who he was and how he did what he did." The novel was adapted in 1958 by X Minus One into a radio teleplay and broadcast on July 3, 1956. In a 1977 interview Sturgeon commented that it was his concerns about the ongoing McCarthy Hearings that prompted him to write the story. A more serious fictional portrayal of McCarthy played a central role in the 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon. The character of Senator John Iselin, a demagogic anti-communist, is closely modeled on McCarthy, even to the varying numbers of Communists he asserts are employed by the federal government. He remains a major character in the 1962 film version.
    Several comedy songs lampooning the senator were released in 1954, including "Point of Order" by Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, "Senator McCarthy Blues" by Hal Block, and unionist folk singer Joe Glazer's "Joe McCarthy's Band", sung to the tune of "McNamara's Band".
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    On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67–22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion.
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    With the highly publicized Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, and following the suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester C. Hunt that same year, McCarthy's support and popularity faded.
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    On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to "condemn" McCarthy on both counts by a vote of 67 to 22.
    More Details Hide Details The Democrats present unanimously favored condemnation and the Republicans were split evenly. The only senator not on record was John F. Kennedy, who was hospitalized for back surgery; Kennedy never indicated how he would have voted. Immediately after the vote, Senator H. Styles Bridges, a McCarthy supporter, argued that the resolution was "not a censure resolution" because the word "condemn" rather than "censure" was used in the final draft. The word "censure" was then removed from the title of the resolution, though it is generally regarded and referred to as a censure of McCarthy, both by historians and in Senate documents. McCarthy himself said, "I wouldn't exactly call it a vote of confidence." He added, "I don't feel I've been lynched." After his censure, McCarthy continued senatorial duties for another two and a half years, but his career as a major public figure had been unmistakably ruined. His colleagues in the Senate avoided him; his speeches on the Senate floor were delivered to a near-empty chamber or were received with conspicuous displays of inattention. The press that had once recorded his every public statement now ignored him, and outside speaking engagements dwindled almost to nothing. President Eisenhower, finally freed of McCarthy's political intimidation, quipped to his Cabinet that McCarthyism was now "McCarthywasm".
    On March 9, 1954, Vermont Republican Senator Ralph E. Flanders gave a humor-laced speech on the Senate floor, questioning McCarthy's tactics in fighting communism, likening McCarthyism to "housecleaning" with "much clatter and hullabaloo".
    More Details Hide Details He recommended that McCarthy turn his attention to the worldwide encroachment of Communism outside North America. In a June 1 speech, Flanders compared McCarthy to Adolf Hitler, accusing him of spreading "division and confusion" and saying, "Were the Junior Senator from Wisconsin in the pay of the Communists he could not have done a better job for them." On June 11, Flanders introduced a resolution to have McCarthy removed as chair of his committees. Although there were many in the Senate who believed that some sort of disciplinary action against McCarthy was warranted, there was no clear majority supporting this resolution. Some of the resistance was due to concern about usurping the Senate's rules regarding committee chairs and seniority. Flanders next introduced a resolution to censure McCarthy. The resolution was initially written without any reference to particular actions or misdeeds on McCarthy's part. As Flanders put it, "It was not his breaches of etiquette, or of rules or sometimes even of laws which is so disturbing," but rather his overall pattern of behavior. Ultimately a "bill of particulars" listing 46 charges was added to the censure resolution. A special committee, chaired by Senator Arthur Vivian Watkins, was appointed to study and evaluate the resolution. This committee opened hearings on August 31. After two months of hearings and deliberations, the Watkins Committee recommended that McCarthy be censured on two of the 46 counts: his contempt of the Subcommittee on Rules and Administration, which had called him to testify in 1951 and 1952, and his abuse of General Zwicker in 1954.
    On March 18, 1954 Sauk-Prairie Star editor Leroy Gore of Sauk City, Wisconsin urged the recall of McCarthy in a front page editorial that ran alongside a sample petition that readers could fill out and mail to the newspaper.
