|The Destruction of Joe McCarthy
Report; Posted on: 2006-07-31 00:53:03
There are profound lessons for today's White
Americans in the saga of this misled hero.
by Scott Speidel, Florida State University
"Average Americans can do very little insofar as digging Communist
espionage agents out of our government is concerned. They must depend upon
those of us whom they send down here to man the watch-towers of the nation.
The thing that I think we must remember is that this is a war, which a
brutalitarian force has won to a greater extent than any brutalitarian force
has won a war in the history of the world before.
"You can talk about Communism as though it's something ten thousand miles
away. Let me say it's right here with us now. Unless we make sure that there
is no infiltration of our government, then just as certain as you sit there,
in the period of our lives you will see a Red world.
"Anyone who has followed the Communist conspiracy, even remotely, and can
add two and two, will tell you that there is no remote possibility of this
war which we are in today--and it's a war, a war which we've been losing--no
remote possibility of this ending except by victory or by death for this
were spoken 40 years ago by U.S. Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy,
Republican of Wisconsin, a man who since has been demonized unjustly. Since
McCarthy's time the subversion of our nation has proceeded steadily, and his
warning to us resonates more and more clearly as truth, now that death for
this civilization is in view.
McCarthy's fame as an anti-Communist began with a
speech he delivered on February 9, 1950, to the Republican
Women's Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, in which he said
that there were at least 57 known Communists in the U.S.
State Department, and that the State Department knew they
McCarthy's charge was credible, because
Truman's Secretary of State at the time, Dean Acheson (pictured, left), was
well known as a man sympathetic to
Communism and Communists.
As far back as the 1930s Acheson had worked as a lawyer on
behalf of Stalin's regime, prior to the diplomatic
recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States, and
recently he had ignored reports about the Communist Party
connections of his protege at the State Department, Alger
Hiss. Acheson also had been the chief U.S. advisor at the
Yalta Conference, in February 1945, which consigned eastern
Europe to Communist rule, and he presided over the drafting
of the United Nations Charter. In the State Department
Acheson fostered the careers of Communists and stifled the
careers of anti-Communists.
Furthermore, as Ohio's Republican Senator
said at the time, "Pro-Communist policies of the State
Department fully justify Joe McCarthy in his demand for an
Communist infiltration of the U.S. government
occurred on a grand scale during the reign of Franklin
Roosevelt (pictured, right). Congressman Martin Dies, Democrat of Texas and
chairman of the
House Committee on Un-American Activities
from its inception in 1938 until 1945, had warned Roosevelt
in 1940 that there were thousands of Communists and
pro-Communists on the government payroll, but FDR refused to
take action, saying:
I do not believe in Communism any more than you do,
but there is nothing wrong with the Communists in this
country. Several of the best friends I have are
Communists. . . .
I do not regard the Communists as any present or
future threat to our country; in fact, I look upon Russia
as our strongest ally in the years to come. As I told you
when you began your investigation, you should confine
yourself to Nazis and Fascists. While I do not believe in
Communism, Russia is far better off and the world is
safer under Communism than under the Czars.
the circumstances, McCarthy's charge that there
were 57 known Communists in the State Department seems very
McCarthy had been a maverick from the
beginning. In 1949
he had dared champion the cause of German prisoners of war
held in connection with the alleged "Malmédy
massacre." In truth, what had happened near the Belgian town
of Malmédy in December 1944 was unclear at the time,
part of what U.S. General Thomas T. Handy, who in 1949 was
the commander in chief of U.S. forces in Europe, called "a
confused, mobile, and desperate combat action." It is known
now that a number of American soldiers who had surrendered
there to the Germans were shortly thereafter killed in cross
fire when their captors, who were marching them to a rear
area, were engaged by other U.S. units. When their bodies
were found by U.S. forces afterward with their hands tied
behind their backs, however, it appeared that they might
have been deliberately killed.
After the war, Germans who had taken part in
at Malmédy were turned over to U.S. Army Colonel A.H.
Rosenfeld and his Jewish underlings for "interrogation." The
prisoners were arbitrarily reduced to civilian status so
that they would not be protected by the Geneva Convention,
and brutal torture was used to extract confessions. When
18-year-old prisoner Arvid Freimuth hanged himself after
repeated beatings rather than sign a "confession," the
prosecutors were permitted to use as "evidence" the unsigned
statement which they themselves had contrived.
McCarthy dared to speak against this
sanctioned lynching, when almost no one else had the courage
to do so. By fearlessly championing the underdogs, the
defeated and vilified Germans, and speaking out against the
actual atrocities committed by self-righteous aliens in
American uniform, the Senator demonstrated the rare moral
courage that later propelled him into the forefront of the
struggle against Communism.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by
Raymond Baldwin, Republican of Connecticut, was assigned to
investigate the charges of torture, but whitewashed them
instead. On July 26, 1949, Senator McCarthy withdrew in
disgust from the hearings and announced in a speech on the
Senate floor that two members of the Committee, Senator
Baldwin and Senator Estes Kefauver, Democrat of Tennessee,
had law partners among the Army interrogators they were
supposedly investigating. This was in several ways a preview
of things to come.
