1954 McCarthy Hearing - History

1954 McCarthy Hearing - History


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McCarthy in the center

Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed to uncover Soviet spies in all areas of the government. Nearly everyone was terrorized of him until he started accusing the US Army, that was a step to far and resulted in his downfall.


The actions of Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin led Americans to coin the term, "McCarthyism." McCarthy regularly claimed that he had uncovered Communist agents. In February 1950, at a Washington press conference, he waved sheets of paper declaring that he had discovered 205 communist agents in the State Department. He was soon accusing target after target of communism and creating an atmosphere of paranoia in Washington.

While many disagreed with McCarthy, few dared to oppose him. In 1953, his attention to the Voice of America and the United States Information Agency forced the removal, and sometimes the burning of books, from U.S.I.A. library shelves. Finally, in 1954, McCarthy took on the US Army, claiming that the army was protecting suspected communists.

The McCarthy Army hearings helped to end the senator's career. They were the first of the hearings to be televised, and Americans who watched McCarthy in action from their living rooms were shocked. Furthermore, McCarthy's virulent attacks on the US Army finally convinced President Eisenhower to take action against the senator.


'Have You No Sense Of Decency?' When Joseph Welch Owned Joe McCarthy in 1954

In 1954, Joseph Welch took on Senator Joseph McCarthy -- and won. With just a few clear words, Welch gave voice to growing anti-McCarthy sentiment. McCarthy, who'd risen to prominence with an anti-communist "witch hunt" that became known as McCarthyism, had trained his eye on the U.S. Army. In hearings known as the Army-McCarthy hearings, the Senator continued his usual scare-mongering, career-wrecking accusations, and Welch, the Army's chief legal representative, was fed up. "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" Welch asked. "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"


The Censure Case of Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (1954)

Background
On April 22, 1954, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Government Operations Committee, chaired by Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI), opened hearings into aspects of security in the United States Army. McCarthy had temporarily stepped aside as committee chairman after the army charged him with seeking special treatment for a former staff member, and the committee decided to look into that complaint as well. Still, the Wisconsin senator continued to play an active role in the hearings, with power to cross examine witnesses. The Army-McCarthy hearings, fully covered on national television, showed McCarthy in an increasingly unattractive light, as he badgered witnesses while ignoring parliamentary procedures and the rules of common courtesy. By the time the hearings ended in June, he had greatly damaged his image with the American people.

Joseph McCarthy had appeared invincible when investigated by a Senate subcommittee in 1952, but by 1954 he had finally gone too far, convincing his Senate colleagues that his power must be curtailed.

Statement of the Case
On July 30, 1954, Ralph Flanders (R-VT) introduced a resolution calling for the censure of a colleague who had dominated the American press and the United States Senate for the past four years. Flanders declared that Joseph McCarthy's conduct as chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations ran "contrary to senatorial traditions" and brought the whole body into disrepute. He therefore called on his colleagues to condemn McCarthy's behavior. Earlier, on June 11, Flanders had offered a resolution to strip McCarthy of his chairmanships, but consultation with other senators had indicated that censure would be easier to achieve, since many members objected to undercutting the seniority system of choosing committee chairmen.

In discussing the Flanders resolution, the Senate demonstrated that although weary of McCarthy's embarrassing antics, it wished to conduct the inquiry in an orderly fashion. In general, McCarthy's Republican colleagues did not attempt to defend his actions but focused instead on procedural concerns, as senators added 46 specific charges of misconduct to the original censure resolution. On August 2, the Senate decided to refer the matter to a bipartisan select committee, whose members were notable for their impeccable reputations and legal expertise, and asked for a report before the end of the 83rd Congress in late 1954. The group of three Republicans and three Democrats, led by Chairman Arthur V. Watkins (R-UT), included three former judges&mdashWatkins, John Stennis (D-MS), and Sam Ervin (D-NC) two former governors&mdashEdwin Johnson (D-CO) and Frank Carlson (R-KS) and a newspaper publisher and editor&mdashFrancis Case (R-SD). Only Joseph McCarthy complained about the composition of the panel.

Response of the Senate
The select committee recognized that the few previous censure cases had dealt with specific incidents of unacceptable action, rather than a whole pattern of behavior over a period of years as in the McCarthy case. Anxious to restore the sense of dignity so sorely absent in the recent army hearings, the committee plotted each move with care. It agreed to exclude television cameras from the hearings, in order to foster a judicial atmosphere and avoid a repetition of the unseemly show presented to the public by the recent debacle with McCarthy and the military. Because the hearings would be judicial in form rather than adversarial, the committee would not call Flanders and other supporters of censure as witnesses, thus offering McCarthy no targets for personal attacks. He would, however, have the right to be present and be represented by counsel, although only one individual&mdasheither McCarthy or his attorney&mdashwould be permitted to conduct questioning or cross-examination on a given subject. McCarthy was also allowed to make an opening statement.

After reviewing the 46 counts of misconduct, the committee reduced the charges to five categories: "contempt of the Senate or a senatorial committee" encouraging federal government employees to violate the law by providing him with classified materials "receipt or use of confidential or classified document" abuse of Senate colleagues and abuse of Brigadier General Ralph W. Zwicker during the army hearings. Because each of these charges was based on the massive collection of documents already at the committee's disposal, including the material from the 1952 investigation by the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, very few witnesses needed to be called.

The hearings were held after the Senate recessed to allow members to campaign for the November election, opening on August 31, 1954, and continuing through September 13. The committee soon felt the full thrust of McCarthy's oratorical attack, but Chairman Watkins exercised strict control and ruled many of McCarthy's interruptions and diversions out of order. Unmoved by the Wisconsin senator's objections, the committee completed the hearings and set about drafting its report, which it released to the press on September 27 (although it was not officially printed until the Senate reconvened on November 8).

The select committee unanimously recommended that Joseph McCarthy be censured for his actions in two of the five categories: (1) his refusal to appear before the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections to answer questions about his personal character, and his general obstruction to the work of the panel during its investigation of him in 1951 and 1952 and (2) his conduct on February 18, 1954, when he publicly abused and defamed General Zwicker during his appearance before the army hearings. The committee also strongly deplored McCarthy's actions in the other three categories as improper and irresponsible but determined that they did not "constitute a basis for censure."