    More Details Hide Details A Republican and former McCarthy supporter, Gore cited the senator with subverting President Eisenhower's authority, disrespecting Wisconsin's-own Gen. Ralph Wise Zwicker and ignoring the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers faced with price-slashing surpluses. Despite critics' claims that a recall attempt was foolhardy, the "Joe Must Go" movement caught fire and was backed by a diverse coalition including other Republican leaders, Democrats, businessmen, farmers and students. Wisconsin's constitution stipulates the number of signatures needed to force a recall election must exceed one-quarter the number of voters in the most recent gubernatorial election, requiring the anti-McCarthy movement to gather some 404,000 signatures in sixty days. With little support from organized labor or the state Democratic Party, the roughly organized recall effort attracted national attention, particularly during the concurrent Army-McCarthy hearings. Following the deadline of June 5, the final number of signatures was never determined because the petitions were sent out of state to avoid a subpoena from the Sauk County district attorney, an ardent McCarthy supporter who was investigating the leaders of the recall campaign on the grounds that they had violated Wisconsin's Corrupt Practices Act. Chicago newspapermen later tallied 335,000 names while another 50,000 were said to be hidden in Minneapolis, with other lists buried on Sauk County farms.
    To counter the negative publicity, McCarthy appeared on See It Now on April 6, 1954, and made a number of charges against the popular Murrow, including the accusation that he colluded with VOKS, the "Russian espionage and propaganda organization".
    More Details Hide Details This response did not go over well with viewers, and the result was a further decline in McCarthy's popularity. According to popular historian Arthur Herman, Murrow's staff edited the film to show McCarthy behaving in an unflattering way. Herman quotes John Cogley of Commonweal, a McCarthy critic, as stating, "A totally different selection of film would turn McCarthy into a man on a shining white steed—infinitely reasonable, burdened with the onus of single-handedly cleaning out subversives in the face of violent criticism." and that Murrow used "partial truth and innuendo".
    Even before Welch asked McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" in the hearings, one of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods was an episode of the television documentary series See It Now, hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow, which was broadcast on March 9, 1954.
    More Details Hide Details Titled "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy", the episode consisted largely of clips of McCarthy speaking. In these clips, McCarthy accuses the Democratic party of "twenty years of treason", describes the American Civil Liberties Union as "listed as 'a front for, and doing the work of', the Communist Party", and berates and harangues various witnesses, including General Zwicker. In his conclusion, Murrow said of McCarthy: No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men—not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.
    In Gallup polls of January 1954, 50% of those polled had a positive opinion of McCarthy.
    More Details Hide Details In June, that number had fallen to 34%. In the same polls, those with a negative opinion of McCarthy increased from 29% to 45%. An increasing number of Republicans and conservatives were coming to see McCarthy as a liability to the party and to anti-communism. Congressman George H. Bender noted, "There is a growing impatience with the Republican Party. McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting, Star Chamber methods, and the denial of... civil liberties." Frederick Woltman, a reporter with a long-standing reputation as a staunch anti-communist, wrote a five-part series of articles criticizing McCarthy in the New York World-Telegram. He stated that McCarthy "has become a major liability to the cause of anti-communism", and accused him of "wild twisting of facts and near facts that repels authorities in the field". The most famous incident in the hearings was an exchange between McCarthy and the army's chief legal representative, Joseph Nye Welch. On June 9, the 30th day of the hearings, Welch challenged Roy Cohn to provide U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. with McCarthy's list of 130 Communists or subversives in defense plants "before the sun goes down". McCarthy stepped in and said that if Welch was so concerned about persons aiding the Communist Party, he should check on a man in his Boston law office named Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive lawyers association.
    Republican Senator Karl Mundt was appointed to chair the committee, and the Army–McCarthy hearings convened on April 22, 1954.