The Jews showed instant hostility toward
interfered with their campaign of vengeance against the
conquered Germans, and so they began turning their big guns
in the media against McCarthy: a December 1949 poll of news
correspondents covering the United States Senate already had
reporters branding McCarthy "the worst Senator" -- a high
When McCarthy had arrived in Washington as a
Senator in 1946, he had been invited to lunch by Secretary
of the Navy James Forrestal (pictured, left). McCarthy writes:
meeting Jim Forrestal I thought we were losing
to international Communism because of incompetence and
stupidity on the part of our planners. I mentioned that
to Forrestal. I shall forever remember his answer. He
said, "McCarthy, consistency has never been a mark of
stupidity. If they were merely stupid they would
occasionally make a mistake in our favor." This phrase
struck me so forcefully that I have often used it since.
Considering the destructive policies that
Washington, McCarthy concluded that to fight Communism
effectively it was not enough to denounce Communism in
general; anyone -- even a Communist -- could claim to oppose
Communism. The Senator decided that it was necessary to
identify those responsible for treasonous policies and then
accuse them on the basis of what they actually had done, not
on the basis of the ideas to which they paid lip service.
A special investigating subcommittee chaired
Millard Tydings, Democrat of Maryland, was set up
purportedly to investigate McCarthy's claim that Communists
and pro-Communists were being harbored in the State
Department. In reality, as Tydings himself admitted, the
purpose was to silence McCarthy. Tydings boasted, "Let me
have McCarthy for three days in public hearings, and he will
never show his face in the Senate again." Tydings' effort to
discredit the upstart patriot would be heavily aided by the
One of the reporters present at the hearings
Davis, a prominent radio commentator who had been head of
the Office of War Information (OWI). McCarthy noted:
Many of the [principals in the] cases I was about to
present had once been employees in the OWI under Davis
and then had moved into the State Department. As I
glanced at Davis I recalled that Stanislaw Mikolajczyk,
one of the anti-Communist leaders of Poland, had warned
the State Department, while Davis was head of the OWI,
that OWI broadcasts were "following the Communist line
consistently," and that the broadcasts "might well have
emanated from Moscow itself." There could be no doubt how
Davis would report the story. . . .
At one of the other tables I saw [left-wing,
muckraking columnist] Drew Pearson's men. I could not
help but remember that Pearson had employed a member of
the Communist Party, Andrew Older, to write Pearson's
stories on the House Committee on Un-American Activities
and that another one of Pearson's limited staff was David
Karr, who had previously worked for the Communist Party's
official publication, the Daily Worker. No doubt about
how Pearson would cover the story. . . .
As I waited for the chairman to open the hearing I,
of course, knew the left-wing elements of the press would
twist and distort the story to protect every Communist
whom I exposed, but frankly I had no conception of how
far the dishonest news coverage would go.
In the case of Owen Lattimore, the testimony
McCarthy's chief witness, ex-Communist Louis Budenz, was
widely misrepresented. Lattimore was a scholar on Far
Eastern affairs employed by the State Department as a
consultant; he had advised the State Department that Chinese
Communist leader Mao Tse-Tung was merely "a liberal agrarian
reformer" at a time when Washington was still unsure how to
react to Mao's efforts to overthrow the Chinese government.
In McCarthy's words:
[Budenz] . . . testified that . . . [Lattimore], who
had been employed by the government, consulted for years
by State Department officials on Far Eastern policy, and
looked to by newspapermen and magazine editors for news
on Far Eastern trends, had been a member of the Communist
newspapers and wire services so twisted Budenz's
testimony about Lattimore, however, that it was not clear to
most Americans that Lattimore had indeed been identified
positively as a Communist.
One honest reporter, Dave McConnell of the
Herald Tribune, wrote in the May 16, 1950, edition of his
now defunct paper that "you have to use a sieve to strain
out the bias in the McCarthy stories published in many
"Tail-gunner Joe," as McCarthy was nicknamed
press, was seen by many as a national hero. A Gallup poll
taken May 21, 1950, showed that among the general public he
had four supporters for every three detractors. In a later
Gallup poll, taken in January 1954, 50 per cent of the
public viewed him favorably, and 29 per cent viewed him
unfavorably. McCarthy (pictured, right) was the one man in Washington, D.C.,
who bucked the bipartisan pressure to be polite to America's
enemies and to "get along by going along." He was the one
man who took anti-Communism seriously and was willing to do
something about it.
At the time conservative writer Harold Lord
in the American Mercury:
McCarthy is where he is today because he satisfies
the deep national hunger for an affirmative man. In a
Washington of vacillating, irresolute,
pressure-group-cowed politicians, he stands out in sharp
relief as a man sure of himself. His unshaken
self-confidence is shown by the opponents he has tackled:
they have been Marshall, Acheson, Tydings, Conant -- men in
the full tide of their authority. And he has never lost a
major Washington fight. . . .
He sometimes gets too far out in front of public
opinion, but so far public opinion has always followed
him. . . .