On November 8, 1954, as the Senate convened in a rare post-election (&ldquolame duck&rdquo) session to deal with the McCarthy case, a lengthy and tangled debate developed. McCarthy attacked the individual members of the committee and its work so fiercely that each senator found it necessary to counter his assault with legal arguments. To keep the discussion as bipartisan as possible, Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat-TX) urged Democratic liberals to remain quiet and allow moderate and conservative Republicans to carry the fight against McCarthy.

Those who defended Joseph McCarthy and sought to defeat the recommendation argued that censure would impose an unwise code of conduct for the future&mdashthat McCarthy should not be censured for his behavior in a previous Congress, and that a censure vote would interfere with the guarantees of free speech. As he warmed to the fight, McCarthy labeled the select committee the "unwitting handmaiden of the Communist Party," attacked Arthur Watkins as "cowardly," and referred to the entire proceeding as a "lynch party." Chairman Watkins responded with an emotional speech about the dignity of the Senate that brought cheers from the galleries.

When McCarthy entered the hospital with an elbow injury, the Senate recessed for 10 days until he could again be present. Finally, on December 2, 1954, after three more days of debate, the Senate concluded the case and adjourned for the year. Exchanging the count relating to General Zwicker for one regarding his behavior to the Watkins committee, the Senate, on a vote of 67 to 22, censured Joseph McCarthy "for his non-cooperation with and abuse of the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections . . . in 1952" and "for abuse of the Select Committee to Study Censure" of 1954.

After four years of nearly unchallenged political power, Joseph McCarthy fell before the demand of the Senate that its members conform to the body's rules of comity and civility.

Conclusion
Many observers believed that the Watkins Committee really wanted to avoid the unpleasantness of censure and had taken every measure possible to accommodate McCarthy, but his raucous demeanor and attacks on the committee members finally pressed them too far. Even so, the committee based its recommendations on McCarthy's violation of Senate behavioral norms and took no position on his anticommunist crusade.

McCarthy tried to appear unaffected by the censure, but it became apparent that the Senate vote had robbed him of his power and status. As his political fortunes waned, so did his health. He died in 1957.

Source: Adapted from Anne M. Butler and Wendy Wolff. United States Senate Election, Expulsion, and Censure Cases, 1793-1990. S. Doc. 103-33. Washington, GPO, 1995.


Army-McCarthy Hearings

By 1953, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy had become one of America's best-known politicians through his campaigns to uncover subversives in government operations. His attacks on the U.S. Army in the fall of 1953 led to the first televised hearings in U.S. history, the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954. The American public watched McCarthy live in action, and they didn't much care for what they saw. Popular approval for McCarthy eroded during the hearings and his eventual fall from power became just a matter of time. In the fall of 1953, McCarthy conducted an investigation of the Army Signal Corps. His announced intent was to locate an alleged espionage ring, but he turned up nothing. However, McCarthy’s treatment of General Ralph W. Zwicker during that investigation angered many. McCarthy insulted Zwicker's intelligence and commented that he was not fit to wear his uniform. On March 9, 1954, CBS television broadcast Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now program, which was an attack on McCarthy and his methods. Subsequently, the Army 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 not to expose communists within its ranks. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations decided to hold hearings that became known as the Army-McCarthy hearings, televised from the Senate Caucus Room. McCarthy relinquished his chairmanship position to Republican Karl Mundt from South Dakota so that the hearings could commence. Both sides of that dispute aired on national television between April 22 and June 17, 1954, for 188 hours of broadcast time in front of 22 million viewers. 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 reached their moment of greatest drama, when Point of Order.


1954 McCarthy Hearing - History

Today in 1954, what came to be known as the Army-McCarthy hearings began in Washington, DC. The hearings are important to us today because they were the first Congressional hearings to be televised from beginning to end and they marked the beginning of the demise of Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, the man who lent his name to the term "McCarthyism".

By 1950, the Cold War was well under way. In the United States, talk of potential Soviet domination in Europe and elsewhere was constant and pervasive. Thus was the mindset of the nation when, in February 1950, Senator McCarthy charged that there were over 200 known communists working in the US State Department. The accusation shook the nation and thrust McCarthy to the center of the national stage. Over the next four years, he made many more such accusations against groups and individuals. While some of the people he accused of being communists were probably guilty of the charge, his methods and manner were crude and sloppy. But he was useful to the Republican Party as long as a Democrat, in this case Harry Truman, was in the White House.

The elections of November, 1952 brought Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, to the Oval Office. McCarthy's accusations, once useful, were now an embarrassment. Despite this, and despite advice to the contrary, the Senator prepared a new investigation, this time aimed at the Army. The incident that prompted the investigation was the drafting of a McCarthy consultant, David Schine, into the Army in November, 1953. It's important to keep in mind that an active military draft existed in the United States from the 1940 until 1973, so it was not at all unusual for an adult male of draft age to be called up for duty. What made Schine different was that he work for McCarthy.

Roy Cohn, McCarthy's chief counsel, contacted personnel throughout the Army chain of command in an attempt to secure Schine what would later be called "special privileges". In March, 1954, the Army released a document which chronicled Cohn's actions on behalf of Schine, a move that caused McCarthy to respond by claiming that Schine was being held hostage by the military so as to prevent his committee from investigating communists in the ranks. In order to break the deadlock between the Army and McCarthy, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which was chaired by McCarthy, voted to investigate. They also agreed to something that McCarthy would later regret: TV cameras would be allowed into the hearing. So he could be both a contestant and a witness, McCarthy relinquished the chairmanship of the committee to Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota.