    More Details Hide Details The Army consulted with an attorney familiar with McCarthy to determine the best approach to attacking him. Based on his recommendation, it decided not to pursue McCarthy on the issue of communists in government: "The attorney feels it is almost impossible to counter McCarthy effectively on the issue of kicking Communists out of Government, because he generally has some basis, no matter how slight, for his claim of Communist connection." The hearings lasted for 36 days and were broadcast on live television by ABC and DuMont, with an estimated 20 million viewers. After hearing 32 witnesses and two million words of testimony, the committee concluded that McCarthy himself had not exercised any improper influence on Schine's behalf, but that Cohn had engaged in "unduly persistent or aggressive efforts". The committee also concluded that Army Secretary Robert Stevens and Army Counsel John Adams "made efforts to terminate or influence the investigation and hearings at Fort Monmouth", and that Adams "made vigorous and diligent efforts" to block subpoenas for members of the Army Loyalty and Screening Board "by means of personal appeal to certain members of the McCarthy committee".
    Early in 1954, the U.S. Army accused McCarthy and his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, of improperly pressuring the Army to give favorable treatment to G.
    More Details Hide Details David Schine, a former aide to McCarthy and a friend of Cohn's, who was then serving in the Army as a private. McCarthy claimed that the accusation was made in bad faith, in retaliation for his questioning of Zwicker the previous year. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, usually chaired by McCarthy himself, was given the task of adjudicating these conflicting charges.
    McCarthy subpoenaed Peress to appear before his subcommittee on January 30, 1954.
    More Details Hide Details Peress refused to answer McCarthy's questions, citing his rights under the Fifth Amendment. McCarthy responded by sending a message to Secretary of the Army, Robert T. Stevens, demanding that Peress be court-martialed. On that same day, Peress asked for his pending discharge from the Army to be effected immediately, and the next day Brigadier General Ralph W. Zwicker, his commanding officer at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, gave him an honorable separation from the Army. At McCarthy's encouragement, "Who promoted Peress?" became a rallying cry among many anti-communists and McCarthy supporters. In fact, and as McCarthy knew, Peress had been promoted automatically through the provisions of the Doctor Draft Law, for which McCarthy had voted.
  • 1953
    In autumn 1953, McCarthy's committee began its ill-fated inquiry into the United States Army.
    More Details Hide Details This began with McCarthy opening an investigation into the Army Signal Corps laboratory at Fort Monmouth. McCarthy, newly married to Jean Kerr, cut short his honeymoon to open the investigation. He garnered some headlines with stories of a dangerous spy ring among the Army researchers, but after weeks of hearings, nothing came of his investigations. Unable to expose any signs of subversion, McCarthy focused instead on the case of Irving Peress, a New York dentist who had been drafted into the Army in 1952 and promoted to major in November 1953. Shortly thereafter it came to the attention of the military bureaucracy that Peress, who was a member of the left-wing American Labor Party, had declined to answer questions about his political affiliations on a loyalty-review form. Peress' superiors were therefore ordered to discharge him from the Army within 90 days.
    With the beginning of his second term as senator in 1953, McCarthy was made chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
    More Details Hide Details According to some reports, Republican leaders were growing wary of McCarthy's methods and gave him this relatively mundane panel rather than the Internal Security Subcommittee—the committee normally involved with investigating Communists—thus putting McCarthy "where he can't do any harm", in the words of Senate Majority Leader Robert A. Taft. However, the Committee on Government Operations included the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and the mandate of this subcommittee was sufficiently flexible to allow McCarthy to use it for his own investigations of Communists in the government. McCarthy appointed Roy Cohn as chief counsel and 27-year-old Robert F. Kennedy as an assistant counsel to the subcommittee. This subcommittee would be the scene of some of McCarthy's most publicized exploits. When the records of the closed executive sessions of the subcommittee under McCarthy's chairmanship were made public in 2003–04, Senators Susan Collins and Carl Levin wrote the following in their preface to the documents:
    By the end of 1953, McCarthy had altered the "twenty years of treason" catchphrase he had coined for the preceding Democratic administrations and began referring to "twenty-one years of treason" to include Eisenhower's first year in office.