Because McCarthy has been willing to act as the shock
absorber of the main stream of pro-Communist abuse, the
careers of all [other] anti-Communists have been made
easier. . . .
One far-reaching consequence of [McCarthy's fight]
has been its impact upon the American world of ideas. The
climate of American public discussion has been amazingly
cleared since McCarthy began to fight. . . . The long
grip on the nation's communications media exercised by
the literary Reds and Pinkos has been broken. . . .
is all very different, of course, from today's
popular conception, which was molded by the controlled
media. Little is said of McCarthy's popularity, which even
Eisenhower dared not challenge directly. Instead, we are led
to believe that McCarthy was a brutal tyrant who somehow
managed to run roughshod over everyone's civil liberties and
give the entire country a very bad case of claustrophobia
for several years, all of this as chairman of a Senate
Make no mistake about it, McCarthy did cause
discomfort to some people: to the alien subversives and
traitors whose ultimate goal was and still is the New World
Order. It was these people who, in their effort to silence
McCarthy, ironically characterized him as an enemy of free
speech. The First Amendment, of course, had been drafted
precisely to protect men like McCarthy, who dared to
identify treason in high places.
There were undoubtedly, however, some
Americans who agreed with McCarthy's aim of removing
Communists from government, but who found his method, with
all of its sensationalism and public-relations gimmickry,
distasteful. McCarthy's method was, as he himself explained,
a last resort:
I have followed the method of publicly exposing the
truth about men who, because of incompetence or treason,
were betraying this nation. Another method would be to
take the evidence to the President and ask him to
discharge those who were serving the Communist cause. A
third method would be to give the facts to the proper
Senate committee which had the power to hire
investigators and subpoena witnesses and records. The
second and third methods . . . were tried without
success. . . . The only method left to me was to present
the truth to the American people. This I did.
People who criticized McCarthy's public
merely as being in poor taste clearly did not appreciate the
gravity of the situation and the necessity for taking
action. Also it should be noted that McCarthy had not wanted
to read his original list of 57 subversives publicly, but
the Tydings Committee required it of him. According to the
Congressional Record of Feb 20, 1950, p. 2049, McCarthy
protested on the Senate floor:
I think . . . it would be improper to make the names
public until the appropriate Senate Committee can meet in
executive session and get them. . . . It might leave a
Unfortunately, "the wrong impression" was
the Tydings Committee wished to promote. In other words,
contrary to the reputation for "recklessness" that was
applied to him, McCarthy exercised his First Amendment right
with great care.
Like some resurrected Paul Revere or
it was he who sounded the alarm, who let the American people
know that their government had been subverted by alien
interests; and it was the shadow government of "globalists"
who wished to silence him, so that their power and their
pernicious influence would remain hidden from the American
Communism and international finance -- the
twin thrusts of Jewish power -- were both ill-served by the
attention McCarthy drew to the issues of loyalty and
In the 1952 elections the Republicans
houses of Congress and the Presidency, largely due to
McCarthy's influence. McCarthy became chairman of the
Senate's Government Operations Committee and its
Subcommittee on Investigations. The new President, however,
was a pet of the
New World Order clique, and he would
succeed where Truman had failed in discrediting McCarthy.
In the discrediting of McCarthy, there is no
there was a conspiracy at work. We know this because men who
were privy to the conspiracy later wrote books about it. The
activities of the conspirators were, of course, necessarily
subtle; Eisenhower (pictured, right) himself studiously avoided even
mentioning McCarthy's name in public, and the media coverage
was almost unbelievably biased. Thus, for the general
public, the arrangements which brought down McCarthy were a
mystery, though in essence they were very simple: McCarthy
was maneuvered into an awkward position, the major media
portrayed him as unfavorably as possible, and his colleagues
McCarthy's reputation was destroyed chiefly
by the feud
that two staffers on his Subcommittee on Investigations, Roy
Cohn and G. David Schine, conducted against the United
States Army, contrary to McCarthy's wishes.
pressure from influential Jewish columnist George
Sokolsky and the Jewish president of the Hearst Corporation,
Richard Berlin, both purported anti-Communists, McCarthy
announced on January 2, 1953, that 26-year-old Roy Cohn (pictured,left)
would be the chief counsel of the Investigations
Subcommittee. Cohn, the son of New York Supreme Court Judge
Albert Cohn, had been well served by his Jewish connections
in the past, having been hired as an assistant U.S. attorney
immediately after passing the New York bar examination. Cohn
himself later admitted that he was hired by McCarthy
primarily because he was a
There was a growing slander abroad in the land . . .
that McCarthy was a Jew-hater . . . and he wanted to
deflect it. I was the obvious answer, and the
alternative -- [Robert Kennedy,] the son of the well-known,
well-documented anti-Semite Joseph P. Kennedy, the former
pro-Hitler ambassador to the Court of St. James -- was the
last person McCarthy needed to head his committee.
It probably need not be stressed that the
were the source of this "slander" that McCarthy felt obliged
Thus, McCarthy was stuck with Cohn; privately
expressed the fear that if Cohn resigned for any reason the
charge of "anti-Semitism" immediately would be raised
against him again.