The hearings lasted 36 days. Two of the four television networks in existence in 1954 covered every moment, totaling more than 188 hours. It didn't take long for the American people to become familiar with the main characters of the political play. There was Senator McCarthy, who came across as boorish and disorganized and his counsel Roy Cohn, who often looked tired. On the other side was Joseph Welch, a Boston attorney hired by the Army to serve as that branch's special counsel. Welch was from a different era he was calm, disarming, even fatherly. He only lost his composure one time during the hearings, that being on June 9, 1954 when McCarthy insinuated that one of the lawyers working at Welch's legal firm was a communist sympathizer. Welch defended the young man with a monologue nearly six minutes long, ending in these famous lines:

"Until this moment, senator, I think I never gauged your cruelty or recklessness. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Even though the hearing continued, for the American people it ended that day in June. The Army hearings ended a few weeks later with no grand pronouncements and no stunning conclusions. No charges were filed against anyone in the Army, either soldier or civilian. McCarthy had struck out for the last time. In December, 1954 the Senate voted to censure him for his conduct while his career continued, his power was gone. Joseph McCarthy died from the complications of alcoholism on May 2, 1957.


It’s one of the most well-known – and written about chapters in American political history. Less covered, is the strong Massachusetts connection.

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy didn’t create the post WWII red scare in America, but he did ride it to power.

Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Oshinsky, author of “A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy” says that McCarthy came to the issue in 1950 in completely political terms.

By 1954 McCarthy had fully come to believe in the Communist conspiracy. That this was no game to him anymore.

In ‘53, McCarthy had been named chair of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. And boy did he investigate. More than 150 hearings in just two years – seeking to ferret our spies and subversives in government agencies. But when an increasingly brash and blustering McCarthy went after the US Army, president Eisenhower, a member of McCarthy’s own party who had largely let McCarthy be, would have none of it.

What Eisenhower did in a stroke of genius is demand that these hearings be televised. Because what Eisenhower knew, viscerally, is that McCarthy would hang himself on television.

What the Army needed was a shepherd to lead the sheep to slaughter.

“You kind of need a folksy attorney, someone Americans can really identify with, someone who seems to have no dog in the fight. Someone who just wants to get at the truth and expose hypocrisy,” Oshinsky says.

The Army found their man in Iowa-born, Harvard educated, long-time Boston attorney Joseph Nye Welch. Oshinsky says Welch would describe himself as just a country bumpkin lawyer who got lucky.

“In fact he was this brilliant defense attorney and he used that kind of “just folks” to great advantage.”

McCarthy charged that the Army had been to slow to weed out Communists from their ranks – and to be fair, Oshinsky says he wasn’t exactly wrong. The Army countered that McCarthy was using his influence and power to keep a staffer from getting drafted. The hearing was to get to the bottom of it.

“What they really showed were the power of television,” Oshinsky says. “And how good Joe Welch could be on television and how bad McCarthy was.”

The hearings stretched on for months. But it all came to a head on June 9. Welch was scoring points relentlessly questioning McCarthy’s attorney, when out of nowhere McCarthy bursts in charging that a young lawyer on Welch’s own team had once been a member of a communist organization. The lawyer had, like many… briefly, in college. Welch knew about it. He knew McCarthy knew about it. And he knew McCarthy knew the lawyer was no communist. Welch retorted with one of the most famous lines in American political history.

WELCH: Let us not assassinate this lad further. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last. Have you left no sense of decency?

Oshinsky says the audience broke out in applause “In other words, it was someone really taking on Joe McCarthy in a very public way about the kinds of tactics he would use.”

Eisenhower was right. Joe McCarthy would never recover from the exchange.

“I think you can make the argument that June 9, 1954 was the incident that crystalized everything that was wrong about McCarthy and McCarthyism.”

By the end of the year McCarthy was officially “condemned” by Senate vote. Three years later, he was dead from the effects of alcohol abuse at the age of 48. For his part, Joseph Welch was so good on TV, Otto Preminger tapped him to play the judge in his 1960 screen classic “Anatomy of a Murder,” a performance that earned Welch a Golden Globe nod.

The beginning of the end of Senator Joseph McCarthy, ushered in with a famous turn of phrase by Boston lawyer Joseph Welch, 61 years ago this week.

If you have a tale of forgotten Massachusetts history to share, or there’s something you’re just plain curious about, email Edgar at [email protected] He might just look into it for you.
*

Edgar runs WGBH's Curiosity Desk, where he aims to dig a little deeper (and sometimes askew) into topics in the news and looks for answers to questions posed by the world around us.


Army-McCarthy Hearings Begin – McCarthy Destroys Himself

The Army-McCarthy hearings, involving Senator Joe McCarthy’s allegations that Communists were employed by the U.S. Army, began on this day. Televised coverage of the hearings exposed McCarthy’s demagogic tactics to a wide public and played a major role in destroying his credibility.

The hearings are most famous for attorney Joseph N. Welch’s denunciation of McCarthy on June 9, 1954.

Joe McCarthy burst onto the political scene with a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia on February 9, 1950, in which he claimed to have a list of Communists in government. The number of people on the “list” kept changing, however, and he never identified a single person. McCarthy dominated American politics for five years between 1950 and 1954. The term “McCarthyism” was created by the cartoonist Herblock (for Herbert Block) in a cartoon published in the Washington Post on March 29, 1950).

His demise began with Edward R. Murrow’s television program criticizing him on March 9, 1954. The program is regarded as one of the most famous in the history of television. The Senate finally censured McCarthy on December 2, 1954, and his influence quickly evaporated — although McCarthyism, reckless and unreasoning anti-Communism, survived long afterwards.


When Robert Kennedy and Joe McCarthy crossed paths, the greatness of RFK became obvious

I first saw Robert Kennedy in person during the spring of 1956. I was a senior at Washington-Lee High School, located in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac from D.C. At the time, Kennedy served as counsel to the Senate Committee on Government Operations. Our social studies teacher arranged a visit to Capitol Hill when hearings were being held we spent most of the day in the gallery observing.

Joe McCarthy was the ranking minority member on the Committee for Government Operations. He no longer chaired this committee because in the midterm elections of 1954 the Democrats regained the majorities in both the Senate and House — majorities they had lost in the Eisenhower landslide of 1952.

McCarthy, in 1953, when he was chairman of the committee, appointed Roy Cohn to be counsel for the committee. He also appointed Robert Kennedy to the position of assistant counsel. (McCarthy was a long-time friend of Kennedy's father, Joe Kennedy, who no doubt had more than a more than little to do with his son getting the job.)

