Joseph McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy

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Joseph McCarthy was born on a farm in Appleton, Wisconsin, on 14th November, 1908. His parents were devout Roman Catholics and Joseph was the fifth of nine children. He left school at 14 and worked as a chicken farmer before managing a grocery store in the nearby town of Manawa.

McCarthy returned to high school in 1928 and after achieving the necessary qualifications, won a place at Marquette University. After graduating McCarthy worked as a lawyer but was fairly unsuccessful and had to supplement his income by playing poker.

McCarthy was originally a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. However, after failing to become the Democratic Party candidate for district attorney, he switched parties and became the Republican Party candidate in an election to become a circuit court judge.

McCarthy shocked local officials by fighting a dirty campaign. This included publishing campaign literature that falsely claimed that his opponent, Edgar Werner, was 73 (he was actually 66). As well as suggesting that Werner was senile, McCarthy implied that he was guilty of financial corruption.

When the United States entered the Second Word War McCarthy resigned as a circuit judge and joined the U.S. Marines. After the war McCarthy ran against Robert La Follette to become Republican candidate for the senate. As one of his biographers has pointed out, his campaign posters pictured him in "full fighting gear, with an aviator's cap, and belt upon belt of machine gun ammunition wrapped around his bulky torso." He claimed he had completed thirty-two missions when in fact he had a desk job and only flew in training exercises.

In his campaign, McCarthy attacked La Follette for not enlisting during the war. He had been forty-six when Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and was in fact too old to join the armed services. McCarthy also claimed that La Follette had made huge profits from his investments while he had been away fighting for his country. The suggestion that La Follette had been guilty of war profiteering (his investments had in fact been in a radio station), was deeply damaging and McCarthy won by 207,935 to 202,557. La Follette, deeply hurt by the false claims made against him, retired from politics, and later committed suicide.

On his first day in the Senate, McCarthy called a press conference where he proposed a solution to a coal-strike that was taking place at the time. McCarthy called for John L. Lewis and the striking miners to be drafted into the Army. If the men still refused to mine the coal, McCarthy suggested they should be court-martialed for insubordination and shot.

McCarthy's first years in the Senate were unimpressive. People also started coming forward claiming that he had lied about his war record. Another problem for McCarthy was that he was being investigated for tax offences and for taking bribes from the Pepsi-Cola Company. In May, 1950, afraid that he would be defeated in the next election, McCarthy held a meeting with some of his closest advisers and asked for suggestions on how he could retain his seat. Edmund Walsh, a Roman Catholics priest, came up with the idea that he should begin a campaign against communist subversives working in the Democratic administration.

McCarthy also contacted his friend, the journalist, Jack Anderson. In his autobiography, Confessions of a Muckraker, Anderson pointed out: "At my prompting he (McCarthy) would phone fellow senators to ask what had transpired this morning behind closed doors or what strategy was planned for the morrow. While I listened in on an extension he would pump even a Robert Taft or a William Knowland with the handwritten questions I passed him."

In return, Anderson provided McCarthy with information about politicians and state officials he suspected of being "communists". Anderson later recalled that his decision to work with McCarthy "was almost automatic.. for one thing, I owed him; for another, he might be able to flesh out some of our inconclusive material, and if so, I would no doubt get the scoop." As a result Anderson passed on his file on the presidential aide, David Demarest Lloyd.

McCarthy also began receiving information from his friend, J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). William C. Sullivan, one of Hoover's agents, later admitted that: "We were the ones who made the McCarthy hearings possible. We fed McCarthy all the material he was using." McCarthy made a speech in Salt Lake City where he attacked Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State, as "a pompous diplomat in striped pants".

On 9th February, 1950, at a meeting of the Republican Women's Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, McCarthy claimed that he had a list of 205 people in the State Department that were known to be members of the American Communist Party (later he reduced this figure to 57). McCarthy went on to argue that some of these people were passing secret information to the Soviet Union. He added: "The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer - the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give."

The list of names was not a secret and had been in fact published by the Secretary of State in 1946. These people had been identified during a preliminary screening of 3,000 federal employees. Some had been communists but others had been fascists, alcoholics and sexual deviants. As it happens, if McCarthy had been screened, his own drink problems and sexual preferences would have resulted in him being put on the list.

Raymond Gram Swing, who worked for the the Blue Radio Network, later explained the impact of his speech: "In those four years he (McCarthy) throve as a demagogue, and frightened many, if not all, diplomats into failing to give their frank opinions to the government for fear of being falsely accused of Communist tendencies. The government thus suffered from a debility among diplomats. Employees in the Information Agency had to smother their political judgments lest they be pilloried by Senator McCarthy's congressional committee. It was a season of terror for which Senator McCarthy somewhat incorrectly bears all the blame. He became the name-symbol of the epoch, not by accident, for that was precisely what he wanted. He found the Communist issue when he needed something to make himself known and powerful. Through his exploitation of it and by his attacks on innocent persons, he did the United States more harm at home, and in democratic countries abroad, than any individual in modern times."

On 20th February, 1950, McCarthy made a six hour speech on the Senate floor supporting the allegations he had made in Salt Lake City. This time he did not describe them as "card-carrying communists" because this had been shown to be untrue. Instead he argued that his list were all "loyalty risks". He also claimed that one of the president's speech-writers, was a communist. David Demarest Lloyd immediately issued a statement where he defended himself against McCarthy's charges. President Harry S. Truman not only kept him on but promoted him to the post of Administrative Assistant. Lloyd was indeed innocent of these claims and McCarthy was forced to withdraw these allegations. As Anderson admitted: "At my instigation, then, Lloyd had been done an injustice that was saved from being grevious only by Truman's steadfastness."

McCarthy also claimed that the Democratic administration had been infiltrated by communist subversives. McCarthy named four of these people, who had held left-wing views in their youth, but when Democrats accused McCarthy of smear tactics, he suggested they were part of this communist conspiracy. This claim was used against his critics who were up for re-election in 1950. Many of them lost and this made other Democrats reluctant to criticize McCarthy in case they became targets of his smear campaigns.

Drew Pearson immediately launched an attack on Joseph McCarthy. He pointed out that only three people on the list were State Department officials. When this list was first published four years ago, Gustavo Duran and Mary Jane Keeney had both resigned from the State Department in 1946. The third person, John S. Service, had been cleared after a prolonged and careful investigation. Pearson also pointed out that none of these people had been members of the American Communist Party. Jack Anderson asked Pearson to stop attacking McCarthy: "He is our best source on the Hill." Pearson replied, "He may be a good source, Jack, but he's a bad man."

With the war going badly in Korea and communist advances in Eastern Europe and in China, the American public were genuinely frightened about the possibilities of internal subversion. McCarthy, as chairman of the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate, was in an ideal position to exploit this situation.

For the next two years McCarthy investigated various government departments and questioned a large number of people about their political past. Some people lost their jobs after they admitted they had been members of the Communist Party. McCarthy made it clear to the witnesses that the only way of showing that they had abandoned their left-wing views was by naming other members of the party.

This witch-hunt and anti-communist hysteria became known as McCarthyism. Some left-wing artists and intellectuals were unwilling to live in this type of society and people such as Joseph Losey, Richard Wright, Ollie Harrington, James Baldwin, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole and Chester Himes went to live and work in Europe.

McCarthyism was mainly used against Democrats associated with the New Deal policies introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Harry S. Truman and members of his Democratic administration such as George Marshall and Dean Acheson, were accused of being soft on communism. Truman was portrayed as a dangerous liberal and McCarthy's campaign helped the Republican candidate, Dwight Eisenhower, win the presidential election in 1952.

After what had happened to McCarthy's opponents in the 1950 election, most politicians were unwilling to criticize him in the Senate. As The Boston Post pointed out: "Attacking him is this state is regarded as a certain method of committing suicide. One notable exception was William Benton, a senator from Connecticut and the owner of Encyclopaedia Britannica. McCarthy and his supporters immediately began smearing Benton. It was claimed that while Benton had been Assistant Secretary of State he had protected known communists and that he had been responsible for the purchase and display of "lewd art works". Benton, who was also accused of being disloyal by McCarthy for having much of his company's work printed in England, was defeated in the 1952 elections.

McCarthy informed Jack Anderson that he had evidence that Professor Owen Lattimore, director of the Walter Hines Page School of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, was a Soviet spy. Drew Pearson, who knew Lattimore, and while accepting he held left-wing views, he was convinced he was not a spy. In his speeches, McCarthy referred to Lattimore as "Mr X... the top Russian spy... the key man in a Russian espionage ring."

On 26th March, 1950, Pearson named Lattimore as McCarthy's Mr. X. Pearson then went onto defend Lattimore against these charges. McCarthy responded by making a speech in Congress where he admitted: "I fear that in the case of Lattimore I may have perhaps placed too much stress on the question of whether he is a paid espionage agent."

McCarthy then produced Louis Budenz, the former editor of The Daily Worker. Budenz claimed that Lattimore was a "concealed communist". However, as Anderson admitted: "Budenz had never met Lattimore; he spoke not from personal observation of him but from what he remembered of what others had told him five, six, seven and thirteen years before."

Drew Pearson now wrote an article where he showed that Budenz was a serial liar: "Apologists for Budenz minimize this on the ground that Budenz has now reformed. Nevertheless, untruthful statements made regarding his past and refusal to answer questions have a bearing on Budenz's credibility." He went on to point out that "all in all, Budenz refused to answer 23 questions on the ground of self-incrimination".

Owen Lattimore was eventually cleared of the charge that he was a Soviet spy or a secret member of the American Communist Party and like other victims of McCarthyism, he went to live in Europe and for several years was professor of Chinese studies at Leeds University.

Despite the efforts of Jack Anderson, by the end of June, 1950, Drew Pearson had written more than forty daily columns and a significant percentage of his weekly radio broadcasts, that had been devoted to discrediting the charges made by Joseph McCarthy.

Joe McCarthy now told Anderson: "Jack, I'm going to have to go after your boss. I mean, no holds barred. I figure I've already lost his supporters; by going after him, I can pick up his enemies." McCarthy, when drunk, told Assistant Attorney General Joe Keenan, that he was considering "bumping Pearson off".

On 15th December, 1950, McCarthy made a speech in Congress where he claimed that Pearson was "the voice of international Communism" and "a Moscow-directed character assassin." McCarthy added that Pearson was "a prostitute of journalism" and that Pearson "and the Communist Party murdered James Forrestal in just as cold blood as though they had machine-gunned him."

Over the next two months McCarthy made seven Senate speeches on Drew Pearson. He called for a "patriotic boycott" of his radio show and as a result, Adam Hats, withdrew as Pearson's radio sponsor. Although he was able to make a series of short-term arrangements, Pearson was never again able to find a permanent sponsor. Twelve newspapers cancelled their contract with Pearson.

McCarthy and his friends also raised money to help Fred Napoleon Howser, the Attorney General of California, to sue Pearson for $350,000. This involved an incident in 1948 when Pearson accused Howser of consorting with mobsters and of taking a bribe from gambling interests. Help was also given to Father Charles Coughlin, who sued Pearson for $225,000. However, in 1951 the courts ruled that Pearson had not libeled either Howser or Coughlin.