Furthermore, with most of the news media
against him, McCarthy was desperate for some favorable press
coverage. Illinois Republican Senator Everett Dirksen
commented, "Cohn was put on the Committee by the Hearst
press, and Joe doesn't dare lose that support."
who died of AIDS in 1986, was a
rumor of the perversion became widespread after Cohn had
brought another young Jew, G. David Schine, onto McCarthy's
staff. According to Cohn himself in his autobiography, Cohn
and Schine were then rumored to be "Jack and Jill." This
rumor was undoubtedly a great embarrassment to McCarthy,
since the controlled media had not yet succeeded in making
homosexuality fashionable, and homosexuals were among the
security risks to be investigated.
At Cohn's insistence, Schine was accepted as
"chief consultant" on Communism. Schine's credentials for
this position were that he had authored a pamphlet,
Definition of Communism, which his wealthy parents had
allowed him to distribute in their hotel chain. This
pamphlet gave incorrect dates for the Russian Revolution and
the founding of the Communist Party, confused Marx with
Lenin, Stalin with Trotsky, and Kerensky with Prince Lvov,
and got Lenin's name wrong. The Jewish millionaire-playboy
was thus highly qualified, in Cohn's view, to be a
McCarthy hoped that he could save himself
accusations of "anti-Semitism" with Roy Cohn, and if
necessary, with Dave Schine. But the day McCarthy accepted
these two Jews as his assistants was the day his downfall
As the son of a Jewish multi-millionaire,
avoided the draft for the Korean War by getting himself
classified 4-F. As soon as he became a staff member of
McCarthy's committee, however, at the instigation of
left-wing journalist Drew Pearson (pictured, below left) the Army
Schine 1-A and drafted him. Thus, the stage was set for Roy
Cohn to involve McCarthy in a dispute with the United States
It is clear that McCarthy was dragged into
against his will. Army lawyer John Adams relates:
Senator McCarthy spoke out quite freely about his
irritation over Schine. He told me that the individual is
of absolutely no help to the committee, was interested in
nothing but the photographers and getting his picture in
the papers, and that things had reached the point where
he was a complete pest. McCarthy stated to me quite
emphatically that he was anxious to see this individual
drafted, and . . . he hoped . . . we would send him as
far away as possible "to get him out of [his] hair." . .
. "Send him wherever you can, as far away as possible.
Korea is too close."
raised hell with the Army, first threatening revenge
for the drafting of Schine, then agitating for special
treatment for his putative boyfriend. John Adams stated in a
January 21, 1954, meeting in Attorney General Herbert
Brownell's office that demands for the names of Army
loyalty-board members usually were preceded by flare-ups
over the reassignment of Schine. McCarthy was not happy
about this behavior, and he privately complained that Cohn
was indeed carrying out a vendetta against the Army on
account of Schine.
McCarthy had instructed Adams on December 17,
having learned the extent of the interference Cohn and
Schine were causing for the commanding general of Fort Dix,
he wished the Army to discontinue all special treatment for
Schine. Subsequently, the alleged anti-Communist Jew,
columnist George Sokolsky, contacted Adams repeatedly,
continuing to urge special treatment for Schine. On February
12, 1954, Sokolsky went so far as to tell Adams that he,
Sokolsky, would "get them to drop all this stuff they are
planning for the Army [i.e., McCarthy's investigation of
Communist subversion in the Army]," if a special assignment
were arranged for Schine. It seemed that Sokolsky was more
concerned about the comfort and convenience of one fellow
Jew than about the national security of the United
States -- or he was deliberately exacerbating the animosity
between the Army and McCarthy.
Meanwhile, in late January 1954 a story in
the New York
Post featured Fort Dix recruits complaining that Schine
lived among them like a visiting dignitary -- and Joseph
McCarthy was taking the blame.
Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens said
that he was
wary about "discriminating against" Schine, because Schine
was a Jew. Likewise, McCarthy said that he was afraid to
fire Cohn, "because [I] might be accused of being
anti-Semitic." Here we have the Secretary of the Army and
the chairman of a Senate committee, both paralyzed by fear
of being called "anti-Semitic," allowing 26-year-old Roy
Cohn and the utterly inconsequential G. David Schine to walk
all over them.
It was not only the fact that McCarthy had
felt the wrath
of the Jews when he had spoken out against the barbarous
treatment of German prisoners five years earlier that made
him wary of offending them again. His investigations into
Communist subversion were turning up a vastly
disproportionate number of Jewish Communists, and he was
afraid that the Jews would believe he was hunting Jews
rather than Communists.
By using the threat of investigation as a
coerce the Army into giving special treatment to his friend
Schine, Cohn had tainted the legitimacy of McCarthy's
patriotic work. Cohn was creating exactly the impression of
reckless disregard for fairness and propriety that McCarthy
had wished to avoid.