Following those losses in 1954, Republicans would not retake the Senate until 1980 (Reagan), and not retake control of the House until 1994 (the year Tom Foley lost to George Nethercutt). When Democrats retook both the House and Senate in 1954, committee members had been so impressed by the young Kennedy that they appointed him chief counsel.

By contrast, Kennedy was the person on the committee who got the hearing back on track. He impressed all of us students with his bearing, the way he organized his thoughts and with his probative questions. In the decade to come, he would go on to be known for his even-keeled temperament and for wisdom beyond his years.

By 1956, when we saw the junior senator from Wisconsin during our visit, he was well on the road to infamy. "McCarthyism" had peaked in 1953. During 1954, he attempted what even then was considered to be stupid: He picked a fight with the United States Army. The 1954 "Army-McCarthy" hearings — all televised — exposed and ruined him.

Here's the story: David Schine, a McCarthy staffer, had been drafted into the Korean War and sent to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. There, Schine sought special privileges to avoid going to war, which were properly denied, despite inappropriate intrusion and pressure from McCarthy's henchman Roy Cohn. How did McCarthy react to this? He did what Cohn had coached him to do — he attacked by launching yet another smear campaign, this time accusing the Army of harboring communists.

He denounced the secretary of the Army and even told a general he was "not fit to wear the uniform." All this came right out of the McCarthy/Cohn (and now Trump) playbook. (Trump met Cohn, who became the future president's fixer, in 1971.)

Until those hearings, neither McCarthy nor Cohn had ever actually faced the American people nor been confronted by an adversary the likes of Joseph Welch, the folksy Boston attorney for the Army who concluded his remarks with this memorable line directed at McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" The gallery exploded in applause.

In December 1954, following the Army-McCarthy debacle, McCarthy was formally "condemned" by his peers. An alcoholic, he died just a year after we saw him in 1956.

Robert Kennedy would go on to become his brother's attorney general, a choice that raised many eyebrows. He was just 35 and had no serious legal experience. When asked about this, Jack Kennedy smiled and joked, "I just thought Bobby could use some experience before he begins to practice law."

History will always remember him for his efforts during the Cuban Missile Crisis. When the missiles were discovered, the Kennedys formed the EXCOMM, the "Executive Committee of the National Security Council." The military wanted to bomb Cuba then invade. They were supported by the likes of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor. The Kennedys disagreed they wanted to give diplomacy a chance. They were supported by former Ambassador Tommy Thompson, who knew Premier Nikita Khrushchev personally, and by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who proposed a blockade. Robert Kennedy became the principle contact with the Soviets, and in the end he negotiated a compromise settlement, thus avoiding a nuclear exchange. It was the closest the world has yet come to armageddon.

Fifty years ago this month, Robert Kennedy was murdered in a Los Angeles hotel while running for president. He is sorely missed.

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The Censure Case of Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin (1954)

Background
On April 22, 1954, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Government Operations Committee, chaired by Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI), opened hearings into aspects of security in the United States Army. McCarthy had temporarily stepped aside as committee chairman after the army charged him with seeking special treatment for a former staff member, and the committee decided to look into that complaint as well. Still, the Wisconsin senator continued to play an active role in the hearings, with power to cross examine witnesses. The Army-McCarthy hearings, fully covered on national television, showed McCarthy in an increasingly unattractive light, as he badgered witnesses while ignoring parliamentary procedures and the rules of common courtesy. By the time the hearings ended in June, he had greatly damaged his image with the American people.

Joseph McCarthy had appeared invincible when investigated by a Senate subcommittee in 1952, but by 1954 he had finally gone too far, convincing his Senate colleagues that his power must be curtailed.

Statement of the Case
On July 30, 1954, Ralph Flanders (R-VT) introduced a resolution calling for the censure of a colleague who had dominated the American press and the United States Senate for the past four years. Flanders declared that Joseph McCarthy's conduct as chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations ran "contrary to senatorial traditions" and brought the whole body into disrepute. He therefore called on his colleagues to condemn McCarthy's behavior. Earlier, on June 11, Flanders had offered a resolution to strip McCarthy of his chairmanships, but consultation with other senators had indicated that censure would be easier to achieve, since many members objected to undercutting the seniority system of choosing committee chairmen.

In discussing the Flanders resolution, the Senate demonstrated that although weary of McCarthy's embarrassing antics, it wished to conduct the inquiry in an orderly fashion. In general, McCarthy's Republican colleagues did not attempt to defend his actions but focused instead on procedural concerns, as senators added 46 specific charges of misconduct to the original censure resolution. On August 2, the Senate decided to refer the matter to a bipartisan select committee, whose members were notable for their impeccable reputations and legal expertise, and asked for a report before the end of the 83rd Congress in late 1954. The group of three Republicans and three Democrats, led by Chairman Arthur V. Watkins (R-UT), included three former judges&mdashWatkins, John Stennis (D-MS), and Sam Ervin (D-NC) two former governors&mdashEdwin Johnson (D-CO) and Frank Carlson (R-KS) and a newspaper publisher and editor&mdashFrancis Case (R-SD). Only Joseph McCarthy complained about the composition of the panel.

Response of the Senate
The select committee recognized that the few previous censure cases had dealt with specific incidents of unacceptable action, rather than a whole pattern of behavior over a period of years as in the McCarthy case. Anxious to restore the sense of dignity so sorely absent in the recent army hearings, the committee plotted each move with care. It agreed to exclude television cameras from the hearings, in order to foster a judicial atmosphere and avoid a repetition of the unseemly show presented to the public by the recent debacle with McCarthy and the military. Because the hearings would be judicial in form rather than adversarial, the committee would not call Flanders and other supporters of censure as witnesses, thus offering McCarthy no targets for personal attacks. He would, however, have the right to be present and be represented by counsel, although only one individual&mdasheither McCarthy or his attorney&mdashwould be permitted to conduct questioning or cross-examination on a given subject. McCarthy was also allowed to make an opening statement.