Only the St. Louis Star-Times defended Pearson. As its editorial pointed out: "If Joseph McCarthy can silence a critic named Drew Pearson, simply by smearing him with the brush of Communist association, he can silence any other critic." However, Pearson did get the support of J. William Fulbright, Wayne Morse, Clinton Anderson, William Benton and Thomas Hennings in the Senate.

In 1952 McCarthy appointed Roy Cohn as the chief counsel to the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate. Cohn had been recommended by J. Edgar Hoover, who had been impressed by his involvement in the prosecution of Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg. Soon after Cohn was appointed, he recruited his best friend, David Schine, to become his chief consultant.

McCarthy's next target was what he believed were anti-American books in libraries. His researchers looked into the Overseas Library Program and discovered 30,000 books by "communists, pro-communists, former communists and anti anti-communists." After the publication of this list, these books were removed from the library shelves.

For some time opponents of McCarthy had been accumulating evidence concerning his homosexual activities. Several members of his staff, including Roy Cohn and David Schine, were also suspected of having a sexual relationship. Although well-known by political journalists, the first article about it did not appear until Hank Greenspun published an article in the Las Vegas Sun in 25th October, 1952. Greenspun wrote that: "It is common talk among homosexuals in Milwaukee who rendezvous in the White Horse Inn that Senator Joe McCarthy has often engaged in homosexual activities."

McCarthy considered a libel suit against Greenspun but decided against it when he was told by his lawyers that if the case went ahead he would have to take the witness stand and answer questions about his sexuality. In an attempt to stop the rumours circulating, McCarthy married his secretary, Jeannie Kerr. Later the couple adopted a five-week old girl from the New York Foundling Home.

In October, 1953, McCarthy began investigating communist infiltration into the military. Attempts were made by McCarthy to discredit Robert Stevens, the Secretary of the Army. The president, Dwight Eisenhower, was furious and now realised that it was time to bring an end to McCarthy's activities. The United States Army now passed information about McCarthy to journalists who were known to be opposed to him. This included the news that McCarthy and Roy Cohn had abused congressional privilege by trying to prevent David Schine from being drafted. When that failed, it was claimed that Cohn tried to pressurize the Army into granting Schine special privileges. Drew Pearson, published the story on 15th December, 1953.

Some figures in the media, such as writers George Seldes and I. F. Stone, and cartoonists, Herb Block and Daniel Fitzpatrick, had fought a long campaign against McCarthy. Other figures in the media, who had for a long time been opposed to McCarthyism, but were frightened to speak out, now began to get the confidence to join the counter-attack. Edward Murrow, the experienced broadcaster, used his television programme, See It Now, on 9th March, 1954, to criticize McCarthy's methods. Newspaper columnists such as Walter Lippmann also became more open in their attacks on McCarthy.

The senate investigations into the United States Army were televised and this helped to expose the tactics of Joseph McCarthy. One newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, reported that: "In this long, degrading travesty of the democratic process, McCarthy has shown himself to be evil and unmatched in malice." Leading politicians in both parties, had been embarrassed by McCarthy's performance and on 2nd December, 1954, a censure motion condemned his conduct by 67 votes to 22.

Raymond Gram Swing, who had been forced to resign from the Voice of America because of McCarthy, argued in his autobiography, Good Evening (1964) that this did not mark the end of McCarthyism: "I am more than a little disquieted that McCarthy's condemnation by the Senate and his subsequent death have satisfied so many people that McCarthyism is over. For one thing, I consider that the condemnation by the Senate has given unwarranted satisfaction. It was based on an altogether peculiar sense of the importance of secondary matters. I am profoundly grateful that the committee went as far as it did. But I feel that it left out of account in its condemnation most of what Senator McCarthy had injuriously done. It ignored his roughshod disregard of civil rights and his irrepressible mendacity, and the fact that they existed while he was acting with the authority of the Senate. These transgressions were not specifically and helpfully rebuked at the time or ever. American principles and ethics were not strengthened by the Senate resolution of condemnation. The nation did not become healthier through it. It simply was rid of a menace because some Senate conservatives realized that their dignity was being sullied."

McCarthy now lost the chairmanship of the Government Committee on Operations of the Senate. He was now without a power base and the media lost interest in his claims of a communist conspiracy. As one journalist, Willard A. Edwards, pointed out: "Most reporters just refused to file McCarthy stories. And most papers would not have printed them anyway."

McCarthy, who had been drinking heavily for many years, was discovered to have cirrhosis of the liver. An alcoholic, he was unable to take the advice of doctors and friends to stop drinking. Joseph McCarthy died in the Bethesda Naval Hospital on 2nd May, 1957. As the newspapers reported, McCarthy had drunk himself to death.

I always felt that Joe lived in a different moral universe. He asked himself only two questions. What do I want and how do I get it. Once he got rolling, you had to step aside. It was every man for himself, sort of what anarchy must be like.

Edgar Werner was an honest man. Joe went after him in a way that was unconscionable. Maybe that's what he had to do to win. I don't know. But it's a hell of a price to pay. You've got to live with yourself.

McCarthy not only drove my father to his grave but turned long-standing friends against our whole family. It was amazing how one man could wreck the reputation of another man so loved and honored in his community.

As far as I know, Joe looked at only one book in his life. That was Mein Kampf. Joe, I think, was more taken by the tactics, by the means and not the end. He had no use for Hitler or for anything the Nazis did. But when he looked at Mein Kampf, it was like one politician comparing notes with another. Joe was fascinated by the strategy, that's all.

The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer - the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.

While I cannot take the time to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.

Shortly before the outbreak of the Korean War, Senator McCarthy was invited to speak to the Ohio County Women's Republican Club at Wheeling, West Virginia. "... it was there that he either did or did not wave a piece of paper-reports were contradictory-and say that it contained the names of 205 Communists in the State Department."' McCarthyism was born at that moment and it did not die with its creator's demise in 1956.

The vehicle McCarthy used in the Senate for his investigations was the cumbersomely titled Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigation's of the Senate Committee on Government Operations of the United States Senate. It was more familiarly known to the public as the McCarthy Committee because of the imprint made by its chairman.

The proper purpose of a Congressional committee, be it McCarthy's in the Senate or the House Committee on Un-American Activities, is to investigate how existing laws work and to either amend or draft new laws. A Congressional committee was never intended to "conduct quasi trials with power of punishment."

McCarthy's personal publicity as a hunter of Communists, his flair for theatrics, his perception of the timing of news releases, his ability to discredit by implication some of the most significant men in the government in the early 1950's all made the work of the committee in the House that much easier and, to the public, significant.

When Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, on February 9, 1950, delivered his speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, announcing that the Secretary of State knew of 205 in the department who were members of the Communist party, an episode was begun in American history which ended with his condemnation by a Senate committee in 1954. In those four years he throve as a demagogue, and frightened many, if not all, diplomats into failing to give their frank opinions to the government for fear of being falsely accused of Communist tendencies. Through his exploitation of it and by his attacks on innocent persons, he did the United States more harm at home, and in democratic countries abroad, than any individual in modern times. Perhaps more harm was done by Alger Hiss, without whose activities there might never have been a Richard Nixon, made glorious for having brought him to book; and without the Hiss episode, McCarthy would have remained obscure and ineffective. So it is not easy to say which man hurt his times more, Hiss or McCarthy.

Even so, I do not think all the blame for McCarthyism was McCarthy's, for it existed before McCarthy gave it its name. There is today a different kind of McCarthyism under different nomenclature, and presumably there will continue to be a threat of this distinctive form of slanderous bigotry so long as the United States permits freedom of thought and speech, or until bigotry itself is reduced by the rise of understanding.

I am more than a little disquieted that McCarthy's condemnation by the Senate and his subsequent death have satisfied so many people that McCarthyism is over. It simply was rid of a menace because some Senate conservatives realized that their dignity was being sullied.

About six months after the epochal McCarthy speech about Communists in the State Department, a book called Red Channels appeared, published by the company that issued Counterattack, a weekly newsletter purporting to disclose Communists and those favorable to Communism working in radio, and attempting to have them blacklisted by the industry. By this time the country could be said to have been in a fever about the McCarthy charges. So Red Channels attracted wide attention. The book did not mention me, nor had I been mentioned in the newsletter at the time the book was published. Red Channels did not present proof that any of the persons listed in it were Communists or fellow travelers. It simply called them that. The appearance of the book was an attempt by self-appointed judges to impose their unsubstantiated judgments upon the radio industry, and to do so for financial profit. The book both frightened those who suspected the Communists were infiltrating some of the key institutions of American life and wanted something done about them.

My radio reports that various Congressional Committees plan to investigate colleges and universities to determine whether they are riddled with Communists. Senator McCarthy is reported as including "Communist thinkers". Since he has already told us that he regards Benny de Vote and young Arthur Schlesinger as - Communist thinkers we have some notion of what that means.

You will recall that I am to be away the second half year. You will recall also that Senator McCarthy has already attacked me as belonging to more Communist front organizations than any man he has ever mentioned. He - or one of the other committees - can be expected to attack me again when he or they get around to Harvard - should be early in the campaign. It I am away in the British West Indies at the time I should like you to have the facts.

But before I set them down I should like to ask a question which must be in your mind and in the minds of many others. Has not the time come for the believers in the American tradition intellectual liberty - above all the believers in positions of responsibility on the faculties of the free universities - to take a firm stand on the fundamental issue? There is no disagreement, I take it, on the issue of Communists in teaching. No man who accepts a prior loyalty to any authority other than his own conscience, his own judgment of the truth, should be permitted to teach in a free society. That view I take it, is held by those responsible for the selection of teachers in all colleges and universities in this country. It is also applied in the case of Communists at least - though it is notoriously not applied in certain cases at the other extreme.

I have not been told what Communist-front organizations the Senator has in mind but I assume they include the League of American Writers and various other organizations of an antifascist character to which I belonged at the time of the Spanish War and during the rise of the Nazi danger and from which I removed myself when I entered the Government as Librarian of Congress in 1939.

My own personal position on the issue of Communism has been clear throughout, and the record is a matter of public knowledge. I was, I think I can say without immodesty, one of the first American writers to attack the Marxists. This was, of course, on the literary front since it was on the literary front I met them. In the early Thirties the Marxist position was, as you know, a fashionable position among the critics. Attacks on Communism were not the pleasant and profitable exercises they are now when all politicians and most publicists fall all over themselves and each other to demonstrate their detestation of everything Communism is or stands for. In the early Thirties, to attack the Communists was to bring the hornets out and the stings could hurt.

Senator McCarthy's committee is investigating alleged waste and mismanagement in the Voice of America. Probably few citizens will doubt that this is a legitimate area for inquiry by a Senate committee, for the Voice of America is the principal instrument through which we tell our side of the story to the rest of the world. It speaks not only for senators but for all citizens. And it would undoubtedly be useful if more of us knew more of what the Voice is saying, and how it is being run. The evidence produced so far is not very illuminating, and certainly not conclusive. One employee asserts that his scripts were "watered down" by three employees whom he "believed to be friendly to the Communist cause."

Another employee of the Voice of America who was dismissed says that in her opinion the anti-Communist broadcasts aimed at France were as detrimental as could be to the welfare of our country. Another employee in the French section says, "It should be called the Voice of Moscow." Many broadcasts tended to discredit the United States and to favour the Communist cause. One employee alleged that her boss had asked her to join some sort of "free love, collectivist, Marxist group."