McCarthy had apparently hoped that the
anti-Communist Jews with whom he dealt were what they
claimed to be. With their involvement, however, all his
efforts met with grief. If the Senator had taken account of
Jewish traits -- especially their bent for deception, which
goes far beyond anything encountered in the Gentile
world -- then perhaps he would have braved the charges of
"anti-Semitism" rather than tolerate Jews on his staff.
The anti-Communist credentials of Jewish
Sokolsky, for example, who had recommended Roy Cohn, were
invented rather late in life. In 1917, at the age of 24,
Sokolsky had gone to Russia with a large number of other
Jews, filled with ardor for the prospect of world Communism
and hoping to lend a hand to the Bolsheviks in fastening the
Communist yoke on the Russians. For a while he edited the
English-language Communist newspaper Daily News in
Petrograd; then he left for China to practice his
journalistic skills on behalf of the revolutionary leader
Sun Yat-sen, who was working to set up a Communist
government in China and was receiving aid from the Soviets.
In 1931, claiming disillusionment with the methods of
Bolshevism, he returned to the United States, where he used
As a right-wing columnist for the Hearst
Sokolsky was well-placed to accomplish much for the Jewish
obsession with the New World Order by misdirecting the
anti-Communist movement into blind alleys, false hopes, and
confusion -- and away from the truth. Considering these facts,
are we justified in believing his claim that he had
completely changed his ideals and in the 1950s was fervently
against what he had been fervently for earlier in Russia and
China? A clue may be provided by Sokolsky's 1935 book, We
Jews, in which he lamented the fact that Jews are not even
more cohesive than they are. Certainly, no race-conscious
Jew could have genuinely supported McCarthy's efforts to
root Communists out of positions of influence in American
life, since he would have understood that exposing Communism
meant exposing Jews.
Similarly, Roy Cohn, who called Sokolsky his
another member of the far left who claimed a miraculous
conversion: as late as 1949 he was openly calling
anti-Communism a "witch-hunt" and said that Alger Hiss was a
victim of a "right-wing conspiracy." Given the legendary
cohesiveness of the Jewish people and the Jewishness of
Communism, one is justified in viewing these overnight
conversions with suspicion.
There is more than Roy Cohn's youthful
leftist causes to make us suspicious of his motives: his
father Albert Cohn had been the first judge appointed by
Franklin Roosevelt after the latter became governor of New
York. Thus, the Cohns were firmly attached to the very
clique that had fostered what McCarthy called "twenty
It looks very much as if McCarthy, who wished
so much to
avoid crossing the Jews, allowed himself to be swindled in
the age-old game of
Good Jew/Bad Jew.
The man whom Eisenhower had appointed
Secretary of the
Army, Robert Stevens, head of the J.P. Stevens textiles
business, was staunchly anti-Communist, having witnessed the
pernicious influence of Communists in exacerbating labor
disputes. Stevens was even distrustful of New Deal
supporters. He was thus appointed not as a member of the New
World Order clique around Ike, but merely as a valuable (if
misguided) Republican booster. Stevens had apparently taken
Eisenhower's anti-Communist campaign rhetoric at face value.
Upon assuming office in February 1953,
a briefing on the Army's Loyalty and Security Program: "The
presentation should set forth what steps are to be taken to
prevent disloyal and subversive persons from infiltrating
the Army, and what steps have been taken to discover and
remove such persons who may have found their way into the
Army Establishment." So concerned was Stevens about
combatting subversion that he asked advice from J. Edgar
Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Finally, when Stevens heard that McCarthy was concerned
about security risks in the Army, he rushed a telegram to
him, offering his assistance in the investigation.
McCarthy's staff announced on September 10,
there was very serious evidence of espionage at Fort
Monmouth. The evidence was an extract of a report from J.
Edgar Hoover to the head of Army Intelligence. The document
mentioned 35 Fort Monmouth employees as security risks, most
of them Jews of Russian origin who had been in contact with
the atom-bomb spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Stevens
instructed the commanding general at Fort Monmouth:
"Cooperate! See to it that they interview anyone they wish
During the investigation at Fort Monmouth,
attention was diverted to nearby Camp Kilmer. This was the
case of the Jewish Communist Irving Peress. Peress, an Army
dentist who was proved to be not only a member but an
organizer of Communist groups, had sworn a false oath upon
receiving his officer's commission. Worse, when the matter
was exposed Peress was promoted and later given an honorable
discharge, thus escaping the jeopardy of a court-martial.
The Peress case was a tremendous embarrassment to the Army,
because it showed that security in the Army was a mere
formality which was easily circumvented.
McCarthy's confidential informant on the
Peress case was
General Ralph Zwicker. A hearing in New York City was
arranged, and General Zwicker was called to testify as to
the identity of the Pentagon official who had ordered
Peress' honorable discharge. On the very morning of the
hearing, however, Zwicker received an order from John Adams
not to reveal the official's name. McCarthy did all he could
to persuade Zwicker to talk in spite of the order, but he
Thereafter the press made a great fuss over
rough treatment of Zwicker and the "insult to the uniform."
It was alleged that McCarthy had without cause accused
Zwicker of shielding subversives.
