By the way, it took McCarthy some six hours to make that February 20th speech because of harassment by hostile Senators, four of whom -- Scott Lucas, Brien McMahon, Garrett Withers, and Herbert Lehman -- interrupted him a total of 123 times. It should also be noted that McCarthy was not indicting the entire State Department. He said that "the vast majority of the employees of the State Department are loyal" and that he was only after the ones who had demonstrated a loyalty to the Soviet Union or to the Communist Party.
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.
Oh, there was a "reign of terror" in the early Fifties, but it was conducted Joe McCarthy, not by him. Those who were not afraid to denounce McCarthy week in and week out included the , the , , , Walter Lippmann, the Alsop brothers, Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, the cartoonist Herblock, Edward R. Murrow, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, and liberals from all walks of life. Reign of terror? During one 18-month period, the University of Wisconsin invited Eleanor Roosevelt, Norman Cousins, Owen Lattimore, and James Carey -- all bitter anti-McCarthyites -- to warn the students of McCarthy's reign of terror.
A. This is one of two or three big lies that the Left continues to spread about McCarthy. The average American did not fear McCarthy; in fact the Gallup Poll reported in 1954 that the Senator was fourth on its list of most admired men. The only people terrorized by McCarthy were those who had something subversive to hide in their past and were afraid that they might eventually be exposed.
The end came on May 2, 1957 in Bethesda Naval Hospital. Thousands of people viewed the body in Washington, and McCarthy was the first Senator in 17 years to have funeral services in the Senate chamber. More than 30,000 Wisconsinites filed through St. Mary's Church in the Senator's hometown of Appleton to pay their last respects to him. Three Senators -- George Malone, William Jenner, and Herman Welker -- had flown from Washington to Appleton on the plane carrying McCarthy's casket. "They had gone this far with Joe McCarthy," said William Rusher. "They would go the rest of the way."
As McCarthy raged on, the perils of supporting him became apparent to all but his most rabid admirers. In 1954, Whittaker Chambers, a revered figure in conservative circles, expressed his concerns in a prophetic letter to William F. Buckley Jr. “None of us are his enemies,” Chambers wrote, “but all of us ... have slowly come to question his judgment and to fear acutely that his flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies and distortions ... 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 ... discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.”
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.
During a speech in Milwaukee in 1952, Senator McCarthy dated the public phase of his fight against Communists to May 22, 1949, the night that former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal was found dead on the ground outside Bethesda Naval Hospital. "The Communists hounded Forrestal to his death," said McCarthy. "They killed him just as definitely as if they had thrown him from that sixteenth-story window in Bethesda Naval Hospital." He said that "while I am not a sentimental man, I was touched deeply and left numb by the news of Forrestal's murder. But I was affected much more deeply when I heard of the Communist celebration when they heard of Forrestal's murder. On that night, I dedicated part of this fight to Jim Forrestal."
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.
Murrow: And upon what meat doth Senator McCarthy feed? Two of the staples of his diet are the investigation, protected by immunity, and the half-truth. We herewith submit samples of both.
This remarkable fantasy, playing upon the deepest fears of right-wing Republicans, ignores the actual United States foreign policy that gave billions of dollars in aid to Chiang, fought a brutal war in Korea against two Communist nations, propped up an anti-Communist regime in Vietnam at the cost of 58,000 American lives and refused for three decades to recognize the government of Mao. Most historians today view the “loss” of China for what it was: a futile American attempt to aid a corrupt and unpopular regime. And most see Truman — the key bogeyman of the McCarthyites — as a tough anti-Communist who protected constitutional liberties at home and American interests abroad.
Thus, Joe McCarthy was receptive in the fall of 1949 when three men brought to his office a 100-page FBI report alleging extensive Communist penetration of the State Department. The trio had asked three other Senators to awaken the American people to this dangerous situation, but only McCarthy was willing to take on this volatile project.