The Voice of America speaks on behalf of all of us. Like any big organization it probably has its share of dismissed or disgruntled employees. Moreover, there are no listener ratings behind the Iron Curtain, or in friendly nations to which the Voice broadcasts. The result is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell how effective the broadcasts are, or how many people listen to them. But if the committee is interested in content, in what is said, the evidence is readily available. The scripts are there in the files; in many cases recordings are available and can be listened to. The record of what has been said - how the news and information has been handled - is all there. It would seem to this reporter that the important thing about any broadcasting operation is what comes out of the loudspeaker. If that reflects disloyalty, or subversive intent, then it should be relatively easy to identify the individuals responsible for that content.

I am not suggesting that there are, or are not, disloyal persons either now or in the past employed by the Voice of America. I do not know, and the evidence produced by the committee so far is insufficient to warrant any conclusions on this score. And the evidence, by its very nature, may in the end leave the individual citizen confused and in doubt as to the reliability and effectiveness of the Voice of America. The important thing is the end product. The arguments, the personal jealousies, the differences in news judgments that are inevitably involved in the preparation of any broadcast arc of secondary importance.

This administration is making wide and apparently intelligent use of committees and study groups. It would be possible for a group of professional newsmen and information specialists to study the output of the Voice of America over a period of weeks or months and to make an informed report regarding the accuracy and reliability of the reports being broadcast. Evidence of distortion or of broadcasts prejudicial to the interests of this country could be uncovered, if it exists. Such a study of contents of the Voice of America programmes would either revalidate the credentials of the people who are now running this important operation, or it would result in producing sufficient evidence to warrant their replacement. In any event, we are all entitled to know more than we now know about what is being said in our name to the rest of the world.

Senator McCarthy is, of course, so anxious for the headlines that he is prepared to go to any extremes in order to secure some mention of his name in the public press. His actions create trouble on the Hill with members of the party; they irritate, frustrate, and infuriate members of the Executive Department. I really believe that nothing will be so effective in combating his particular kind of troublemaking as to ignore him. This he cannot stand.

All of us, to one degree or another, have slowly come to question his judgment and to fear acutely that his flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies and distortions, his tendency to sacrifice the greater objective for the momentary effect, will lead him and us into trouble. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.

Red Baiting - in the sense of reasoned, documented exposure of Communist and pro-Communist infiltration of government departments and private agencies of information and communication - is absolutely necessary. We are not dealing with honest fanatics of a new idea, willing to give testimony for their faith straightforwardly, regardless of the cost. We are dealing with conspirators who try to sneak in the Moscow-inspired propaganda by stealth and double talk, who run for shelter to the Fifth Amendment when they are not only permitted but invited and urged by Congressional committee to state what they believe. I myself, after struggling for years to get this fact recognized, give McCarthy the major credit for implanting it in the mind of the whole nation.

I urge you to take issue with McCarthy and make it stick. People in high and low places see in him a potential Hitler, seeking the presidency of the United States. That he could get away with what he already has in America has made some of them wonder whether our concept of democratic governments and the rights of individuals is really different from those of the Communists and Fascists.

The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly.

We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.

This is no time for men who opose Senator McCarthty's methods to keep silent. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.

I've never been one to make predictions but when a thing is inevitable, even I can foresee the future.

Sen. Joe McCarthy has to come to a violent end. Huey Long's death will be serene and peaceful compared with the demise of the sadistic bum from Wisconsin.

Live by the sword and you die by the sword! Destroy people and they in turn must destroy you! The chances are that McCarthy will eventually be laid to rest at the hands of some poor innocent slob whose reputation and life he has destroyed through his well-established smear technique.

The poor victim will feel he has little left to live for, so he'll get a gun and blast Joe to Hades. It might be a bit messy but Joe is used to messiness. He has created enough of it.

Really, I'm against Joe getting his head blown off, not because I don't believe in capital punishment or because he does not have it coming, but I would hate to see some simpleton get the chair for such a public service as getting rid of McCarthy.

It would be more befitting the dignity of Joe's position in society if he leaped from a 29-story building as one of his predecessors, Marion A. Zionchek, did two decades ago. The insane congressman from the state of Washington, and the Mad senator from the state of Wisconsin had a great deal in common -- namely, softening of the brain.

Joe's Republican buddies plus some Democratic opponents have decided to cut his appropriations off if he doesn't get out of the Red-hunting racket. They object to his stealing the headlines at the expense of other investigating phonies in the Congress.

Even his comrade in pilfering the United States treasury, Sen. Pat McCarran, thinks it's time Joe was cut down to size. Most likely, the McCarran statement will earn a retort from McCarthy, and if I can add any fuel to the fire, I would like to suggest that the ideal situation would be for McCarran and McCarthy to investigate each other. The results must end in a dead heat. Both must wind up in the penitentiary.

Information from Washington from a source very close to McCarthy - in fact one of his investigators - has tipped me off to a possible investigation that McCarthy intends to pursue of me.

I would like to save the senator from Wisconsin some effort and money, purely in the interests of the taxpayer who must foot the bills for these personal investigations.

I am as innocent as a new-born lamb; and if I were not, I would be the first to admit it, because there is nothing bad he can say about me that others haven't already said and more forcefully. I'm ready to plead guilty to anything, but does this excuse the disreputable pervert from answering for his crimes against society?

I would like to refer McCarthy to his colleague, Sen. Pat McCarran, for advice before he starts his probe. McCarran investigated me until his senile old brain turned to jelly, and he couldn't come up with anything. I've been interrogated by the Post Office department, Internal Revenue bureau, FBI, PDQ, OGPU, and all the other alphabetical agencies of government, and they all left talking to themselves.

The fact that Joe McCarthy lived well within his means did not prevent his enemies from accusing him of trying to line his pockets out of hours. The chief harassment along these lines was led by William Benton who launched an investigation into his income-tax payments and occasional sources of outside income. This grew into a campaign that plagued McCarthy for years, even after the charges were dropped.

Joe McCarthy had strength, he had great courage, he had daring. There was a quality about the man which compelled respect and even liking from his strongest adversaries.

Joe McCarthy was unquestionably the most controversial man I ever served with in the Senate. The anti-anticommunists were outraged at his claims that some of the principals in the Truman and Roosevelt administrations actively served the communist causes.

McCarthy was supported by a strong, nationwide constituency, which included among others, Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of John, Bob, and Edward. A variety of respected, creditable federal employees disturbed by security risks in the national government provided McCarthy with a steady stream of inside information.

The liberals mounted a skillfully orchestrated campaign of criticism against Joe McCarthy. Under the pressure of criticism, he reacted angrily. It is probably true that McCarthy drank too much, overstated his case, and refused to compromise, but he wasn't alone in his beliefs.

Biography of Joseph McCarthy, Senator and Leader of Red Scare Crusade

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    Joseph McCarthy was a United States Senator from Wisconsin whose crusade against suspected communists created a political frenzy in the early 1950s. The actions of McCarthy dominated the news to such a degree that the word McCarthyism entered the language to describe the hurling of unfounded accusations.

    The McCarthy Era, as it became known, lasted for only a few years, as McCarthy was eventually discredited and widely denounced. But the damage done by McCarthy was real. Careers were ruined and the country's politics were changed by the senator's reckless and bullying tactics.

    Fast Facts: Joseph McCarthy

    • Known For: United States Senator whose crusade against suspected communists turned into a national panic in the early 1950s
    • Born: November 14, 1908 in Grand Chute, Wisconsin
    • Parents: Timothy and Bridget McCarthy
    • Died: May 2, 1957, Bethesda, Maryland
    • Education: Marquette University
    • Spouse: Jean Kerr (married 1953)

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    Wisconsin Historical Society Citation Wisconsin Historical Society, Creator, Title, Image ID. Viewed online at (copy and paste image page link). Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research Citation Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, Creator, Title, Image ID. Viewed online at (copy and paste image page link).

    Fact from Fiction: Joseph McCarthy the Tail Gunner

    Joe McCarthy didn’t have to go to war. His job as an elected circuit judge in Appleton, Wisconsin, was important enough to exempt him from military service. It would be nice to say that he volunteered for the best of reasons: a strong sense of duty, a hatred of fascism. It would also be untrue. To his thinking, frontline action was an essential requirement for young politicians. There was but one rule to remember: One had to survive in order to exploit it.

    The judgeship bored McCarthy. He viewed himself as a politician, and he had told everyone within earshot of his desire to seek “real” political office. Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Like many office seekers, McCarthy knew the value of a war record, and he told a fellow judge, Urban Van Susteren, that he must enlist at once. Van Susteren remembered advising him: “Look, if you’ve got to be a hero to be a politician, join the marines.” McCarthy agreed. Early in 1942 he entered a leatherneck recruit- ing office in Milwaukee and signed on the dotted line.

    The news that a circuit judge had traded in his robes for a helmet and rifle traveled quickly through Wisconsin. And McCarthy helped the story along by implying that he wanted no special favors. He said he would serve “as a private, an officer, or anything else.” In fact, McCarthy had already written a letter on court stationery requesting an officer’s rank. He was sworn in as a first lieutenant.

    On August 4, 1942, McCarthy began his tour of duty in the Pacific. For almost three years he served as an intelligence officer at Bougainville, in Papua New Guinea, debriefing combat pilots who returned from bombing runs over Japanese–held islands. By all accounts, he did a creditable job his assignment, while hardly dangerous, was vital to the fliers who took the risks and got most of the glory. In his spare time, McCarthy played poker and acted as the island’s “procurer”—not of women, but of such things as liquor and exotic food. One Christmas he rounded up a few pilots and flew to Guadalcanal, where the men bartered for medicinal brandy, canned turkeys, pineapple juice, and other luxuries. On returning, he held an open house, passing out free food and drink to those who happened by.

    But McCarthy was not about to be viewed as a small cog in a big machine. Not when his political instincts told him that those who came home with military honors would be rewarded at the ballot box. Before long, stories about his military exploits began filtering back to Wisconsin. In 1943 the Post-Crescent printed the following dispatch:

    Guadalcanal—Every evening the “judge” holds court in a dilapidated shack just off a jungle air strip deep in the South Pacific combat zone. The folks in Wisconsin might be a trifle shocked at his lack of dignity now. He stands bare-chested before his bench, an ancient table reeling on its last legs, and opens court with: “All right, what kind of hell did you give the Japs today?”

    That was only the beginning. News reached Wisconsin that McCarthy had become a tail gunner with Scout Bomber Squadron VMSB-235, flying dangerous missions and spraying more bullets (4,700 in one sortie) than any marine in history. As McCarthy carefully molded his image for the folks back home, he told of ever more impressive exploits. In 1944 he spoke of 14 bombing missions in 1947 the figure rose to 17 in 1951 it peaked at 32. He requested—and received—an Air Medal with four stars and the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for 25 missions in combat. Honors poured in from the American Legion, the Gold Star Mothers, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    In 1949 the Madison Capital-Times received a letter from Marine Captain Jack Canaan, a flyer who was stationed with McCarthy at Bougainville. It claimed that McCarthy’s only combat experience had been two missions in one day. “He told me that he did it for publicity value,” wrote Canaan. “In fact, in a hospital in the New Hebrides he personally showed me the Associated Press clipping about firing more rounds than any gunner in one day….I believe on the day he fired them, the Jap planes at Rabaul were all dead.” Canaan advised the newspaper to check McCarthy’s “official jacket in Washington.” It would, he thought, “expose the guy for the fraud he is.”