Secretary Stevens decided not to allow
General Zwicker or
other Army officers to testify further. Says William Ewald,
a Department of Defense official at the time: "A cheer went
up: from anti-McCarthyites within the Administration itself,
from editorial writers far and wide, from liberals coast to
coast." Especially noteworthy was a telephone call to
Stevens from Marshall Plan administrator Paul Hoffman in
California -- at whose residence Eisenhower was then
vacationing. This congratulation was inferred to represent
the attitude of that champion McCarthy-hater, President Ike.
Eisenhower's friend Hoffman was married to Anna
Rosenberg, who had been Truman's Jewish Assistant Secretary
of Defense in 1950 and had been diligent in promoting
liberal programs in the Army and the other armed services.
She, more than anyone else, had forced full
integration on the services.
Unlike Ike, however, Secretary Stevens was
implacable foe of McCarthy and anti-Communism. Although he
thought Roy Cohn was awful, he said he saw McCarthy as a
"reasonable" man. In a conference with the majority members
of McCarthy's subcommittee, an agreement was reached and
Stevens signed a document that stated this accord. The
anti-McCarthy interpretation of this event has been that
Secretary Stevens did not understand what he was doing. More
likely, Stevens did not understand what Eisenhower was
doing. Nor did the American people understand!
Stevens said of the media's explosively
to his reconciliation with McCarthy, "I think I have been
absolutely crucified. . . ." Furthermore, he showed
naiveté by saying that he thought the press had
"misunderstood" the agreement.
Eisenhower decided to have Secretary Stevens
administrative error" and renege on the agreement. A
repudiation of Stevens' agreement with McCarthy was
composed, and Stevens was made to read it publicly.
Meanwhile, President Eisenhower's staff,
knowledge, had instructed Stevens' subordinate John Adams to
compile a written record of Cohn's and Schine's behavior.
Adams, a holdover from the Truman administration, apparently
was considered more politically reliable than the
On March 8, 1954, when Secretary Stevens was
the record of improper pressure by Cohn and Schine (which
John Adams had leaked to the press a few days earlier) he
said, "I personally think that anything in that line would
prove to be very much exaggerated. . . . I am the Secretary,
and I have had some talks with the committee and the
chairman . . . and by and large as far as the treatment of
me is concerned, I have no personal complaints . . . ."
On March 10, although Stevens had not even
been aware of
the Schine chronology two days earlier, he was pressured
into approving a version heavily "revised" by Defense
Department attorney Struve Hensel. It was called the
"Stevens-Adams chronology," although Stevens had only just
learned of it. Under pressure, the Secretary of the Army was
now lending his name to a document that he had said would be
"very much exaggerated."
In late April 1954 the Army-McCarthy hearings
Army had accused McCarthy and Roy Cohn of using improper
pressure, evidence of this being the so-called
"Stevens-Adams chronology." McCarthy counter-charged that
the Army was trying to discredit his committee and stop its
investigation of the Army.
During the hearings Stevens was the Army's
witness." He "stonewalled" the subcommittee, giving vague,
unresponsive, and often self-contradictory testimony. It
became clear to McCarthy that Stevens was acting under
orders from Eisenhower's staff. The Army's case, however,
already had been blown sky-high, and McCarthy essentially
vindicated, when Senator Everett Dirksen, a member of the
McCarthy Subcommittee, testified that the Army's counsel
John Adams and Eisenhower's administrative assistant Gerald
Morgan had approached him on January 22, 1954, seeking to
stifle part of McCarthy's investigation of the Army. Dirksen
testified that Adams had mentioned the Army's file on Cohn
and Schine, dropping a "hint" that these files might be very
damaging if they were "issued and ventilated on the front
pages" of newspapers.
At this point, John Adams, not wishing to be
scapegoat for Eisenhower, and, furthermore, living under the
possibility of a prosecution for perjury, revealed that he
had been told to compile the chronology on Cohn and Schine
by members of Eisenhower's staff in a secret meeting in the
Attorney General's office the day before approaching
The White House was now clearly implicated in
conspiracy to shield subversion in the government. On May 17
Eisenhower, in an obvious attempt to prevent his own role
from being investigated further, issued what became known as
the "iron curtain" order. Eisenhower claimed that it was a
Constitutional principle that the President could forbid his
subordinates from revealing any information to the Congress.
May 27, after several more days of vague,
unresponsive, and sometimes conflicting testimony from
Stevens, McCarthy responded in exasperation to Eisenhower's
gag order: "The oath which every person in this government
takes, to protect and defend the country against all
enemies, foreign and domestic, that oath towers far above
any presidential security directive." He urged federal
employees to come forward with any information they might
have about corruption and subversion in government.
The next day Eisenhower had his press
secretary convey to
the media a statement that likened McCarthy to Hitler: a
comparison that was not meant to flatter McCarthy. Edward R.
Murrow and other media figures took their cue and began
echoing that line.
McCarthy, however, was expressing essentially
idea which Theodore Roosevelt had expressed half a century
earlier, when the latter said:
It is patriotic to support [the President] insofar as
he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not
to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or
otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. .