After reviewing the 46 counts of misconduct, the committee reduced the charges to five categories: "contempt of the Senate or a senatorial committee" encouraging federal government employees to violate the law by providing him with classified materials "receipt or use of confidential or classified document" abuse of Senate colleagues and abuse of Brigadier General Ralph W. Zwicker during the army hearings. Because each of these charges was based on the massive collection of documents already at the committee's disposal, including the material from the 1952 investigation by the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, very few witnesses needed to be called.

The hearings were held after the Senate recessed to allow members to campaign for the November election, opening on August 31, 1954, and continuing through September 13. The committee soon felt the full thrust of McCarthy's oratorical attack, but Chairman Watkins exercised strict control and ruled many of McCarthy's interruptions and diversions out of order. Unmoved by the Wisconsin senator's objections, the committee completed the hearings and set about drafting its report, which it released to the press on September 27 (although it was not officially printed until the Senate reconvened on November 8).

The select committee unanimously recommended that Joseph McCarthy be censured for his actions in two of the five categories: (1) his refusal to appear before the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections to answer questions about his personal character, and his general obstruction to the work of the panel during its investigation of him in 1951 and 1952 and (2) his conduct on February 18, 1954, when he publicly abused and defamed General Zwicker during his appearance before the army hearings. The committee also strongly deplored McCarthy's actions in the other three categories as improper and irresponsible but determined that they did not "constitute a basis for censure."

On November 8, 1954, as the Senate convened in a rare post-election (&ldquolame duck&rdquo) session to deal with the McCarthy case, a lengthy and tangled debate developed. McCarthy attacked the individual members of the committee and its work so fiercely that each senator found it necessary to counter his assault with legal arguments. To keep the discussion as bipartisan as possible, Minority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat-TX) urged Democratic liberals to remain quiet and allow moderate and conservative Republicans to carry the fight against McCarthy.

Those who defended Joseph McCarthy and sought to defeat the recommendation argued that censure would impose an unwise code of conduct for the future&mdashthat McCarthy should not be censured for his behavior in a previous Congress, and that a censure vote would interfere with the guarantees of free speech. As he warmed to the fight, McCarthy labeled the select committee the "unwitting handmaiden of the Communist Party," attacked Arthur Watkins as "cowardly," and referred to the entire proceeding as a "lynch party." Chairman Watkins responded with an emotional speech about the dignity of the Senate that brought cheers from the galleries.

When McCarthy entered the hospital with an elbow injury, the Senate recessed for 10 days until he could again be present. Finally, on December 2, 1954, after three more days of debate, the Senate concluded the case and adjourned for the year. Exchanging the count relating to General Zwicker for one regarding his behavior to the Watkins committee, the Senate, on a vote of 67 to 22, censured Joseph McCarthy "for his non-cooperation with and abuse of the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections . . . in 1952" and "for abuse of the Select Committee to Study Censure" of 1954.

After four years of nearly unchallenged political power, Joseph McCarthy fell before the demand of the Senate that its members conform to the body's rules of comity and civility.

Conclusion
Many observers believed that the Watkins Committee really wanted to avoid the unpleasantness of censure and had taken every measure possible to accommodate McCarthy, but his raucous demeanor and attacks on the committee members finally pressed them too far. Even so, the committee based its recommendations on McCarthy's violation of Senate behavioral norms and took no position on his anticommunist crusade.

McCarthy tried to appear unaffected by the censure, but it became apparent that the Senate vote had robbed him of his power and status. As his political fortunes waned, so did his health. He died in 1957.

Source: Adapted from Anne M. Butler and Wendy Wolff. United States Senate Election, Expulsion, and Censure Cases, 1793-1990. S. Doc. 103-33. Washington, GPO, 1995.


Anticommunist crusader Senator Joseph R. McCarthy stepped into national prominence on February 9, 1950, when he mounted an attack on President Truman’s foreign policy agenda. McCarthy charged that the State Department and its Secretary, Dean Acheson, harbored “traitorous” Communists. McCarthy’s apocalyptic rhetoric made critics hesitate before challenging him. Those accused by McCarthy faced loss of employment, damaged careers, and in many cases, broken lives. After the 1952 election, in which the Republican Party won control of Congress, McCarthy became chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations and its Subcommittee on Investigations. McCarthy then extended his targets to include numerous government agencies, in addition to the broadcasting and defense industries, universities, and the United Nations. After Secretary of the Army, Robert T. Stevens, refused to intercede to halt an overseas assignment for McCarthy’s chief consultant, G. David Schine, who had been drafted, McCarthy’s committee began a two-month investigation of the Army. Viewers saw the following dramatic encounters televised live as they occurred between McCarthy, Special Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welch, Counselor for the Army John G. Adams, and the subcommittee’s chief counsel, Roy Cohn. Although McCarthy’s power declined sharply following the hearings and the Senate voted to condemn him a few months later, scholars disagree on whether McCarthy’s appearance before a mass television audience caused his fall. Historians do, however, credit ABC-TV’s decision to broadcast the hearings live, the only one to do so, with the network’s rise to prominence.

Secretary STEVENS. Gentlemen of the committee, I am here today at the request of this committee. You have my assurance of the fullest cooperation.

In order that we may all be quite clear as to just why this hearing has come about, it is necessary for me to refer at the outset to Pvt. G. David Schine, a former consultant of this committee. David Schine was eligible for the draft. Efforts were made by the chairman of this committee, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, and the subcommittee’s chief counsel, Mr. Roy M. Cohn, to secure a commission for him. Mr. Schine was not qualified, and he was not commissioned. Selective service then drafted him. Subsequent efforts were made to seek preferential treatment for him after he was inducted.

Before getting into the Schine story I want to make two general comments.

First, it is my responsibility to speak for the Army. The Army is about a million and a half men and women, in posts across this country and around the world, on active duty and in the National Guard and Organized Reserves, plus hundreds of thousands of loyal and faithful civil servants.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, a point of order.

Senator MUNDT. Senator McCarthy has a point of order.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Stevens is not speaking for the Army. He is speaking for Mr. Stevens, for Mr. Adams, and Mr. Hensel. The committee did not make the Army a party to this controversy, and I think it is highly improper to try to make the Army a party. Mr. Stevens can only speak for himself. . . .