    The Capital-Times didn’t pursue the tip, but other reporters got wind of it and started their own inquiries. Before long the real story of McCarthy’s Pacific exploits had emerged. In 1943 his squadron was assigned to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. The work varied—from routine “spotting” flights on New Georgia, the largest of the Solomon Islands, to bombing runs over the island of New Britain in western New Guinea. Sometimes, to ease the boredom, the pilots would try to break every flight record on the books—most missions in a day, most ammunition expended, and the like. According to one marine, “Everyone at the base who could possibly do so went along for the ride on some of these missions—it was hot, dusty, and dull on the ground, and a ride in an SBD [“Scout Bomber Douglas”] was cool and a break in the monotony. It was also quite safe—there weren’t any Jap planes or anti-aircraft gunners around.”

    McCarthy wanted to break the record for most ammo used in a single mission. So he was strapped into a tail-gunner’s seat, sent aloft, and allowed to blast away at the coconut trees. As a matter of routine, the public relations officer gave him the record and wrote up a press release for the Wisconsin papers. A few weeks later, McCarthy came into the fellow’s hut waving a stack of clippings. “This is worth 50,000 votes to me,” he said with a smile. The two men then had a drink to celebrate the creation of “Tail-Gunner Joe.”

    All told, McCarthy made about a dozen flights in the tail-gunner’s seat. He strafed deserted airfields, hit some fuel dumps, and came under enemy fire at least once. His buddies recalled that he “loved to shoot the guns.” They gave him an award for destroying the island’s plant life, and they laughed hysterically when he lost control of the twin 30s and pumped bullets through the tail of his plane.

    It was on one of these missions that McCarthy claimed to have been wounded in action. Later, in his Senate campaigns, he would walk with a limp, saying that his plane had crash-landed or that he carried “ten pounds of shrapnel” in his leg. When pressed for details, he would refer to a citation from Admiral Chester Nimitz, the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet: “Although suffering from a severe leg injury, [Captain McCarthy] refused to be hospitalized and continued to carry out his duties as an intelligence officer in a highly efficient manner. His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service.”

    Citations like this were easy to come by. In McCarthy’s case, he apparently wrote it himself, forged his commanding officer’s signature, and sent it on to Nimitz, who signed thousands of such documents during the war. What bothered some newsmen was that McCarthy had never been awarded a Purple Heart. Could it be that his wound was not war related? “Maybe he fell off a bar stool,” mused Robert Fleming, the Milwaukee Journal’s crack reporter, as he began piecing together the incident. Fleming soon discovered that McCarthy had been aboard the seaplane tender Chandeleur on the day the injury occurred. It was June 22, 1943, and the Chandeleur’s crew was holding a “shellback” initiation as the ship crossed the equator. During the hazing, McCarthy was forced to attach an iron bucket to one foot and run the gantlet of paddle-wielding sailors. He slipped, fell down a stairwell, and suffered three fractures of the metatarsal (middle foot) bone. That was the extent of his “war” wounds.

    It is not unusual for someone, particularly a politician, to exaggerate his war record. Nor is it the sort of falsehood that generally hurts the feelings or the reputations of others. Why, then, the controversy over “Tail-Gunner Joe”? The question can be answered in several ways. For one thing, McCarthy’s puffed-up gallantry was not an isolated instance of deception, but rather an example of the way he consistently misrepresented his actions. For another, McCarthy used his war record to shameless advantage. He thought nothing of attacking political opponents as cowardly slackers or of claiming the exclusive right to speak for veterans with disabilities and for “dead heroes.” Finally, like some compulsive braggarts, McCarthy seemed increasingly unable to differentiate fact from fancy. He lied so often and so boldly about his exploits that he himself came to accept their veracity. His friends insisted that McCarthy always stuck by his war record, even in private. When Urban Van Susteren once asked about the wound, McCarthy rolled up his pants, exposed a nasty scar, and growled, “There, you son of a bitch, now let’s hear no more about it.”

    It would be an understatement to say that McCarthy launched his campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1944 as a long shot. He was, after all, a political novice residing some 9,000 miles from Wisconsin and running against an incumbent. And his hastily fashioned campaign platform consisted of two vaguely worded statements about “job security for every man and woman” and “lasting peace throughout the world.” Still, the very thought of a two-fisted marine running for political office was both novel and patriotic.

    But there was a complication. According to Wisconsin law, judges can “hold no office of public trust, except a judicial office, during the term for which they are elected.” Was McCarthy violating the law? The secretary of state thought so, but the attorney general took a more liberal approach. McCarthy could run, he decided, and the courts could untangle the mess if he happened to win. Of course, McCarthy did not expect to win. He was in the race for the experience, the publicity, and the chance to position himself for a serious run in 1946. With the campaign in high gear, he got a 30-day leave and returned to a hero’s welcome. “When Joe set foot on Main Street this morning,” wrote the Shawano Evening Leader, “he did not have to walk far to find a friend. It was ‘Hello, Joe,’ left and right, to the young judge who left a seat on the bench…to take another…behind the rear guns of a dive bomber.”

    On returning to the Pacific, he applied for another leave, claiming that his judicial duties had been too long overlooked. When it was denied, he resigned his commission, obtaining his official discharge in February 1945. While the war was far from over, the “fighting judge” had other things on his mind. A major national election was only a year away, with another Senate seat up for grabs. That it belonged to Robert M. La Follette Jr., a figure of heroic proportions, meant little to McCarthy. Less than a month after his discharge he was busily preparing to challenge La Follette in the GOP Senate primary.

    Stalwarts of the GOP establishment in Wisconsin may not have liked McCarthy, but they thought he was the best bet to defeat La Follette. They therefore made every resource available to him, including a public relations firm, a campaign staff, and a big budget. The Committee to Elect Joe McCarthy spent more than $75,000 during the race. The La Follette figure was about $13,000. For McCarthy, money became the great equalizer.

    Much of it was used to produce a slick brochure (“The Newspapers Say”) with pages of photographs and short favorable quips from the local press. The reader learned that McCarthy was a man with small-town, working-class roots a self-made man, free of inherited wealth and privilege a robust man who had been a farmer, a boxer, a tough marine gunner. It was an exceptional piece of campaign literature, emphasizing the very qualities that set him apart from La Follette. McCarthy loved the brochure. He told Van Susteren that most people “vote with their emotions, not with their minds. Show them a picture and they’ll never read.”

    Much of the literature played strictly on McCarthy’s war record. Combat veterans have always done well at the polls, and 1946 was a fine year for patriotic chest-thumping. His newspaper ads were misleading but effective. They explained how he turned down a soft job exempt from military duty how he joined the marines as a private how he and millions of other Joes kept Wisconsin from speaking Japanese. And they all ended the same way: “Today Joe M c Carthy is home. He wants to serve America in the Senate. Yes, folks, congress needs a tailgunner.”

    McCarthy then zeroed in on La Follette’s failure to enlist. (The senator, 46 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed, remained in Washington with virtually all his congressional colleagues.) “What, other than draw fat rations, did La Follette do for the war effort?” asked one campaign flyer. Another called La Follette a war profiteer, a charge that McCarthy pressed with great relish. The senator, it seemed, had invested in a Milwaukee radio station and was rewarded with a $47,000 profit during 1944–45. Noting that the Federal Communications Commission licensed the station, McCarthy alleged that La Follette had made “huge profits from dealing with a federal agency which exists by virtue of his vote.”

    The charge was absurd. All stations are licensed by the FCC. While McCarthy didn’t try to prove that collusion occurred, his claims awakened liberal voters to the fact that La Follette had made a financial killing on a limited investment. His image as the archenemy of privilege had begun to wear thin.

    McCarthy said little about his own campaign platform. He supported veterans’ pensions and the creation of an all-volunteer army—issues he knew to be popular with returning veterans and their families. His speeches on foreign affairs were laced with generalities that appealed to both isolationists and internationalists. His main theme was that America had the duty either to lead the world or to play no part in it at all. He never said which alternative he favored.

    McCarthy edged La Follette by 5,000 votes. A few months later he won the general election as part of a GOP landslide that gave Republicans control of Congress for the first time in 18 years.

    As a freshman U.S. senator, McCarthy was known mainly for his raucous behavior. Angry colleagues accused him of lying, of manipulating figures, and of disregarding the Senate’s most cherished traditions. By 1950 his political career was in deep trouble. He was up for reelection in 1952, and most political analysts expected him to lose. He felt that he needed an issue to attract attention—something to make his importance felt beyond the walls of the Senate chamber.

    On February 9, 1950, during a routine dinner speech before a women’s Republican club in Wheeling, West Virginia, McCarthy declared that he held a list of 205 communists actively shaping policy in the State Department. Overnight, his notoriety grew a thousandfold.

    Although McCarthy had hardly “discovered” the political exploitability of communist infiltration, he was uniquely gifted in using it to promote himself publicly. He convinced an increasingly frightened America that the Reds and their fellow travelers had orchestrated a conspiracy so immense that he—and he alone—could be trusted to deliver the nation from it.

    But soon McCarthy’s life would rapidly disintegrate. In February 1954 the Senate had authorized his investigation by a vote of 85–1. Eight months later it had condemned him by a vote of 67–22. And eight months after that it would crush his spirit—and what remained of his career—by voting, 77–4, to censure him.

    In the interval between his famous Wheeling speech in 1950 and his official Senate censure some four years later, McCarthy lost his identity as a man to that of an “ism,” his name touted by his enemies as a symbol of political opportunism, coercion, and reckless accusation. McCarthyism is still a dirty word in the American political vocabulary.

    Although the censure had humiliated McCarthy, his physical decline had been obvious for years. In the latter part of 1956 McCarthy was treated at the Bethesda Naval Hospital for a variety of ailments: hepatitis, cirrhosis, delirium tremens, and the removal of a fatty tumor from his leg. Between visits, his friends pleaded with him to stop drinking, but to no avail. “I would scream at him,” Van Susteren recalled. “I’d say, ‘You’re killing yourself, Goddamit.’ And he’d say, “Kiss my ass, Van.’ And that was that.”

    McCarthy entered Bethesda again on April 28, 1958. He died on May 2. The official cause of death was listed as acute hepatitis—or inflammation of the liver. There was no mention of cirrhosis or delirium tremens, though the press hinted, correctly, that he drank himself to death.

    David M. Oshinsky, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, is a professor of history at New York University and the director of the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Health. He is the author of A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (Free Press, 1983), from which this article is adapted.

    This article appears in the Spring 2020 issue (Vol. 32, No. 3) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History with the headline: War Stories | The Tail Gunner

    Want to have the lavishly illustrated, premium-quality print edition of MHQ delivered directly to you four times a year? Subscribe now at special savings!

    Joseph McCarthy: Biography

    The following biographical essay was prepared by the Reference staff of the Appleton Public Library, based primarily on information from The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography by Thomas C. Reeves.

