Sen. Joseph McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 known communist agents working in the US State Department. McCarthy said that the country faced a threat from “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man”. McCarthy is reelected as Senator and worked for the next four years to root out the communist menace he said existed in government, entertainment industry and education.
McCarthyism- The use of unproven accusations to label someone as a communist.
McCarthy’s favorite targets were writers, actors and producers The Democratic Party’s association with liberal and reform politics made it vulnerable to being called “soft on communism”. In 1946, the Republican Party proclaimed that Americans had the choice between communism and Republicanism.
To Far… McCarthy never proved his conspiracy charges. Not a single conspirator was found. His support waned as his accusations proved to be empty. McCarthy finally reached too far when he attacked the U.S. Army for sheltering communists. Resulted in a nationally televised Senate investigation Exposed on national TV as a reckless bully. McCarthy shouted to a general: “You are a disgrace to the uniform. You’re shielding communist conspirators…You’re not fit to be an officer. You’re ignorant”.
“Until this moment, Senator, I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have You no sense of decency, Sir, at long last? Have you no decency?” - Joseph N. Welch, Chief Attorney for the Army
The End of McCarthy Finally after disgracing generals, congressmen and even President Eisenhower, the senate passed a vote of censure against McCarthy in 1954. He died of liver failure in 1957.
Affects of McCarthyism People were blacklisted They were fired from their job in the government because of Communist associations. Some lost their jobs even though they were innocent and were not in the Communist party.
Key Points 1.Thousands lost their job, reputations and lives were destroyed 2.McCarthyism is a term for the widespread accusations and investigations of suspected Communist activities in the U.S. during the 1950’s 3.McCarthyism was based on Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy’s idea. 4.McCarthy accused people of being communists sympathizers and were unable to continue working. Some had their passports taken away or jailed for refusing to give the names of other communists 5.Some people praised him as a patriot but others condemned him for publicly accusing people of disloyalty without sufficient evidence