Background

On February 9, 1950, councilor Joseph McCarthy stepped into the spotlight of nationwide attention through a speech provided at Wheeling, West Virginia. McCarthy was nearing the end of his very first term together senator and also needed a large issue come energize his run for a 2nd term. Holding increase a piece of paper, he claimed to have in his possession details proving that an ext than 200 employees in the State Department were card-carrying members the the Communist Party. The charge--never substantiated--grabbed headlines at a time when friction with the Soviet Union and also fear the communist subversion were farming in the country.

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Fear the communism had actually existed because the 19th century yet did not merit congressional investigation until after the Bolshevik transformation and the close of civilization War I. In response to the "Red Scare" that 1919 a one-of-a-kind Senate committee was convened. Throughout the te of the 1930s, governments adopted new and experimental techniques to combat the economic ravages that the an excellent Depression. Communist state economic planning, also as particular Nazi and also fascist economic measures, appealed to part desperate Americans. Few of the experimental programs that Roosevelt"s new Deal fostered concerns that the federal federal government was falling under communist direction. These suspicions and also fears resulted in the creation of a series of short-lived House and also Senate committees to investigate subversive dangers to the government.

During civilization War II the unified States and the Soviet Union were allies, however as quickly as the war finished the two superpowers began to struggle against each various other for supremacy. It was against the backdrop of this "Cold War" that the threat of inner subversion and also external strike began to preoccupy Congress. Anticommunism conquered the political debates of the immediate post-World war II-era. The residence Un-American activities Committee (HUAC), created in 1938 to monitor disloyalty come the United claims government, to be made a long-term committee in 1945. Postwar HUAC investigators probed whether Communists and also sympathizers to communism had actually played one active duty in the job movement, the movie industry, and also the executive departments the the federal government.

In 1948, before the HUAC, professed-Communist Whittaker Chambers accused previous high-ranking State Department main Alger Hiss the espionage throughout the 1930s. State Department and also other high-level administration officials publicly protected Hiss in his denial of the charges. Climate Chambers led investigators to a pumpkin patch where microfilmed an enig State Department documents were hidden. The media-charged proceedings the followed and also the 1950 conviction the Hiss on charges of perjury (the merits that the instance are still debated today) connected Communist activity and high federal government officials in the mental of countless Americans. This situation further sustained the anticommunist hysteria in the nation.

During the weeks prior to McCarthy ceded his Wheeling speech, China had actually fallen come the Communists and the Soviet Union had actually tested an atomic bomb. With Alger Hiss"s perjury conviction and also the confession of Klaus Fuchs, a physicist top top the Manhattan Project, to having delivered atomic keys to the Soviet Union, it to be clear that federal government security had actually been compromised. Particularly disturbing to typical citizens to be the Soviet Union"s new atomic capability. Fear Americans started to check out all communists as traitors to our country. The stage was collection for the student in the first year senator from Wisconsin.

Senator McCarthy was placed on the Senate irreversible Subcommittee on investigations of the Senate Committee on government Operations and also became that is chairman in 1953. At the time of his chairmanship, the jurisdiction the the subcommittee was principally the examination of waste, inefficiency, impropriety, and also illegality of federal government operations. McCarthy manipulated the functions of the brand-new committee to proceed sweeping accusations the communist task in the executive, management branch. His 1954 probe the the U.S. Army lead come his downfall. The Army-McCarthy hearings to be televised nationally, and also the windy recoiled indigenous McCarthy"s bullying tactics. He was censured by the Senate and died in 1957.

The featured document, a telegram indigenous Senator Joseph R. McCarthy to president Harry S. Truman, was sent out to the chairman on February 11, 1950, two days after the Wheeling speech. Also included is Truman"s reply (probably unsent). In this telegram come the president, city council McCarthy repeats his assertion the he had the names of 57 Communists that were working in the State Department and also called upon the president to administer Congress v a full accounting of Communist infiltration that the Department, consisting of the duty of alleged Communist spy Alger Hiss in protecting defense risks. In an undated (and supposedly unsent) reply, the President declared that McCarthy was no fit to offer in the U.S. Government, adding that the human being of Wisconsin must be an extremely sorry to be stood for in the Senate by such a person.

Resources

Educational Units

National yellowcomic.com and also Sirs, Inc., The Truman years 1945-1953

National yellowcomic.com and also Sirs, Inc., Peace and Prosperity 1953-1961

Books

Manchester, William. Glory and also the Dream: A Narrative background of the United claims 1932-1972. brand-new York: Bantam, 1974.

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Rosenberg, Norman L. And Rosenberg, Emily S., In ours Times: America due to the fact that World battle II. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1991.

 

The Documents

Telegram fromSenator Joseph McCarthy toPresident bother S. Truman

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Harry S. Truman Library The papers of take care of S. Truman: President"s Secretary"s documents ca.12/1930-ca.03/1955 nationwide yellowcomic.com Identifier: 201514

Reply from chairman Harry S. Truman come Senator Joseph McCarthy (Probably Unsent)

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Harry S. Truman Library The records of harry S. Truman: President"s Secretary"s files ca.12/1930-ca.03/1955 nationwide yellowcomic.com Identifier: 201514