    Early Years

    Joseph Raymond McCarthy was born on a farm in the Town of Grand Chute, near Appleton, Wisconsin, on November 15, 1908. He attended the Underhill School, a one-room schoolhouse, where he completed eighth grade. Bored with farm work, McCarthy started his own chicken business as a teenager, but disease wiped out his flock. Broke at age 20, he worked as a clerk in an Appleton grocery store, quickly becoming manager.

    In 1929, McCarthy was transferred to Manawa to manage a new grocery store. While there, he entered Little Wolf High School, completing the four-year curriculum in nine months. McCarthy’s excellent grades enabled him to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee, which he entered in the fall of 1930. In school, he coached boxing, and was elected president of his law school class, all while working a series of part-time jobs. Immediately after gaining his law degree in 1935, McCarthy opened a practice in Waupaca. He later joined a law firm in Shawano, becoming a partner in 1937.

    McCarthy's first attempt at public office was an unsuccessful run for the post of Shawano District Attorney as a Democrat in 1936. In 1939, he sought the nonpartisan post of judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, covering Langlade, Shawano, and Outagamie Counties. He campaigned tirelessly, defeating the incumbent judge, who had served for 24 years. At age 30, McCarthy became the youngest circuit judge ever elected in Wisconsin.

    Borrowing the money, McCarthy made a down-payment on a house at 1508 Lorain Court in Appleton, not far from his new office at the Outagamie County Courthouse. As a judge, McCarthy was credited with being hard-working and fair, but he was also rebuked by the Wisconsin Supreme Court for an "abuse of judicial authority" after destroying court records. He was later censured for violating the ethical code that prohibited sitting judges from running for non-judicial posts.

    In July, 1942, shortly after the start of World War II, McCarthy took a leave of absence from his judicial office and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Marines. As an intelligence officer stationed in the Pacific, he participated in combat bombing missions, although he was not wounded in action as he later claimed.

    While still on active duty in 1944, McCarthy challenged incumbent Alexander Wiley for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, but was soundly defeated. In April, 1945, having resigned his military commission, McCarthy was re-elected without opposition to the circuit court. He immediately began planning for the 1946 Senate campaign.

    Senator McCarthy

    Initially, McCarthy was given little chance of defeating incumbent Robert M. La Follette, Jr. for the Republican Senate nomination. La Follette, the son of the famous "Fighting Bob" La Follette, was well known in Wisconsin, having served as senator for 21 years. But La Follette had only recently rejoined the Republican Party after years as a leader of the Progressive Party, and many Republicans resented his return. Aided by the support of the Republican organization, McCarthy ran a typically energetic campaign and beat La Follette by a tiny margin. In the general election, McCarthy easily defeated his Democratic opponent and went to Washington at age 38, the youngest member of the new Senate.

    As a senator, McCarthy’s voting record was generally conservative, although he did not follow the Republican Party line. The main accomplishments of his first years came with his successful fight for housing legislation and his work to ease sugar rationing. The biggest national issue at the time was the suspicion of communist infiltration of the United States government following a series of investigations and espionage trials. McCarthy engaged this issue on February 9, 1950, in a speech before a Republican women’s group in Wheeling, West Virginia. In his address, McCarthy charged that U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson knew of 205 communists in the State Department. Later, McCarthy claimed to have the names of 57 State Department communists, and called for an investigation.

    McCarthy’s charges caused a furor. In response, the Senate appointed a committee under the direction of Senator Millard Tydings, Democrat of Maryland, who opened hearings on March 8, 1950. Though McCarthy had hired investigators of his own, all the names he eventually supplied to the committee were of people previously examined. McCarthy failed to name a single current State Department employee. On July 17, 1950, the Tydings committee issued a report that found no grounds for McCarthy’s charges. McCarthy, however, refused to back down, issuing further accusations of communist influence on the government. These charges received extensive media attention, making McCarthy the most famous political figure in the nation after President Harry Truman. He was also one of the most criticized. McCarthy’s enemies began a smear campaign against him, spreading lies that have permeated his biographies ever since.

    Throughout the early 1950s, McCarthy continued to make accusations of communist infiltration of the U. S. government, though he failed to provide evidence. McCarthy himself was investigated by a Senate panel in 1952. That committee issued the "Hennings Report," which uncovered unethical behavior in McCarthy’s campaigns and tax returns, but found no basis for legal action. Despite that report, McCarthy was re-elected in 1952 with 54% of the vote, although he ran behind all other statewide Republicans and had a lower vote total than in 1946.

    With Republicans taking control of the Senate in 1953, McCarthy became chairman of the Committee on Government Operations and the subcommittee on investigations. In that capacity, he so angered Democrats that they resigned from the committee in protest. McCarthy also angered the new president and fellow Republican Dwight Eisenhower by accusing the administration of sheltering communists. Eisenhower refused to publicly rebuke McCarthy, but worked behind the scenes to isolate him.

    The Army McCarthy Hearings

    In the fall of 1953, McCarthy investigated the Army Signal Corps, but failed to uncover an alleged espionage ring. McCarthy’s treatment of General Ralph W. Zwicker during that investigation causedmany supporters to turn against McCarthy. That opposition grew with the March 9, 1954, CBSbroadcast of Edward R. Murrow’s "See It Now," which was an attack on McCarthy and his methods. The Army then released a report charging that McCarthy and his aide, Roy Cohn, had pressured the Army to give favored treatment to G. David Schine, a former McCarthy aide who had been drafted. McCarthy counter-charged that the Army was using Schine as a hostage to exert pressure on McCarthy.

    Both sides of this dispute were aired over national television between April 22 and June 17, 1954, during what became known as the Army-McCarthy Hearings. McCarthy’s frequent interruptions of the proceedings and his calls of "point of order" made him the object of ridicule, and his approval ratings in public opinion polls continued a sharp decline. On June 9, the hearings climaxed when McCarthy attacked a young lawyer who worked for the law firm of Joseph Nye Welch, the Army’s chief counsel. Welch’s reply to McCarthy became famous: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?" After that, the hearings petered out to an inconclusive end, but McCarthy’s reputation never recovered.

    In August, 1954, a Senate committee was formed to investigate censuring McCarthy. On September27, the committee released a unanimous report calling McCarthy’s behavior as a committee chairman "inexcusable," "reprehensible," "vulgar and insulting." On December 2, 1954, the full Senate, by a vote of 67-22, passed a resolution condemning McCarthy for abusing his power as a senator. Though he remained in the Senate, McCarthy now had little power and was ignored by the Congress, the White House, and most of the media.

    Throughout his Senate career, McCarthy was troubled by ill health. Severe sinus problems caused many hospital stays, and a herniated diaphragm led to a difficult operation. With his friends, McCarthy was a gregarious, kind, warm-hearted man, but in later years he seemed to lose his sense of humor. Always a heavy drinker, McCarthy’s drinking increased to dangerous levels, especially after the Senate’s actions against him. The drinking eventually caused liver ailments, leading to his hospitalization in April, 1957. On May 2, 1957, McCarthy died of acute hepatitis at the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington. With him when he died was his wife, the former Jean Kerr, who had worked as a researcher in his office. The couple had married on September 29, 1953. They had adopted a baby girl, Tierney Elizabeth, in January, 1957.

    Joseph Raymond McCarthy was buried on a bluff overlooking the Fox River in Appleton’s St. Mary’s cemetery.

    Did the Jews murder Senator Joe McCarthy?

    [I saw this fascinating post on the social media by a Jew-wise American. What he’s saying strikes me as very possible. I think this is an area well worth digging into. McCarthy was catching one Jewish communist after another, and Rockwell pointed out how the Jews got him destroyed – rather similar to the way the Jews got Nixon destroyed by having a Jew close to him.

    With regard to both Nixon and McCarthy, the Jews discredited both of them to such a degree that for decades their names were mocked and ignored. I saw that in my own lifetime with Nixon. This is how the Jews do it. They unleash a flood of hate and lies until everyone believes them, except, as usual, the Jews LIED … and those they lied about were the real victims. McCarthy was an awesome American trying to save America from communism.

    In the image below which is a screen shot from the social media I crossed out the name of the guy who posted it in case it gets him into trouble. But you can read what he uncovered. One of his pals is Joe Rizoli whose name I saw there. But I’m real curious about his statements. I think he’s on to something. Yet another fine white man murdered by the Jewish scum. If this is how it has gone in this century alone, then ask yourself how many fine white men have been murdered by the Jews in the last 2,000 years?? I cringe at the thought.

    While hunting around on the Internet I found more. It seems this guy is not alone in thinking McCarthy was poisoned.

    But it is possible that McCarthy was murdered just like General Patton and others. If anyone finds more on this, I’d be very interested – EXTREMELY INTERESTED in fact! Jan]

    Here’s an article wherein someone explains why they believe McCarthy was murdered. Note his mention of Mossad and communists. Jews would be swarming all over this. Notice too, that despite legal requirements for an autopsy, none was performed. (Coverup from the top down? That sounds like Jewish involvement hey?)

    The Murder of Joseph McCarthy

    October 11, 2015 4458 4458

    The standard narrative of Joseph McCarthy’s death is that it was due to liver complications from too much alcohol – or put more bluntly, McCarthy died of alcoholism. The truth is that McCarthy was murdered.

    Senator McCarthy entered Bethesda Naval Hospital April 28, 1957 for a knee injury he sustained while serving as a Marine in World War 2. He died on May 2 with the official cause of death given as “hepatitis, acute, cause unknown” of a “noninfectious type” which the slanderous Wikipedia smugly asserts, contrary to the official evidence, was due to alcoholism.

    Wikipedia does not have any factual data to substantiate its claim. It openly admits that it cites the telephone game as the basis of its allegations. In other words, Time magazine, a product of the Skull & Bones Henry Luce, distorted the official cause of death into “cirrhosis of the liver.” Other “journalists” who repeated the story were the arch-Zionist Drew Pearson, and biography gadfly Richard Rovere – both of whom were bitter opponents of McCarthy, a story which finally descends to the dubious Wikipedia.

    The myth of McCarthy’s alcoholism was concocted to provide plausible affirmability of the liver theory. Dave Martin states that close associates of McCarthy at the time of his death related that the senator could not drink because of prior hepatitis infection.

    Biographer M Stanton Evans also explained that although McCarthy was a social drinker, he laboriously nursed a single drink in order to maintain control of his mental faculties, recognizing that intoxication was a quick way to sink a political career.

    Even the official documents claiming hepatitis are not to be believed, but since Wikipedia is a mouth piece for the US government and a shill for establishment historians, at the least it should hew the line on the official cause of death. It instead opts for the smarmy declaration that “It was hinted in the press that he died of alcoholism, an estimation that is accepted by contemporary biographers.”

    Martin shrewdly notes that since the cause of the hepatitis was unknown, he could not have been treated for anything. In other words McCarthy did not suffer any of the types A-E for which treatment would be prescribed. Martin informs us that hepatitis may result from either infection or poisoning. But we have already seen that infection could not be the cause of toxicity. Thus poisoning is the only possible source.