All we were investigating has been some Communists in the Army, a very small percentage, I would say much less than 1 percent. And when the Secretary says that, in effect “I am speaking for the Army,” he is putting the 99.9 percent of good, honorable, loyal men in the Army into the position of trying to oppose the exposure of Communists in the Army.

I think it should be made clear at the outset, so we need not waste time on it, hour after hour, that Mr. Stevens is speaking for Mr. Stevens and those who are speaking through him when Mr. Adams speaks, he is speaking for Mr. Adams and those who are speaking through him, and likewise Mr. Hensel.

I may say I resent very, very much this attempt to connect the great American Army with this attempt to sabotage the efforts of this committee’s investigation into communism. . . .

Mr. ADAMS. About that time these two friends left, and because I wanted Senator McCarthy to restate before Mr. Cohn what he had told me on the courthouse steps, I said, “Let’s talk about Schine.”

That started a chain of events, an experience similar to none which I have had in my life.

Mr. Cohn became extremely agitated, became extremely abusive. He cursed me and then Senator McCarthy. The abuse went in waves. He would be very abusive and then it would kind of abate and things would be friendly for a few moments. Everybody would eat a little bit more, and then it would start in again. It just kept on.

I was trying to catch a 1:30 train, but Mr. Cohn was so violent by then that I felt I had better not do it and leave him that angry with me and that angry with Senator McCarthy because of a remark I had made. So I stayed and missed my 1:30 train. I thought surely I would be able to get out of there by 2:30. The luncheon concluded.

Mr. JENKINS. You say you were afraid to leave Senator McCarthy alone there with him? Mr. Adams, what did he say? You say he was very abusive.

Mr. ADAMS. He was extremely abusive.

Mr. JENKINS. Was or not any obscene language used?

Mr. JENKINS. Just omit that and tell what he did say which constituted abuse, in your opinion.

Mr. ADAMS. I have stated before, sir, the tone of voice has as much to do with abuse as words. I do not remember the phrases, I do not remember the sentences, but I do remember the violence.

Mr. JENKINS. Do you remember the subject?

Mr. ADAMS. The subject was Schine. The subject was the fact—the thing that Cohn was angry about, the thing that he was so violent about, was the fact that, (1), the Army was not agreeing to an assignment for Schine and, (2), that Senator McCarthy was not supporting his staff in its efforts to get Schine assigned to New York. So his abuse was directed partly to me and partly to Senator McCarthy.

As I say, it kind of came in waves. There would be a period of extreme abuse, and then there would be a period where it would get almost back to normal, and ice cream would be ordered, and then about halfway through that a little more of the same. I missed the 2:30 train, also.

This violence continued. It was a remarkable thing. At first Senator McCarthy seemed to be trying to conciliate. He seemed to be trying to conciliate Cohn and not to state anything contrary to what he had stated to me in the morning. But then he more or less lapsed into silence. . . .

So I went down to room 101. Mr. Cohn was there and Mr. Carr was there. As I remember, we lunched together in the Senate cafeteria, and everything was peaceful. When we returned to room 101, toward the latter part of the conversation I asked Cohn—I knew that 90 percent of all inductees ultimately face overseas duty and I knew that one day we were going to face that problem with Mr. Cohn as to Schine.

So I thought I would lay a little groundwork for future trouble I guess. I asked him what would happen if Schine got overseas duty.

Mr. JENKINS. You mean you were breaking the news gently, Mr. Adams?

Mr. ADAMS. Yes, sir that is right. I asked him what would happen if Schine got overseas duty. He responded with vigor and force, “Stevens is through as Secretary of the Army.”

I said, “Oh, Roy,” something to this effect, “Oh, Roy, don’t say that. Come on. Really, what is going to happen if Schine gets overseas duty?”

He responded with even more force, “We will wreck the Army.”

Then he said, “The first thing we are going to do is get General Ryan for the way he has treated Dave at Fort Dix. Dave gets through at Fort Dix tomorrow or this week, and as soon as he is gone we are going to get General Ryan for the obscene way in which he has permitted Schine to be treated up there.”

He said, “We are not going to do it ourselves. We have another committee of the Congress interested in it.”

Then he said, “I wouldn’t put it past you to do this. We will start investigations. We have enough stuff on the Army to keep investigations going indefinitely, and if anything like such-and-such doublecross occurs, that is what we will do.”

This remark was not to be taken lightly in the context in which it was given to me. . . .

Mr. JENKINS. You will recall, Mr. Cohn, that he testified that you said that if Schine went overseas, Stevens was through as Secretary of the Army?

Mr. COHN. I heard him say that, sir.

Mr. JENKINS. Did you or not?

Mr. JENKINS. Did you say anything like that, Mr. Cohn?

Mr. COHN. No, sir, and my recollection is that I did not. I have talked to Mr. Carr who was sitting there the whole time, and he says I did not. . . .

Mr. JENKINS. All right, now you are saying you did not say it, Mr. Cohn?

Mr. COHN. Yes, sir. I am saying I am sure I did not make that statement, and I am sure that Mr. Adams and anybody else with any sense, and Mr. Adams has a lot of sense, could ever believe that I was threatening to wreck the Army or that I could wreck the Army. I say, sir, that the statement is ridiculous.

Mr. JENKINS. I am talking about Stevens being through as Secretary of the Army.

Mr. COHN. That is equally ridiculous, sir.

Mr. COHN. Yes, sir, equally ridiculous and untrue, I could not cause the President of the United States to remove Stevens as Secretary of the Army. . . .

Mr. WELCH. Mr. Cohn, what is the exact number of Communists or subversives that are loose today in these defense plants?

Mr. COHN. The exact number that is loose, sir?

Mr. WELCH. Roughly how many?

Mr. COHN. I can only tell you, sir, what we know about it.

Mr. WELCH. That is 130, is that right?

Mr. COHN. Yes, sir. I am going to try to particularize for you, if I can.

Mr. WELCH. I am in a hurry. I don’t want the sun to go down while they are still in there, if we can get them out.

Mr. COHN. I am afraid we won’t be able to work that fast, sir.