. . In any event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the
truth--whether about the President or anyone else.
And of course, the truth was exactly what Ike
this not the Eisenhower who had carried out Operation
Keelhaul after the Second World War, in which anti-Communist
Russians, Hungarians, and others were forcibly repatriated
to a certain death under Communism? Was this not the
Eisenhower who deliberately starved to death over a million
German prisoners of war? And was this not
Eisenhower who later sent paratroopers into Little Rock to
enforce racial integration with bayonets?
Regardless of the legal result, biased media
made the Army-McCarthy hearings a propaganda victory for the
pro-Communists. Army counsel Joseph Welch (pictured, right), through
and histrionics, managed to convince a large portion of the
public that a few peripheral issues he raised during the
hearings were serious embarrassments to McCarthy.
For example, Welch insisted for the
that part of an FBI report listing subversives at Fort
Monmouth was "a carbon copy of precisely nothing" and "a
perfect phoney," even though FBI Director Hoover said that
he had written it. Similarly, Welch dramatically accused
McCarthy of introducing a "doctored" photograph into
evidence: it was a quite genuine photograph, which merely
had been cropped and enlarged for the sake of clarity. The
media played up Welch's accusations and ignored McCarthy's
was much more an
actor than a lawyer: later, in
1959, he starred in a major
Hollywood production, Anatomy of
a Murder, alongside Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick. In any
event, during the Army-McCarthy hearings the Senate hearing
room was his stage, and he played his role to the hilt. When
McCarthy pointed out that a member of Welch's own law firm,
Fred Fischer, had been a member of the National Lawyers'
Guild, an organization cited as a Communist front by the
Attorney General, Welch waxed maudlin and sobbed the famous
line, "Have you no sense of decency at long last?" Later,
outside the hearing room, Welch wept again for the benefit
of the news photographers.*
As reported by the media, Welch was a man of
humanity who was shocked that McCarthy would be so ignoble
as to attempt to ruin Fischer's career with his accusation,
while McCarthy was a heel for even raising the matter. The
fact that McCarthy's charge was perfectly accurate seemed to
make no difference at all to the media.
And so it was with other episodes in the
contemporary observer, Harold Varney, noted in the American
Unfortunately, the anti-McCarthy press was not honest
enough to admit publicly that the Senator had been
vindicated. The smearers continued to parrot the smears,
just as if the disproof were not before the country.
The masters of the controlled media were
"get" McCarthy, and they did. They had not directed as much
hatred on any public figure since Adolf Hitler.
By September many of his supporters in the
sensitive to the direction of the political wind, had thrown
in the towel. McCarthy's Senate colleagues stripped him of
his committee chair in November. On December 2, 1954, the
Senate voted 67-22 to condemn him for "conduct contrary to
Senatorial traditions." The condemnation permanently ended
his effectiveness as a legislator.
* * *
(*footnote: Many believe that Welch
set up McCarthy through his breaking of a pre-hearing agreement and
threatening to expose Cohn and Schine as homosexuals. According to writer
The quote, "Have you no sense of decency,
sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" was asked of the
notorious Senator Joe McCarthy by Attorney Joseph Welch at the climactic
moment of the Army-McCarthy Hearings, a 55-day spectacle that riveted the
attention of the nation in the spring of 1954.
A grandfatherly, bespectacled man with a
fondness for neckties, Walpole's Welch was the lead counsel for the Army
during the hearings, which aired live on the ABC and DuMont networks.
Welch's memorable excoriation of McCarthy
came as the bullet point of a tearful and impassioned speech in which he
blasted McCarthy for his "cruelty and recklessness."
It was a moment that would forever alter the lives of both men....
Welch, an attorney at the Boston law firm
of Hale and Dorr, was hired to represent the Army....
The penultimate confrontation with the
Wisconsin senator came on June 9, while Welch was needling Cohn in cross
examination about the contention that there were 130 known Communists
working in Army labs throughout the country.
After stewing for a while in the
background, McCarthy finally interjects after Welch playfully asks Cohn
why he doesn't just have the FBI get all of the Communists out of the Army
McCarthy tells Welch that one of his
co-workers at Hale and Dorr, "a young man named Fischer," had belonged for
three or four years to the National Lawyers Guild, an organization that
was named "years and years" ago as the legal bulwark of the Communist
Since Welch was so interested in ferreting
out Communists, he should be made aware of the fact that Fischer was a
member of his own firm, McCarthy said.
Welch's response was brutally effective.
Welch: 'Until this moment, Senator,
I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred
Fischer is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my
firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. When I
decided to work for this committee, I asked Jim St. Clair, who sits on my
right, to be my first assistant. I said to Jim, "Pick somebody in the firm
to work under you that you would like." He chose Fred Fischer, and they
came down on an afternoon plane.
That night, when we had taken a little stab at trying to see what the case
was about, Fred Fisher and Jim St. Clair and I went to dinner together. I
then said to these two young men, "Boys, I don't know anything about you,
except I've always liked you, but if there's anything funny in the life of
either one of you that would hurt anybody in this case, you speak up
'And Fred Fisher said, "Mr. Welch, when I
was in the law school, and for a period of months after, I belonged to the
Lawyers Guild," as you have suggested, Senator.