    More Details Hide Details As McCarthy became increasingly combative towards the Eisenhower Administration, Eisenhower faced repeated calls that he confront McCarthy directly. Eisenhower refused, saying privately "nothing would please him McCarthy more than to get the publicity that would be generated by a public repudiation by the President." On several occasions Eisenhower is reported to have said of McCarthy that he did not want to "get down in the gutter with that guy".
    In a November 1953 speech that was carried on national television, McCarthy began by praising the Eisenhower Administration for removing "1,456 Truman holdovers who were... gotten rid of because of Communist connections and activities or perversion".
    More Details Hide Details He then went on to complain that John Paton Davies Jr. was still "on the payroll after eleven months of the Eisenhower Administration", even though Davies had actually been dismissed three weeks earlier, and repeated an unsubstantiated accusation that Davies had tried to "put Communists and espionage agents in key spots in the Central Intelligence Agency". In the same speech, he criticized Eisenhower for not doing enough to secure the release of missing American pilots shot down over China during the Korean War.
    Unlike many Democrats, John F. Kennedy, who served in the Senate with McCarthy from 1953 until the latter's death in 1957, never attacked McCarthy.
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    In 1953, McCarthy married Jean Kerr, a researcher in his office.
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  • 1952
    McCarthy won reelection in 1952 with 54% of the vote, defeating former Wisconsin State Attorney General Thomas E. Fairchild but badly trailing a Republican ticket which swept the state of Wisconsin; all the other Republican winners, including Eisenhower himself, received at least 60% of the Wisconsin vote.
    More Details Hide Details Those who expected that party loyalty would cause McCarthy to tone down his accusations of Communists being harbored within the government were soon disappointed. Eisenhower had never been an admirer of McCarthy, and their relationship became more hostile once Eisenhower was in office.
    With his victory in the 1952 presidential race, Dwight Eisenhower became the first Republican president in 20 years.
    More Details Hide Details The Republican party also held a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate. After being elected president, Eisenhower made it clear to those close to him that he did not approve of McCarthy and he worked actively to diminish his power and influence. Still, he never directly confronted McCarthy or criticized him by name in any speech, thus perhaps prolonging McCarthy's power by giving the impression that even the President was afraid to criticize him directly. Oshinsky disputes this, stating that "Eisenhower was known as a harmonizer, a man who could get diverse factions to work toward a common goal.... Leadership, he explained, meant patience and conciliation, not 'hitting people over the head'."
    During the 1952 presidential election, the Eisenhower campaign toured Wisconsin with McCarthy.
    More Details Hide Details In a speech delivered in Green Bay, Eisenhower declared that while he agreed with McCarthy's goals, he disagreed with his methods. In draft versions of his speech, Eisenhower had also included a strong defense of his mentor, George Marshall, which was a direct rebuke of McCarthy's frequent attacks. However, under the advice of conservative colleagues who were fearful that Eisenhower could lose Wisconsin if he alienated McCarthy supporters, he deleted this defense from later versions of his speech. The deletion was discovered by William H. Laurence, a reporter for The New York Times, and featured on its front page the next day. Eisenhower was widely criticized for giving up his personal convictions, and the incident became the low point of his campaign.
    When a speaker at a February 1952 final club dinner stated that he was glad McCarthy had not attended Harvard College, an angry Kennedy jumped up, denounced the speaker, and left the event.
    More Details Hide Details Asked by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. why he avoided criticism of McCarthy, Kennedy said, "Hell, half my voters in Massachusetts look on McCarthy as a hero."
    McCarthy had refused to campaign for Kennedy's 1952 opponent, Republican incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., due to his friendship with the Kennedys.
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  • 1951
    McCarthy made a lengthy speech on Marshall, later published in 1951 as a book titled America's Retreat From Victory: The Story of George Catlett Marshall.
    More Details Hide Details Marshall had been involved in American foreign policy with China, and McCarthy charged that Marshall was directly responsible for the loss of China to Communism. In the speech McCarthy also implied that Marshall was guilty of treason; declared that "if Marshall were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve this country's interest"; and most famously, accused him of being part of "a conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man". During the Korean War, when President Truman dismissed General Douglas MacArthur, McCarthy charged that Truman and his advisors must have planned the dismissal during late-night sessions when "they've had time to get the President cheerful" on bourbon and Bénédictine. McCarthy declared, "The son of a bitch should be impeached."