Mr. WELCH. I have a suggestion about it, sir. How many are there?

Mr. COHN. I believe the figure is approximately 130.

Mr. WELCH. Approximately one-two-three?

Mr. COHN. Yes, sir. Those are people, Mr. Welch—

Mr. WELCH. I don’t care. You told us who they are. In how many plants are they?

Mr. COHN. Yes, sir just I minute, sir. I see 16 offhand, sir.

Mr. WELCH. Where are they, sir?

Mr. WELCH. Reel off the cities.

Mr. COHN. Would you stop me if I am going too far?

Mr. WELCH. You can’t go too far revealing Communists, Mr. Cohn. Reel off the cities for us.

Mr. COHN. Schenectady, N.Y. Syracuse, N.Y. Rome, N.Y. Quincy, Mass. Fitchburg, Mass. Buffalo, N.Y. Dunkirk, N.Y. another at Buffalo, N.Y. Cambridge, Mass. New Bedford, Mass. Boston, Mass. Quincy, Mass. Lynn, Mass. Pittsfield Mass. Boston, Mass.

Mr. WELCH. Mr. Cohn, you not only frighten me, you make me ashamed when there are so many in Massachusetts. [Laughter.] This is not a laughing matter, believe me. Are you alarmed at that situation, Mr. Cohn?

Mr. WELCH. Nothing could be more alarming, could it?

Mr. COHN. It certainly is a very alarming thing.

Mr. WELCH. Will you not, before the sun goes down, give those names to the FBI and at least have those men put under surveillance.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. WELCH. That is a fair question.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, let’s not be ridiculous. Mr. Welch knows, as I have told him a dozen times, that the FBI has all of this information. The defense plants have the information. The only thing we can do is to try and publicly expose these individuals and hope that they will be gotten rid of. And you know that, Mr. Welch.

Mr. WELCH. I do not know that. . . .

Cannot the FBI put these 130 men under surveillance before sundown tomorrow?

Mr. COHN. Sir, if there is need for surveillance in the case of espionage or anything like that, I can well assure you that Mr. John Edgar Hoover and his men know a lot better than I, and I quite respectfully suggest, sir, than probably a lot of us, just who should be put under surveillance. I do not propose to tell the FBI how to run its shop. It does it very well.

Mr. WELCH. And they do it, don’t they, Mr. Cohn?

Mr. COHN. When the need arises, of course.

Mr. WELCH. And will you tell them tonight, Mr. Cohn, that here is a case where the need has arisen, so that it can be done by sundown tomorrow night?

Mr. COHN. No, sir there is no need for my telling the FBI what to do about this or anything else. . . .

Mr. WELCH. Mr. Cohn, tell me once more: Every time you learn of a Communist or a spy anywhere, is it your policy to get them out as fast as possible?

Mr. COHN. Surely, we want them out as fast as possible, sir.

Mr. WELCH. And whenever you learn of one from now on, Mr. Cohn, I beg of you, will you tell somebody about them quick?

Mr. COHN. Mr. Welch, with great respect, I work for the committee here. They know how we go about handling situations of Communist infiltration and failure to act on FBI information about Communist infiltration. If they are displeased with the speed with which I and the group of men who work with me proceed, if they are displeased with the order in which we move, I am sure they will give me appropriate instructions along those lines, and I will follow any which they give me.

Mr. WELCH. May I add my small voice, sir, and say whenever you know about a subversive or a Communist spy, please hurry. Will you remember those words?

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. COHN. Mr. Welch, I can assure you, sir, as far as I am concerned, and certainly as far as the chairman of this committee and the members, and the members of the staff, are concerned, we are a small group, but we proceed as expeditiously as is humanly possible to get out Communists and traitors and to bring to light the mechanism by which they have been permitted to remain where they were for so long a period of time.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, in view of that question—

Senator MUNDT. Have you a point of order?

Senator MCCARTHY. Not exactly, Mr. Chairman, but in view of Mr. Welch’s request that the information be given once we know of anyone who might be performing any work for the Communist Party, I think we should tell him that he has in his law firm a young man named Fisher whom he recommended, incidentally, to do work on this committee, who has been for a number of years a member of an organization which was named, oh, years and years ago, as the legal bulwark of the Communist Party, an organization which always swings to the defense of anyone who dares to expose Communists. I certainly assume that Mr. Welch did not know of this young man at the time he recommended him as the assistant counsel for this committee, but he has such terror and such a great desire to know where anyone is located who may be serving the Communist cause, Mr. Welch, that I thought we should just call to your attention the fact that your Mr. Fisher, who is still in your law firm today, whom you asked to have down here looking over the secret and classified material, is a member of an organization, not named by me but named by various committees, named by the Attorney General, as I recall, and I think I quote this verbatim, as “the legal bulwark of the Communist Party.” He belonged to that for a sizable number of years, according to his own admission, and he belonged to it long after it had been exposed as the legal arm of the Communist Party.

Knowing that, Mr. Welch, I just felt that I had a duty to respond to your urgent request that before sundown, when we know of anyone serving the Communist cause, we let the agency know. We are now letting you know that your man did belong to this organization for, either 3 or 4 years, belonged to it long after he was out of law school.

I don’t think you can find anyplace, anywhere, an organization which has done more to defend Communists—I am again quoting the report—to defend Communists, to defend espionage agents, and to aid the Communist cause, than the man whom you originally wanted down here at your right hand instead of Mr. St. Clair.

I have hesitated bringing that up, but I have been rather bored with your phony requests to Mr. Cohn here that he personally get every Communist out of government before sundown. Therefore, we will give you information about the young man in your own organization.

I am not asking you at this time to explain why you tried to foist him on this committee. Whether you knew he was a member of that Communist organization or not, I don’t know. I assume you did not, Mr. Welch, because I get the impression that, while you are quite an actor, you play for a laugh, I don’t think you have any conception of the danger of the Communist Party. I don’t think you yourself would ever knowingly aid the Communist cause. I think you are unknowingly aiding it when you try to burlesque this hearing in which we are attempting to bring out the facts, however.