    Martin also notes that McCarthy suffered infectious hepatitis in the early 1950s, subsequent to which he may have continued his moderate social drinking – although not in the months leading to his death – which may give plausibility to drinking as the cause of death. McCarthy was reported by friends such as the Kohlbergs and the senator’s wife as being in very good health in the week prior to his death. So an explanation is required to determine his sudden reversal, and it surely was not due to his knee injury.

    We can affirm that McCarthy murdered on account of the US government’s refusal to obey local and national law regarding the performance of an autopsy upon McCarthy’s death. Martin relates that a friend of McCarthy, a certain Mr Engel, acting on behalf of the family, pleaded with the local, state, and national authorities to conduct an autopsy, but they unanimously refused even though required by law. Clearly the governments had something to hide.

    The story then is that McCarthy was admitted to Bethesda Naval Hospital on April 27 for a knee injury. Then news accounts claimed that he suffered “acute hepatitis” for which he was put into an oxygen tent from which he was removed Tuesday, improving, though still in serious condition. Then his health took a turn for the worse, whereupon he died May 2.

    This story doesn’t pass the smell test. Martin reports that non-infectious hepatitis has a mortality rate of only 5-10%. The most likely explanation of death is that the healthy McCarthy entered Bethesda for treatment of a knee injury, which the hospital then reported as hepatitis. “Nurse Hunnicutt” placed McCarthy in an oxygen tent, through which he was administered carbon tetrachloride, and thus murdered.

    It is impossible for us to believe that a man who was healthy and feeling good – who walked into the hospital for treatment of a knee injury – died within 5 days of such admission from “acute hepatitis.” His past illness of hepatitis was the plausible story that he died of it while in Bethesda. He did not drink for months prior to admission to the hospital.

    Of course this accusation begs to the questions of perpetrator and motive, for which we are at the ready with an explanation. Our belief is that Soviet or Mossad agents, working in conjunction with the Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA, murdered the senator.

    The so-called Army-McCarthy hearings were a turning point in the investigation into Soviet espionage in the United States, an event which earned the senator some powerful enemies, namely the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the entire seamy intelligence world.

    Another interesting speculation concerning McCarthy’s murder comes from DC Dave who argued that banksters associated with the Institute of Pacific Relations front were behind the Senator’s death. This interpretation is a variant of our own theory since, as Smedley Butler put it, he was a racketeer for the plutocrats.

    Dave Martin, James Forrestal And Joe McCarthy,, September 29, 2011, accessed 10/11/2015

    M Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2007, [Scribd Excerpt]

    Wikipedia contributors. Joseph McCarthy. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. October 11, 2015, 15:15 UTC.

    DC Dave, Why Senator Joe McCarthy Had to Be Destroyed, Before It’s News, July 27, 2014, accessed 10/11/2015

    Joseph R. McCarthy: A Featured Biography

    Elected to the Senate in 1946, Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) did not draw major national attention until 1950. On February 9th of that year, he delivered a Lincoln Day address in Wheeling, West Virginia, blaming failures in American foreign policy on Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. The Wisconsin Republican claimed to have a list of known Communists still working in the Department of State. A special subcommittee investigated McCarthy's charges and rejected them as &ldquoa fraud and a hoax,&rdquo but the outbreak of the Korean War and the highly publicized conviction of Alger Hiss lent credibility to the charges. When McCarthy became chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953, he launched a series of investigations into alleged subversion and espionage. In 1954 a confrontation with the army led to the nationally televised Army-McCarthy hearings, which tarnished McCarthy's public image, undermined his charges, and prompted his censure by the U.S. Senate.

    Organizational Chart

    This chart shows the relationships among Senate leaders and officers who manage the flow of legislative and administrative business in the Senate.

    Wisconsin Republican Joseph R. McCarthy first won election to the Senate in 1946 during a campaign marked by much anticommunist Red-baiting. Partially in response to Republican Party victories, President Harry S. Truman tried to demonstrate his own concern about the threat of Communism by setting up a loyalty program for federal employees. He also asked the Justice Department to compile an official list of 78 subversive organizations. As the midterm election year got underway, former State Department official Alger Hiss, suspected of espionage, was convicted of perjury. McCarthy, in a speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, mounted an attack on Truman’s foreign policy agenda by charging that the State Department and its Secretary, Dean Acheson, harbored “traitorous” Communists. There is some dispute about the number of Communists McCarthy claimed to have known about. Though advance copies of this speech distributed to the press record the number as 205, McCarthy quickly revised this claim. Both in a letter he wrote to President Truman the next day and in an “official” transcript of the speech that McCarthy submitted to the Congressional Record ten days later he uses the number 57. Although McCarthy displayed this list of names both in Wheeling and then later on the Senate floor, he never made the list public.

    Speech of Joseph McCarthy, Wheeling, West Virginia, February 9, 1950

    Ladies and gentlemen, tonight as we celebrate the one hundred forty-first birthday of one of the greatest men in American history, I would like to be able to talk about what a glorious day today is in the history of the world. As we celebrate the birth of this man who with his whole heart and soul hated war, I would like to be able to speak of peace in our time—of war being outlawed—and of world-wide disarmament. These would be truly appropriate things to be able to mention as we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

    Five years after a world war has been won, men’s hearts should anticipate a long peace—and men’s minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war. But this is not such a period—for this is not a period of peace. This is a time of “the cold war.” This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly hostile armed camps—a time of a great armament race.

    Today we can almost physically hear the mutterings and rumblings of an invigorated god of war. You can see it, feel it, and hear it all the way from the Indochina hills, from the shores of Formosa, right over into the very heart of Europe itself.

    The one encouraging thing is that the “mad moment” has not yet arrived for the firing of the gun or the exploding of the bomb which will set civilization about the final task of destroying itself. There is still a hope for peace if we finally decide that no longer can we safely blind our eyes and close our ears to those facts which are shaping up more and more clearly . . . and that is that we are now engaged in a show-down fight . . . not the usual war between nations for land areas or other material gains, but a war between two diametrically opposed ideologies.

    The great difference between our western Christian world and the atheistic Communist world is not political, gentlemen, it is moral. For instance, the Marxian idea of confiscating the land and factories and running the entire economy as a single enterprise is momentous. Likewise, Lenin’s invention of the one-party police state as a way to make Marx’s idea work is hardly less momentous.

    Stalin’s resolute putting across of these two ideas, of course, did much to divide the world. With only these differences, however, the east and the west could most certainly still live in peace.

    The real, basic difference, however, lies in the religion of immoralism . . . invented by Marx, preached feverishly by Lenin, and carried to unimaginable extremes by Stalin. This religion of immoralism, if the Red half of the world triumphs—and well it may, gentlemen—this religion of immoralism will more deeply wound and damage mankind than any conceivable economic or political system.

    Karl Marx dismissed God as a hoax, and Lenin and Stalin have added in clear-cut, unmistakable language their resolve that no nation, no people who believe in a god, can exist side by side with their communistic state.

    Karl Marx, for example, expelled people from his Communist Party for mentioning such things as love, justice, humanity or morality. He called this “soulful ravings” and “sloppy sentimentality.” . . .

    Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity. The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time, and ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down—they are truly down.

    Lest there be any doubt that the time has been chosen, let us go directly to the leader of communism today—Joseph Stalin. Here is what he said—not back in 1928, not before the war, not during the war—but 2 years after the last war was ended: “To think that the Communist revolution can be carried out peacefully, within the framework of a Christian democracy, means one has either gone out of one’s mind and lost all normal understanding, or has grossly and openly repudiated the Communist revolution.” . . .

    Ladies and gentlemen, can there be anyone tonight who is so blind as to say that the war is not on? Can there by anyone who fails to realize that the Communist world has said the time is now? . . . that this is the time for the show-down between the democratic Christian world and the communistic atheistic world?

    Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who wait too long.

    Six years ago, . . . there was within the Soviet orbit, 180,000,000 people. Lined up on the antitotalitarian side there were in the world at that time, roughly 1,625,000,000 people. Today, only six years later, there are 800,000,000 people under the absolute domination of Soviet Russia—an increase of over 400 percent. On our side, the figure has shrunk to around 500,000,000. In other words, in less than six years, the odds have changed from 9 to 1 in our favor to 8 to 5 against us.

    This indicates the swiftness of the tempo of Communist victories and American defeats in the cold war. As one of our outstanding historical figures once said, “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be from enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within.” . . .

    The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores . . . but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate, or members of minority groups who have been traitorous to this Nation, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest Nation on earth has had to offer . . . the finest homes, the finest college education and the finest jobs in government we can give.

    This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been most traitorous. . . .

    I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .

    As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes—being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust—high treason. . . .

    He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of honesty and decency in government.

    Joseph McCarthy to President Harry Truman, February 11, 1950

    In the Lincoln Day speech at Wheeling Thursday night I stated that the State Department harbors a nest of Communists and Communist sympathizers who are helping to shape our foreign policy. I further stated that I have in my possession the names of 57 Communists who are in the State Department at present. A State Department spokesman promptly denied this, claiming that there is not a single Communist in the Department. You can convince yourself of the falsity of the State Department claim very easily. You will recall that you personally appointed a board to screen State Department employees for the purpose of weeding out fellow travelers—men whom the board considered dangerous to the security of this Nation. Your board did a painstaking job, and named hundreds which had been listed as dangerous to the security of the Nation, because of communistic connections.

    While the records are not available to me, I know absolutely of one group of approximately 300 certified to the Secretary for discharge because of communism. He actually only discharged approximately 80. I understand that this was done after lengthy consultation with the now-convicted traitor, Alger Hiss. I would suggest, therefore, Mr. President, that you simply pick up your phone and ask Mr. Acheson how many of those whom your board had labeled as dangerous Communists he failed to discharge. The day the House Un-American Activities Committee exposed Alger Hiss as an important link in an international Communist spy ring you signed an order forbidding the State Department’s giving any information in regard to the disloyalty or the communistic connections of anyone in that Department to the Congress.

    Despite this State Department black-out, we have been able to compile a list of 57 Communists in the State Department. This list is available to you but you can get a much longer list by ordering Secretary Acheson to give you a list of those whom your own board listed as being disloyal and who are still working in the State Department. I believe the following is the minimum which can be expected of you in this case.

    1. That you demand that Acheson give you and the proper congressional committee the names and a complete report on all of those who were placed in the Department by Alger Hiss, and all of those still working in the State Department who were listed by your board as bad security risks because of their communistic connections.

    2. That you promptly revoke the order in which you provided under no circumstances could a congressional committee obtain any information or help in exposing Communists.

    Failure on your part will label the Democratic Party of being the bedfellow of international communism. Certainly this label is not deserved by the hundreds of thousands of loyal American Democrats throughout the Nation, and by the sizable number of able loyal Democrats in both the Senate and the House.


    Born to a Jewish family in the Bronx, New York City, Cohn was the only child of Dora (née Marcus 1892–1967) and Judge Albert C. Cohn (1885–1959) his father was influential in Democratic Party politics. [8] [9] [10] His great-uncle was Joshua Lionel Cowen, the founder and longtime owner of the Lionel Corporation, a manufacturer of toy trains. [1] Cohn lived in his parents' home until his mother's death, after which he lived in New York, the District of Columbia, and Greenwich, Connecticut.