  • 1950
    In 1950 McCarthy assaulted journalist Drew Pearson in the cloakroom of a Washington club, reportedly kneeing him in the groin.
    More Details Hide Details McCarthy, who admitted the assault, claimed he merely "slapped" Pearson. In 1952, using rumors collected by Pearson, Nevada publisher Hank Greenspun wrote that McCarthy was a homosexual. The major journalistic media refused to print the story, and no notable McCarthy biographer has accepted the rumor as probable.
    In addition to the Tydings–Butler race, McCarthy campaigned for several other Republicans in the 1950 elections, including Everett Dirksen against Democratic incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas.
    More Details Hide Details Dirksen, and indeed all the candidates McCarthy supported, won their elections, and those he opposed lost. The elections, including many that McCarthy was not involved in, were an overall Republican sweep. Although his impact on the elections was unclear, McCarthy was credited as a key Republican campaigner. He was now regarded as one of the most powerful men in the Senate and was treated with new-found deference by his colleagues. In the 1952 Senate elections McCarthy was returned to his Senate seat with 54.2% of the vote, compared to Democrat Thomas Fairchild's 45.6%.
    McCarthy has been accused of attempting to discredit his critics and political opponents by accusing them of being Communists or communist sympathizers. In the 1950 Maryland Senate election, McCarthy campaigned for John Marshall Butler in his race against four-term incumbent Millard Tydings, with whom McCarthy had been in conflict during the Tydings Committee hearings.
    More Details Hide Details In speeches supporting Butler, McCarthy accused Tydings of "protecting Communists" and "shielding traitors". McCarthy's staff was heavily involved in the campaign, and collaborated in the production of a campaign tabloid that contained a composite photograph doctored to make it appear that Tydings was in intimate conversation with Communist leader Earl Russell Browder. A Senate subcommittee later investigated this election and referred to it as "a despicable, back-street type of campaign", as well as recommending that the use of defamatory literature in a campaign be made grounds for expulsion from the Senate. The pamphlet was clearly labeled a composite. McCarthy said it was "wrong" to distribute it; though staffer Jean Kerr thought it was fine. After his election defeat, Tydings claimed foul play (he had lost by almost 40,000 votes), however, his reelection campaign was in trouble before Tydings butted heads with McCarthy: Tydings was the highly visible chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and had some responsibility for the lack of preparedness for the Korean campaign, he was increasingly unpopular with African-American voters because of his support for Jim Crow laws, and McCarthy and anti-communism were popular with Maryland's Catholic voters at election time.
    From 1950 onward, McCarthy continued to exploit the fear of Communism and to press his accusations that the government was failing to deal with Communism within its ranks.
    More Details Hide Details McCarthy also began investigations into the numerous homosexuals working in the foreign policy bureaucracy, who were considered prime candidates for blackmail by the Soviets. These accusations received wide publicity, increased his approval rating, and gained him a powerful national following. "In Congress, there was little doubt that homosexuals did not belong in sensitive government positions." Since the late 1940s, the government had been dismissing about five homosexuals a month from civilian posts; by 1954, the number had grown twelve-fold. "Mixed in with the hysterics were some logic, though: homosexuals faced condemnation and discrimination, and most of them—wishing to conceal their orientation--were vulnerable to blackmail." DCI Roscoe Hillenkoetter was called to Congress to testify on homosexuals being employed at the CIA. He said, "The use of homosexuals as a control mechanism over individuals recruited for espionage is a generally accepted technique which has been used at least on a limited basis for many years." As soon as the DCI said these words, his aide signaled to take the remainder of the DCI's testimony off the record. Political historian David Barrett uncovered Hillenkoetter's notes, which reveal the remainder of the statement: "While this agency will never employ homosexuals on its rolls, it might conceivably be necessary, and in the past has actually been valuable, to use known homosexuals as agents in the field. I am certain that if Josef Stalin or a member of the Politburo or a high satellite official were known to be a homosexual, no member of this committee or of the Congress would balk against our use of any technique to penetrate their operations... after all, intelligence and espionage is, at best, an extremely dirty business."