Senator MUNDT. Mr. Welch, the Chair should say he has no recognition or no memory of Mr. Welch’s recommending either Mr. Fisher or anybody else as counsel for this committee.

I will recognize Mr. Welch.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman, I will give you the news story on that.

Mr. WELCH. Mr. Chairman, under these circumstances I must have something approaching a personal privilege.

Senator MUNDT. You may have it, sir. It will not be taken out of your time.

Mr. WELCH. Senator McCarthy, I did not know—Senator, sometimes you say “May I have your attention?”

Senator MCCARTHY. I am listening to you. I can listen with one ear.

Mr. WELCH. This time I want you to listen with both.

Mr. WELCH. Senator McCarthy, I think until this moment—

Senator MCCARTHY. Jim, will you get the news story to the effect that this man belonged to this Communist-front organization? Will you get the citations showing that this was the legal arm of the Communist Party, and the length of time that he belonged, and the fact that he was recommended by Mr. Welch? I think that should be in the record.

Mr. WELCH. You won’t need anything in the record when I have finished telling you this.

Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher 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 who works under you that you would like.” He chose Fred Fisher and they came down on an afternoon plane. That night, when he 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 have always liked you, but if there is anything funny in the life of either one of you that would hurt anybody in this case you speak up quick.”

Fred Fisher said, “Mr. Welch, when I was in 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 Republicans League in Newton with the son of Massachusetts' Governor, and I have the respect and admiration of the 25 lawyers or so in Hale & Dorr.”

I said, “Fred, I just don’t think I am 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.”

So, Senator, I asked him to go back to Boston.

Little did I dream you could be so reckless and cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale & Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale & Dorr. 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 will do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Chairman.

Senator MUNDT. Senator McCarthy?

Senator MCCARTHY. 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 Government anyone who is serving the Communist cause.

I just give this man’s record, and I want to say, Mr. Welch, that it has been labeled long before he became a member, as early as 1944—

Mr. 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.

Mr. WELCH. I meant to do you no personal injury, and if I did, beg your pardon.

Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Senator MCCARTHY. I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch. But I may say, Mr. Chairman, on a point of personal privilege, and I would like to finish it—

Mr. WELCH. Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.

Senator MCCARTHY. I would like to finish this.

Mr. Welch has been filibustering this hearing, he has been talking day after day about how he wants to get anyone tainted with communism out before sundown. I know Mr. Cohn would rather not have me go into this. I intend to, however, Mr. Welch talks about any sense of decency. If I say anything which is not the truth, then I would like to know about it.

The foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party, its front organizations, and controlled unions, and which, since its inception, has never failed to rally to the legal defense of the Communist Party, and individual members thereof, including known espionage agents.

Now, that is not the language of Senator McCarthy. That is the language of the Un-American Activities Committee. And I can go on with many more citations. It seems that Mr. Welch is pained so deeply he thinks it is improper for me to give the record, the Communist front record, of the man whom he wanted to foist upon this committee. But it doesn’t pain him at all—there is no pain in his chest about the unfounded charges against Mr. Frank Carr there is no pain there about the attempt to destroy the reputation and take the jobs away from the young men who were working in my committee.

And, Mr. Welch, if I have said anything here which is untrue, then tell me. I have heard you and every one else talk so much about laying the truth upon the table that when I hear—and it is completely phony, Mr. Welch, I have listened to you for a long time—when you say “Now, before sundown, you must get these people out of Government,” I want to have it very clear, very clear that you were not so serious about that when you tried to recommend this man for this committee.

And may I say, Mr. Welch, in fairness to you, I have reason to believe that you did not know about his Communist-front record at the time you recommended him. I don’t think you would have recommended him to the committee, if you knew that.

I think it is entirely possible you learned that after you recommended him.

Senator MUNDT. The Chair would like to say again that he does not believe that Mr. Welch recommended Mr. Fisher as counsel for this committee, because he has through his office all the recommendations that were made. He does not recall any that came from Mr. Welch, and that would include Mr. Fisher.

Senator MCCARTHY. Let me ask Mr. Welch. You brought him down, did you not, to act as your assistant?

Mr. WELCH. Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this with you further. You have sat within 6 feet of me, and could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have brought it out. If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask Mr. Cohn any more questions. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.

Senator MUNDT. Are there any questions?

Mr. JENKINS. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. JENKINS. Senator McCarthy, how do you regard the communistic threat to our Government as compared with other threats with which it is confronted?

Senator MCCARTHY. Mr. Jenkins, 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.

For example, Christianity, which has been in existence for 2,000 years, has not converted, convinced nearly as many people as this Communist brutalitarianism has enslaved in 106 years, and they are not going to stop.

I know that many of my good friends seem to feel that this is a sort of a game you can play, that you can talk about communism as though it is something 10,000 miles away.

Mr. Jenkins, in answer to your question, let me say it is 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. There is no question about that, Mr. Jenkins. . . .

Source: "The Army-McCarthy Hearings, 1954," in Robert D. Marcus and Anthony Marcus, eds., On Trail: American History Through Court Proceedings and Hearings, vol. II, (St. James, New York: Brandywine Press, 1998), 136󈞟.


Joseph McCarthy: America on Trial 1953-1954

As America and the Soviet Union faced off in the Cold War, sensational charges of Soviet spying triggered congressional investigations. In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Wisconsin Republican, accused the State Department of harboring “known Communists.” When McCarthy became Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations three years later, he set out to prove his charges.

McCarthy called hundreds of witnesses, browbeating and intimidating them. His charges of Communist subversion in the U.S. Army culminated in the 1954 televised Army–McCarthy hearings. When Army Counsel Joseph Welch challenged the senator’s reckless charges, asking, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” McCarthy’s support eroded. The Senate later censured him for conduct unbecoming a senator.

"Senator Ervin: Do we have the manhood in the Senate to stand up to a challenge of that kind?
Senator Arthur V. Watkins: I think we do. I may be a coward, but I will not compromise with that kind of attack. . . . I will not compromise on matters of principle.
—Congressional Record, November 16, 1954

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”
—Army Counsel Joseph Welch, June 9, 1954


Watch the video: CBS News - ArmyMcCarthy hearings 1954