'He went on to say, "I am Secretary of the
Young Republican's League in Newton with the son of [the] Massachusetts
governor, and I have the respect and admiration of my community, and I'm
sure I have the respect and admiration of the twenty-five lawyers or so in
Hale & Dorr."
'And I said, "Fred I just don't think I'm
going to ask you to work on the case. If I do, one of these days that will
come out, and go over national television and it will just hurt like the
dickens." And so, Senator, I asked him to go back to Boston.
Little did I dream you could be so reckless
and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad...It is, I regret to say,
equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted
by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I
would do so.
'I like to think I'm a gentle man, but your
forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.'
McCarthy: 'Mr. Chairman, may I say
that Mr. Welch talks about this being cruel and reckless. He was just
baiting; he has been baiting Mr. Cohn here for hours, requesting that Mr.
Cohn before sundown get out of any department of the government anyone who
is serving the Communist cause. Now, I just give this man's record and I
want to say, Mr. Welch, that it had been labeled long before he became a
member, as early as 1944.'
Welch: 'Senator, may we not drop
this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. And Mr. Cohn nods his head
at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn?'
Cohn: 'No, sir.'
Welch: 'I meant to do you no
personal injury, and if I did, I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate
this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of
decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?'
Welch's stirring condemnation was the
beginning of the end for McCarthy, who would be censured by the Senate
later that year.
Following his censure McCarthy returned
home to Wisconsin, where he died of complications from alcoholism in 1957.
He was only 48.
Welch, on the other hand, found himself a
national celebrity. His exposure of McCarthy's bluster earned him high
praise from the media and various civic organizations and his stirring
speech secured him a permanent place in the annals of history.
...While there is little question of the
effectiveness of Welch's condemnation, recent evidence has suggested that
it may not have been as spontaneous as it seemed to those who watched it
unfold live on the air.
A number of historians now believe that
McCarthy may have blundered his way into a carefully planned trap.
One of the strongest advocates of this
theory is Nicholas von Hoffman, who describes the encounter from Cohn's
perspective in Citizen Cohn (The Life and Times of Roy Cohn.
Doubleday). Von Hoffman writes that despite the animosity between the two
parties, Welch and McCarthy agreed before the trial that several areas
would be off limits.
Welch agreed that he would not mention
Cohn's avoidance of the draft during World War II. In return, McCarthy's
camp agreed that they would not bring up Fischer's membership in the
Von Hoffman and several other sources
suggest that the agreement also extended to Cohn's sexual orientation.
Though he denied it to his dying day, Cohn was widely known as a
homosexual, especially to the Washington insiders that packed the hearing
room each day.
According to several sources, it is
possible that Welch had intentionally provoked McCarthy earlier in his
cross examination by showing Cohn a picture that had been doctored by the
McCarthy camp prior to being submitted as evidence.
After Cohn offers no explanation for how
the altered picture came to be, Welch playfully asks him if it might have
been created by a pixie. McCarthy angrily jumps in.
McCarthy: 'Will the counsel for my
benefit define -- I think he might be an expert on that -- what a pixie
Welch: 'Yes, I should say, Senator,
that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy. Shall I proceed, sir? Have I
At this point, according to sources, the
room erupted in laughter. It was a dig at Cohn's expense, but it wasn't a
direct violation of the agreement, a subtle point that may have been lost
Von Hoffman quotes from Michael Straight,
who wrote about the moment in the New Republic.
"As law the comment was improper; as humor
it was unjust; as drama it was beyond anything that the theatre could
conceive or reproduce."
Was this dig, and Welch's subsequent
needling about getting all the Communists out by sundown, designed to lure
McCarthy into making a foolish attack on Fischer?
There seems to be some legitimacy to this
argument, especially when one considers the way that McCarthy later
McCarthy: 'Mr. Chairman, may I say
that Mr. Welch talks about this being cruel and reckless. He was just
baiting; he has been baiting Mr. Cohn here for hours...'
Cohn, a talented if unscrupulous lawyer in
his own right, is smart enough not to respond to Welch's thrust and later
tries to dissuade McCarthy from pursuing his inquiry into Fischer, though
it is to no avail.
Welch: 'Senator, may we not drop
this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. And Mr. Cohn nods his head
at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn?'
Cohn: 'No, sir.'
Yet McCarthy insists on pursuing the issue,
sealing his own fate at the hands of Welch's eloquence.
Without asking Welch himself, it's
difficult to know how much of his speech was real and how much was part of
a carefully designed plan. This anecdote recounted by von Hoffman seems to
suggest that it was a bit of both.
"Welch had tears in his eyes as he
delivered the last line; they were rolling down his cheeks as he left the
center area; he passed a young reporter named John Newhouse who had been
late and had to accept standing room by the door. As Welch went by, tears
still coursing, he looked at Newhouse and winked.")
Source: Author • Printed from National
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