    In succeeding years after his 1950 speech, McCarthy made additional accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S. Truman, the Voice of America, and the United States Army.
    More Details Hide Details He also used various charges of communism, communist sympathies, disloyalty, or sex crimes to attack a number of politicians and other individuals inside and outside of government. McCarthy made various attempts to investigate, and hold accountable (as the practice was still against the law in many locations), people whom he accused, or threatened to publicly accuse, of homosexuality. Former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson has written, "The so-called 'Red Scare' has been the main focus of most historians of that period of time. A lesser-known element... and one that harmed far more people was the "Lavender Scare", a witch-hunt McCarthy and others conducted against homosexuals."
  • 1946
    The origin of the number 205 can be traced: in later debates on the Senate floor, McCarthy referred to a 1946 letter that then–Secretary of State James Byrnes sent to Congressman Adolph J. Sabath.
    More Details Hide Details In that letter, Byrnes said State Department security investigations had resulted in "recommendation against permanent employment" for 284 persons, and that 79 of these had been removed from their jobs; this left 205 still on the State Department's payroll. In fact, by the time of McCarthy's speech only about 65 of the employees mentioned in the Byrnes letter were still with the State Department, and all of these had undergone further security checks. At the time of McCarthy's speech, communism was a significant concern in the United States. This concern was exacerbated by the actions of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, the victory of the communists in the Chinese Civil War, the Soviets' development of a nuclear weapon the year before, and by the contemporary controversy surrounding Alger Hiss and the confession of Soviet spy Klaus Fuchs. With this background and due to the sensational nature of McCarthy's charge against the State Department, the Wheeling speech soon attracted a flood of press interest in McCarthy's claim.
    He was then reelected unopposed to his circuit court position, and began a much more systematic campaign for the 1946 Republican Senate primary nomination, with support from Thomas Coleman, the Republican Party's political boss in Wisconsin.
    More Details Hide Details In this race, he was challenging three-term senator Robert M. La Follette Jr., founder of the Wisconsin Progressive Party and son of the celebrated Wisconsin governor and senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. In his campaign, McCarthy attacked La Follette for not enlisting during the war, although La Follette had been 46 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He also claimed La Follette had made huge profits from his investments while he, McCarthy, had been away fighting for his country. In fact, McCarthy had invested in the stock market himself during the war, netting a profit of $42,000 in 1943. La Follette's investments consisted of partial interest in a radio station, which earned him a profit of $47,000 over two years. The suggestion that La Follette had been guilty of war profiteering was deeply damaging, and McCarthy won the primary nomination 207,935 votes to 202,557. It was during this campaign that McCarthy started publicizing his war-time nickname "Tail-Gunner Joe", using the slogan, "Congress needs a tail-gunner". Arnold Beichman later stated that McCarthy "was elected to his first term in the Senate with support from the Communist-controlled United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, CIO", which preferred McCarthy to the anti-communist Robert M. La Follette. In the general election against Democratic opponent Howard J. McMurray, McCarthy won 61.2% to Democrat McMurray's 37.3%, and thus joined Senator Wiley, whom he had challenged unsuccessfully two years earlier, in the Senate.
  • 1945
    McCarthy served 30 months as an intelligence officer (August 1942 -- February 1945), and he held the rank of captain by the time he was discharged in April 1945.
    More Details Hide Details He volunteered to fly twelve combat missions as a gunner-observer, acquiring (or perhaps giving himself) the nickname of "Tail-Gunner Joe" in the course of one of these missions. He later falsely claimed 32 aerial missions in order to qualify for a Distinguished Flying Cross, which he received in 1952. McCarthy also publicized a letter of commendation which he claimed had been signed by his commanding officer and countersigned by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, then Chief of Naval Operations. However, it was revealed that McCarthy had written this letter himself, in his capacity as intelligence officer. A "war wound" that McCarthy made the subject of varying stories involving airplane crashes or anti-aircraft fire was in fact received aboard ship during a ceremony for sailors crossing the equator for the first time. Because of McCarthy's various lies about his military heroism, his "Tail-Gunner Joe" nickname was sarcastically used as a term of mockery by his critics.