    The Cohn family atmosphere was loveless and unhappy Cohn's mother would taunt him for, in her view, lacking physical attractiveness and having a milquetoast comportment. [11] At the same time, Cohn and his mother were very close, and Cohn lived with her until he turned 40. [11] When Cohn's father insisted that his son be sent to a summer camp, his mother rented a house near the camp and her presence cast a pall over his experience. In personal interactions, Cohn showed tenderness which was absent from his public persona, but exhibited deeply ingrained vanity and insecurity. [11]

    After attending Horace Mann School [12] and the Fieldston School, [13] [7] and completing studies at Columbia College in 1946, Cohn graduated from Columbia Law School at the age of 20. [14]

    Cohn had to wait until May 27, 1948, after his 21st birthday, to be admitted to the bar, and he used his family connections to obtain a position in the office of United States Attorney Irving Saypol in Manhattan the day he was admitted. [14] One of his first cases was the Smith Act trials of Communist Party leaders. [8] [15]

    In 1948, Cohn also became a board member of the American Jewish League Against Communism. [16]

    As an Assistant US Attorney in Saypol's Manhattan office, Cohn helped to secure convictions in a number of well-publicized trials of accused Soviet operatives. One of the first began in December 1950 with the prosecution of William Remington, a former Commerce Department employee who had been accused of espionage by KGB defector Elizabeth Bentley. [8] Although an indictment for espionage could not be secured, Remington had denied his longtime membership in the Communist Party USA on two separate occasions and was convicted of perjury in two separate trials. [17]

    While working in Saypol's office, Cohn aided in the prosecution of 11 members of the American Communist Party for preaching the violent overthrow of the US government, under the Smith Act. [18] [19]

    Cohn played a prominent role in the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Cohn's direct examination of Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, produced testimony that was central to the Rosenbergs' conviction and subsequent execution. Greenglass testified that he had given the Rosenbergs classified documents from the Manhattan Project that had been stolen by Klaus Fuchs. Greenglass would later claim that he lied at the trial in order "to protect himself and his wife, Ruth, and that he was encouraged by the prosecution to do so." [20] Cohn always took great pride in the Rosenberg verdict and claimed to have played an even greater part than his public role. He said in his autobiography that his own influence had led to both Chief Prosecutor Saypol and Judge Irving Kaufman being appointed to the case. Cohn further said that Kaufman imposed the death penalty based on his personal recommendation. [ citation needed ] He denied participation in any ex parte (on behalf of) discussions. [21]

    In 2008, a co-conspirator in the case, Morton Sobell, who had served 18 years in prison, said that Julius spied for the Soviets but that Ethel did not. [22] However, in 2014, five historians who had published on the Rosenberg case wrote that Soviet documents show that "Ethel Rosenberg hid money and espionage paraphernalia for Julius, served as an intermediary for communications with his Soviet intelligence contacts, provided her personal evaluation of individuals Julius considered recruiting, and was present at meetings with his sources. They also demonstrate that Julius reported to the KGB that Ethel persuaded Ruth Greenglass to travel to New Mexico to recruit David as a spy." [23]

    There is a consensus among historians that Julius was guilty, but his and Ethel's trial was marred by clear judicial and legal improprieties – many on the part of Cohn – and that they should not have been executed. [24] [25] Distilling this consensus, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that the Rosenbergs were "guilty – and framed". [26]

    The Rosenberg trial brought the 24-year-old Cohn to the attention of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover, who recommended him to Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy hired Cohn as his chief counsel, choosing him over Robert F. Kennedy. Cohn assisted McCarthy's work for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, becoming known for his aggressive questioning of suspected Communists. Cohn preferred not to hold hearings in open forums, which went well with McCarthy's preference for holding "executive sessions" and "off-the-record" sessions away from the Capitol to minimize public scrutiny and to question witnesses with relative impunity. [27] Cohn was given free rein in pursuit of many investigations, with McCarthy joining in only for the more publicized sessions. [28]

    Cohn played a major role in McCarthy's anti-Communist hearings. [29] During the Lavender Scare, Cohn and McCarthy attempted to enhance anti-Communist fervor in the country by claiming that Communists overseas had convinced several closeted homosexuals employed by the US federal government to pass on important government secrets in exchange for keeping their sexuality secret. [29] Convinced that the employment of homosexuals was a threat to national security, President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order on April 29, 1953, to ban homosexuals from working in the federal government. According to David L. Marcus, Cohn's cousin, people in Washington who were outed as gay by Cohn and McCarthy committed suicide. As time went on, it became well known that Cohn was himself homosexual, though he denied being gay. [29]

    Cohn invited his associate G. David Schine, an anti-Communist propagandist, to join McCarthy's staff as a consultant. When Schine was drafted into the US Army in 1953, Cohn made extensive efforts to procure special treatment for him. He contacted military officials from the Secretary of the Army down to Schine's company commander and demanded that Schine be given light duties, extra leave, and exemption from an overseas assignment. At one point, Cohn is reported to have threatened to "wreck the Army" if his demands were not met. [30] [31] That conflict, along with McCarthy's claims that there were Communists in the Defense Department, led to the Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, during which the Army charged Cohn and McCarthy with using improper pressure on Schine's behalf, and McCarthy and Cohn countercharged that the Army was holding Schine "hostage" in an attempt to squelch McCarthy's investigations into Communists in the Army. During the hearings, a photograph of Schine was introduced, and Joseph N. Welch, the Army's attorney in the hearings, accused Cohn of doctoring the image to show Schine alone with Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens. [30]

    Although the findings of the Army–McCarthy hearings blamed Cohn rather than McCarthy, they are widely considered an important element of McCarthy's disgrace. After, Cohn resigned from McCarthy's staff and entered private practice. [8] [32]

    After leaving McCarthy, Cohn had a 30-year career as an attorney in New York City. His clients included Donald Trump [33] New York Yankees baseball club owner George Steinbrenner [34] Aristotle Onassis [35] Mafia figures Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante, and John Gotti, Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager (who hosted his birthday there one year - the invitation appearing like a subpoena) the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York Texas financier and philanthropist Shearn Moody, Jr. [36] and business owner Richard Dupont. Dupont, then 48, was convicted of aggravated harassment and attempted grand larceny for his extreme attempts at coercing further representation by Cohn for a bogus claim to property ownership in a case against the actual owner of 644 Greenwich Street, Manhattan, where Dupont had operated Big Gym, and from where he had been evicted in January 1979. [37] Throughout Cohn's career there were accusations of theft, obstruction, extortion, tax evasion, bribery, blackmail, fraud, perjury, and witness tampering.

    Cohn was known for his active social life, charitable giving, and combative and loyal personality. His combative personality would often come out in the threatening letters he would send to those who dared to sue his clients. In the early 1960s he became a board member of the Western Goals Foundation. [38] Although he was registered as a Democrat, Cohn supported most of the Republican presidents of his time and Republicans in major offices across New York. [8] He maintained close ties in conservative political circles, serving as an informal advisor to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Cohn was also linked to and worked with Democrats such as Ed Koch, Meade Esposito, and John Moran Bailey. According to the documentary "Where's my Roy Cohn?", his father Albert Cohn introduced him to Franklin D. Roosevelt. While on the Reagan campaign he would befriend Roger Stone. [8] Cohn's other clients included retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who has referenced Cohn as "the quintessential fixer". [39]

    Representation of Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch Edit

    In 1971 Donald Trump first undertook large construction projects in Manhattan. [40] In 1973, the Justice Department accused Trump of violating the Fair Housing Act in 39 of his properties. [41] [42] The government alleged that Trump's corporation quoted different rental terms and conditions and made false "no vacancy" statements to African Americans for apartments it managed in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. [43]

    Representing Trump, Cohn filed a countersuit against the government for $100 million, asserting that the charges were "irresponsible and baseless." [41] [44] [42] The countersuit was unsuccessful. [45] Trump settled the charges out of court in 1975, saying he was satisfied that the agreement did not "compel the Trump organization to accept persons on welfare as tenants unless as qualified as any other tenant." [41] The corporation was required to send a bi-weekly list of vacancies to the New York Urban League, a civil rights group, and give the league priority for certain locations. [46] In 1978, the Trump Organization was again in court for violating terms of the 1975 settlement Cohn called the new charges "nothing more than a rehash of complaints by a couple of planted malcontents." Trump denied the charges. [42] [45] [47]

    Cohn was allegedly involved in the construction of Trump Tower. Donald Trump wished to build Trump Tower out of concrete, however, at the time there was a city-wide Teamster strike and at the time most unions in Manhattan were controlled or at the very least had ties to organized crime. Roy Cohn had represented mobsters in the past like Carmine Galante and Anthony Salerno. Salerno and Paul Castellano at the time controlled the concrete unions in Manhattan and when Donald Trump needed concrete he received it from union leader John Cody who was a convicted felon and was linked to mob boss Paul Castellano.

    Rupert Murdoch was a client, and Cohn repeatedly pressured President Ronald Reagan to further Murdoch's interests. He is credited with introducing Trump and Murdoch, in the mid-1970s, marking the beginning of what was to be a long, pivotal association between the two. [48]

    Cohn was the grandnephew of Joshua Lionel Cowen, founder of the Lionel model train company. By 1959, Cowen and his son Lawrence had become involved in a family dispute over control of the company. In October 1959, Cohn and a group of investors stepped in and gained control of the company, having bought 200,000 of the firm's 700,000 shares, which were purchased by his syndicate from the Cowens and on the open market over a three-month period prior to the takeover. [49]

    Under Cohn's leadership, Lionel was plagued by declining sales, quality-control problems and huge financial losses. In 1963, Cohn was forced to resign from the company after losing a proxy fight. [50]

    Cohn aided Roger Stone in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1979–1980, helping Stone arrange for John B. Anderson to get the nomination of the Liberal Party of New York, a move that would help split the opposition to Reagan in the state. Stone said Cohn gave him a suitcase that Stone avoided opening and, as instructed by Cohn, dropped it off at the office of a lawyer influential in Liberal Party circles. Reagan carried the state with 46 percent of the vote. Speaking after the statute of limitations for bribery had expired, Stone said, "I paid his law firm. Legal fees. I don't know what he did for the money, but whatever it was, the Liberal Party reached its right conclusion out of a matter of principle." [51]

    Following federal investigations during the 1970s and 1980s, Cohn was charged three times with professional misconduct, including perjury and witness tampering, [8] and he was accused in New York of financial improprieties related to city contracts and private investments. He was acquitted on all charges. [8] Many famous people showed up as character witnesses including Barbara Walters, William F. Buckley Jr. and Donald Trump, all of whom said that Cohn had a great reputation, stating that he had incredible integrity. In 1986, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court disbarred Cohn for unethical and unprofessional conduct, including misappropriation of clients' funds, lying on a bar application, and pressuring a client to amend his will. That arose from an incident in 1975, when Cohn entered the hospital room of the dying and comatose Lewis Rosenstiel, the multi-millionaire founder of Schenley Industries, forced a pen to his hand and lifted it to the will, in an attempt to make himself and Cathy Frank, Rosenstiel's granddaughter, beneficiaries. The resulting marks were determined in court to be indecipherable and in no way a valid signature. [6]

    When Cohn recruited G. David Schine as chief consultant to the McCarthy staff, speculation arose that Schine and Cohn had a sexual relationship. [52] [53] Although some historians have concluded the Schine–Cohn friendship was platonic, [53] [54] [55] others state, based on the testimony of friends, that Cohn was gay. [56] [57] During the Army–McCarthy hearings, Cohn denied having any "special interest" in Schine or being bound to him "closer than to the ordinary friend." [53] Joseph Welch, the Army's attorney in the hearings, made an apparent reference to Cohn's homosexuality. After asking a witness, at McCarthy's request, if a photo entered as evidence "came from a pixie", he defined "pixie" as "a close relative of a fairy". [53] "Pixie" was a camera-model name at the time "fairy" is a derogatory term for a homosexual man. The people at the hearing recognized the implication, and found it amusing Cohn later called the remark "malicious," "wicked," and "indecent." [53]

    Speculation about Cohn's sexuality intensified following his death from AIDS in 1986. [8] In a 2008 article published in The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin quotes erstwhile Cohn associate Roger Stone: "Roy was not gay. He was a man who liked having sex with men. Gays were weak, effeminate. He always seemed to have these young blond boys around. It just wasn't discussed. He was interested in power and access." [58] Stone worked with Cohn beginning with the Reagan campaign during the 1976 Republican Party presidential primaries.