    He resigned his commission in April 1945, five months before the end of the Pacific war in September 1945.
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  • 1944
    McCarthy campaigned for the Republican Senate nomination in Wisconsin while still on active duty in 1944 but was defeated for the GOP nomination by Alexander Wiley, the incumbent.
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  • 1942
    According to Morgan, writing in Reds, Joe's friend Urban P. Van Susteren, a lawyer, and later judge, whom McCarthy had named divorce counsel for Shawano County, and who had applied for active duty in the Army Air Force in early 1942, advised him: "Be a hero—join the Marines."
    More Details Hide Details When McCarthy seemed hesitant, Van Susteren asked, "You got shit in your blood?" Van Susteren managed McCarthy's 1946 Senate campaign, and during McCarthy's Senate career he stayed with Van Susteren whenever he was in Appleton.
    In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, McCarthy was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps, despite the fact that his judicial office exempted him from compulsory service.
    More Details Hide Details His education qualified him for an automatic commission as an officer, and he became a second lieutenant after completing basic training. He served as an intelligence briefing officer for a dive bomber squadron in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville. McCarthy reportedly chose the Marines with the hope that being a veteran of this branch of the military would serve him best in his future political career.
  • 1941
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed a low percentage of the cases he heard, but he was also censured in 1941 for having lost evidence in a price fixing case.
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  • 1939
    In 1939, McCarthy had better success when he ran for the nonpartisan elected post of 10th District circuit judge. (During his years as an attorney, McCarthy made money on the side by gambling.) McCarthy became the youngest circuit judge in the state's history by defeating incumbent Edgar V. Werner, who had been a judge for 24 years.
    More Details Hide Details In the campaign, McCarthy exaggerated Werner's age of 66, claiming that he was 73, and so allegedly too old and infirm to handle the duties of his office. Writing of Werner in Reds: McCarthyism In Twentieth-Century America, Ted Morgan wrote: "Pompous and condescending, he was disliked by lawyers. He had been reversed often by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and he was so inefficient that he had piled up a huge backlog of cases." McCarthy's judicial career attracted some controversy because of the speed with which he dispatched many of his cases as he worked to clear the heavily backlogged docket he had inherited. Wisconsin had strict divorce laws, but when McCarthy heard divorce cases, he would expedite them whenever possible, and he made the needs of children involved in contested divorces a priority. When it came to other cases argued before him, McCarthy compensated for his lack of experience as a jurist by demanding and relying heavily upon, precise briefs from the contesting attorneys.
  • 1936
    While working at a law firm in Shawano, Wisconsin, he launched an unsuccessful campaign for district attorney as a Democrat in 1936.
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  • 1935
    He was admitted to the bar in 1935.
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  • 1930
    McCarthy worked his way through college from 1930 to 1935, studying first engineering, then law, and receiving an LL.B. degree in 1935 from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.
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  • 1928
    Mindful of the anti-Catholic prejudice Al Smith faced during his 1928 campaign for that office, Joseph Kennedy supported McCarthy as a national Catholic politician who might pave the way for a younger Kennedy's presidential candidacy.
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  • 1908
    McCarthy was born in 1908 in the Town of Grand Chute in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, and attended Marquette University, studying different subjects before deciding on law and earning an LL.B. from Marquette University Law School.
    More Details Hide Details He practiced law and won election as a circuit court judge, and at age 33 McCarthy volunteered to serve in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He successfully ran for the United States Senate in 1946, defeating Robert M. La Follette Jr. After three largely undistinguished years in the Senate, McCarthy rose suddenly to national fame in February 1950 when he asserted in a speech that he had a list of "members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring" who were employed in the State Department.
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