    Cohn always denied his homosexuality in public, but in private he was open about his sexual orientation with a few select friends. He had several long-term boyfriends over the course of his life, including Russell Eldridge, who died from AIDS in 1984, and Peter Fraser, Cohn's partner for the last two years of his life, who was 30 years his junior. [59] Fraser inherited Cohn's house in Manhattan after Cohn's death. [60]

    Lavender scare Edit

    Cohn and McCarthy targeted government officials and cultural figures not only for suspected Communist sympathies, but also for alleged homosexuality. [61]

    McCarthy and Cohn were responsible for the firing of scores of gay men from government employment and strong-armed many opponents into silence using rumors of their homosexuality. [61] [62] Former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson wrote: "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 witch-hunt McCarthy and others conducted against homosexuals." [63]

    In 1984, Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS and attempted to keep his condition secret while receiving experimental drug treatment. [64] He participated in clinical trials of AZT, a drug initially synthesized to treat cancer but later developed as the first anti-HIV agent for AIDS patients. He insisted to his dying day that his disease was liver cancer. [65] He died on August 2, 1986, in Bethesda, Maryland, of complications from AIDS, at the age of 59. [7] At death, the IRS seized almost everything he had. [66] One of the things that the IRS did not seize was a pair of diamond cuff links, given to him by his client and friend, Donald Trump. [67]

    According to Roger Stone, Cohn's "absolute goal was to die completely broke and owing millions to the IRS. He succeeded in that." [58] He was buried in Union Field Cemetery in Queens, New York. While his tombstone describes him as a lawyer and a patriot, [8] [30] [68] the AIDS Memorial Quilt describes him as "Roy Cohn. Bully. Coward. Victim." [69] [70] It is this latter description that made Tony Kushner interested in Cohn. [71] [72]

    A dramatic figure in life, Cohn inspired several fictional portrayals after his death. Probably the best known is in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1991), which portrays Cohn as a closeted, power-hungry hypocrite haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg as he denies dying of AIDS. In the initial Broadway production, the role was played by Ron Leibman in the HBO miniseries (2003), Cohn is played by Al Pacino and in the 2010 Off-Broadway revival by the Signature Theatre Company in Manhattan, the role was reprised by Frank Wood. [73] Nathan Lane played Cohn in the 2017 Royal National Theatre production and the 2018 Broadway production. [74] [75]

    Cohn is also a character in Kushner's one-act play, G. David Schine in Hell (1996). He is portrayed by James Woods in the biographical film Citizen Cohn (1992), by Joe Pantoliano in Robert Kennedy and His Times (1985), by George Wyner in Tail Gunner Joe (1977), and by David Moreland in The X-Files episode "Travelers" (1998), in which an elderly former FBI agent speaks to Agent Fox Mulder about the early years of the McCarthy era and the beginning of the X-Files. In the early 1990s, Cohn was one of two subjects of Ron Vawter's one-man show Roy Cohn/Jack Smith his part was written by Gary Indiana. [76] He was the subject of two 2019 documentaries: Bully, Coward, Victim: The Story of Roy Cohn, directed by Ivy Meeropol (a documentary filmmaker and granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) [77] and Matt Tyrnauer's Where's My Roy Cohn? [78]

    In American History

    These double agents, McCarthy argued, operated conspiratorially to destroy the American way of life by posing as loyal American citizens, then working their way into important government posts. McCarthy proved notoriously unsuccessful in unmasking actual Communists, but the suspicion generated by his investigations ruined many a career.

    Although the senator’s crusade garnered him no small amount of opposition, many feared that opposing him would bring their own loyalties into question. McCarthy’s willingness to make unsubstantiated public accusations, and his reckless disregard for any standard of evidence, served to create a reign of terror that the name “McCarthyism” still invokes today.

    Born and raised near Appleton, Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy never lacked for ambition and drive. At fourteen he quit school, then quickly founded a thriving small business raising chickens later he managed a prosperous local grocery store.

    Growing restless, McCarthy’s enthusiasm turned toward finishing his education, and at twenty years of age, he completed an entire course of high school study in one year. A Catholic, McCarthy next attended Marquette, the Jesuit college in Milwaukee, then graduated from law school in 1935. After briefly working in a legal partnership, the future senator lost his first election, running for district attorney as a Democrat.

    Two more years as an attorney prepared the aspiring politician for his first office—in 1939 he was elected a Wisconsin circuit judge. Though he had little name recognition or public demand for his services, McCarthy created support through tireless campaigning and, in a pattern that would continue throughout his career, some disingenuous mudslinging against his opponents.

    During World War II, the new lieutenant served as an intelligence officer at Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, but kept Wisconsin politics foremost in his mind. In an effort to maximize the political value of his military service, McCarthy kept his judgeship, fabricated a record as “Tail-Gunner Joe,” and earned himself a citation by forging his commanding officer’s signature.

    Upon his return home, McCarthy could see something others did not: the fading fortunes of Senator Robert LaFollette. A member of Wisconsin’s leading political family, LaFollette had initially been elected over twenty years before as a Republican. In the wake of the Depression, the senator and his brother, Wisconsin’s governor Phil LaFollette, found themselves to be out of step with the Republican Party in a heavily Republican state.

    The siblings founded the Progressive Party of Wisconsin, and LaFollete’s popularity kept him his seat despite the switch. When their political organization disbanded in 1944 after Phil’s run for the presidency against Franklin D. Roosevelt, LaFollette had little choice but to return to the understandably resentful Republicans.

    McCarthy sensed the possibility for an upset, and ran against the incumbent in the 1946 Republican primary. During the campaign, McCarthy said little about substantive issues, preferring instead glossy photographs of himself in full military regalia and the slogan, “Congress needs a tail-gunner.”

    But the returning hero indefatigably outcampaigned and outspent the incumbent, who took little notice of the local judge and preferred to stay in Washington. McCarthy won the Republican nomination in a tight race and had no trouble in the general election.

    The new senator quickly established a name for himself among the Washington elite as an ambitious and slightly boorish publicity hound who thought often of himself, but seldom of the traditions of the Senate or the respect due to senior colleagues. As McCarthy searched for an issue by which he could define himself early in his first term, he vigorously flogged one idea then the next with little thought of political prudence or ideological consistency.

    Nearing the end of his first term, McCarthy had alienated much of the Senate and found himself without a major committee assignment—he needed something that would put him back in the good graces of his colleagues and the voters. In Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator McCarthy found his issue.

    On 9 February 1950 several witnesses claimed he told the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club, “While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 . names that were known to the Secretary of State and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”

    Shortly thereafter the Senator told reporters he had a list of 207 names, then 57. In truth McCarthy had no list, and the numbers themselves usually came from mischaracterized or dated research that had been made public by others long before. Irresponsible and unsupported as the accusations were, they nonetheless thrust McCarthy into the public eye. He had the attention of the press, the Senate, and the Truman administration.

    The Senate convened a committee, chaired by Maryland Democrat Millard Tydings, to investigate the charges. As a member of the Tydings committee, McCarthy made far more accusations than he could support. Most observers found his performance in that forum to be irresponsible and unfair, but the junior senator from Wisconsin was successful in gaining the publicity he craved.

    For the next four years, McCarthy was the nation’s most well-known and vehement red-baiter. Having shrewdly maneuvered himself into the chairmanship of the unpopular Senate Committee on Government Operations, he appointed himself chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he had the authority and the budget to investigate “government activities at all levels.”

    McCarthy launched investigations into Communist infiltration of numerous government agencies, such as the Voice of America—the radio network run by the State Department—and the Overseas Library Program. McCarthy also accused any number of government employees of being Communists, including such high-ranking officials as General George Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

    McCarthy’s downfall came about as the result of many factors, but perhaps two loom largest overall. First, in the face of relaxing cold war tensions, fewer Americans believed the Communist threat to justify the extreme measures advocated by McCarthyism.

    Second, McCarthy did not ease up on his attacks on the executive branch after Dwight Eisenhower, a member of his own party, became president in 1952. Although the Republicans had seen McCarthy as a valuable asset in constructing their tough-on-communism image, none of them wanted him attacking their own administration. On Capitol Hill, patience and tolerance for McCarthy was on the wane.

    The immediate cause of the senator’s fall from grace, however, was the so-called Army-McCarthy hearings. Held in the Senate in 1954, they concerned the accusation that Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s top aide, had abused his position by trying to win special treatment for another McCarthy aide, Private G. David Schine, who had been recently drafted. Army officials alleged that Cohn had threatened them with investigations of Communist infiltration were he not to get his way.

    McCarthy responded with the charge that it was the army that had acted improperly it had threatened to give Schine poor assignments unless already ongoing investigations were called off. The ensuing hearings were broadcast on television, and provided a testament to McCarthy’s declining influence.

    Forty million Americans watched or heard him, many for the first time, witnessing his vituperative personal attacks and merciless accusations. By the end of the year, Joseph McCarthy had been censured by the U.S. Senate. Though he remained in that body until his death two years later, the discredited McCarthy was never again an important political player.

    Americans had feared the spread and influence of communism long before the cold war. The first red scare and the Palmer Raids (1919�) took place almost immediately after the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities dates to 1938.

    Yet in the cold war era, the conspiratorial view of communism itself came to dominate U.S. anticommunist discourse. McCarthy is perhaps the best representative of this trend. Believing the United States to be engaged in a Manichean life-or-death struggle, the senator did not see communism as an alternative political philosophy.

    Instead, it was the banner of an opposing and nefarious force that would stop at nothing to rid the earth of Americanism. In this view, both the standards of evidentiary rigor and those of justice were dispensable luxuries. McCarthy’s approach is thus a textbook example of what historian Richard Hofstadter called, in his 1964 essay of the same name, “the paranoid style in American politics.”

    According to Hofstadter, the paranoid style can be distinguished not only by its conspiratorial tone, but by its absolutist framework of good and evil and its penchant for the accumulation of facts buttressed by a “curious leap of imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events.” In this, as in so many aspects, Senator Joe McCarthy serves as a perfect symbol for his time.

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