In the end, chairman Eisenhower had no choice but to fight back versus Senator Joseph McCarthy—and that did

Senator Joseph McCarthy

In the early 1950s, American leaders repeatedly told the general public that they have to be fearful of subversive Communist influence in their lives. Communists could be lurking anywhere, making use of their location as institution teachers, university professors, job organizers, artists, or journalists to help the regimen of human being Communist domination. This paranoia about the interior Communist threat—what we contact the Red Scare—reached a heat pitch in between 1950 and also 1954, once Senator Joe McCarthy that Wisconsin, a right-wing Republican, introduced a series of extremely publicized probes right into alleged Communist penetration that the State Department, the White House, the Treasury, and also even the US Army. During Eisenhower’s an initial two year in office, McCarthy’s shrieking denunciations and fear-mongering created a climate the fear and also suspicion across the country. Nobody dared tangle through McCarthy for fear of being labeled disloyal.

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Any male who has actually been called by a either a councilor or a committee or a congressman as dangerous to the welfare of this nation, his name have to be submitted to the various intelligence units, and they should conduct a complete check upon him. It’s not too much to ask.

Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1953

It has actually long been a topic of debate amongst historians: Why no Eisenhower do more to face McCarthy? Journalists, intellectuals, and even many of Eisenhower’s friends and close advisers agonized over what they experienced as Ike’s timid strategy to McCarthyism. Regardless of his popularity and his enormous political capital, lock believed, Ike refused to engage directly with McCarthy. By preventing the Red-hunting senator, some have actually argued, Eisenhower allowed McCarthyism to continue unchecked.

In this letter to his brothers Milton, Eisenhower explains, "As because that McCarthy. Just a short-sighted or totally inexperienced individual would certainly urge the use of the office of the presidency to give an adversary the public he so avidly desires."

By contrast, later on scholars working from the documentary record viewed a style in Eisenhower’s strategy with McCarthy. Ike embraced an “indirect approach.” rather of going appropriate at McCarthy, Eisenhower worked behind the scene to undercut and stymie the senator and also his attacks. The politics scientist Fred Greenstein, because that example, suggested that Eisenhower’s dealing with of McCarthy provides proof of a “hidden hand” approach to government. In this interpretation, Ike rode over the fray of national politics while secretly pulling levers and also using White house influence come obstruct McCarthy and his allies.

President review my message with good irritation, slammed it back at me and also said he would not refer to McCarthy personally—‘I will certainly not get in the gutter v that guy.’

C. D. Jackson, Eisenhower speechwriter, 1953
Late in his an initial presidential campaign, Eisenhower excised a defense of general George C. Marshall indigenous a decided he gave in McCarthy"s home state the Wisconsin. He addressed the issue much more abstractly, stating, "The appropriate to concern a man"s judgment carries through it no automatic right to question his honor."

Looking at every the evidence, the clearest conclusion is the Eisenhower walk not want to challenge Joe McCarthy at all. And during 1953, he tried to stop the totality issue, hope the Senate would certainly silence the explosive senator. McCarthy to be a Republican, ~ all, and many fellow senators sustained him. Ike necessary to keep his party linked to pass bills in other areas; battling McCarthy would just stir increase a civil battle inside the GOP.

Furthermore, Eisenhower walk not desire to appear “soft” on the trouble of interior subversion. There had, after ~ all, been real spies that penetrated right into the State Department, especially Alger Hiss.

Alger Hiss

And Communist agents had stolen classified keys from the wartime Manhattan project that developed the atom bomb. Once Julius and also Ethel Rosenberg were condemned to dice in the electric chair together punishment for their theft of atomic secrets, Eisenhower did not for a moment consider granting lock clemency. On June 19, 1953, they to be both placed to death.

Eisenhower in 1953 improvised in taking care of McCarthy, at very first trying to disregard him, then trying come outdo him in the Red-hunting business. Then he tried to seduce the with guarantees of brand-new legislation to destroy Communism in America. Nobody of these methods worked.

‘The age of Eisenhower,’ thing 6
The very first two paragraphs of the in march 13, 1954 New York Times story on McCarthy, Cohn, and also David Schine

But in ~ the begin of 1954, the snapshot changed. Joe McCarthy turned his investigatory resources on the united state Army and also on members the the management itself. Eisenhower had actually no an option but come fight back. The an initial move the White residence made to be to try to discredit the men approximately McCarthy, significantly the lawyer Roy Cohn, that was leading the investigation, and Cohn’s assistant David Schine, who had recently been drafted into the Army.

The army compiled a damaging dossier of dust on Cohn, mirroring that he provided threats and also intimidation to demand that Schine be offered plum assignments and easy duty. The White house leaked this dossier come the press and Congress. McCarthy and also Cohn now stood accused the abuse the power.

A 2003 report native NBC News reviewed recently released documents related come the McCarthy hearings

Ike walk one step further. In order come close under McCarthy’s reckless usage of subpoenas come compel witnesses to testify before his committee, Eisenhower invoked executive, management privilege.

In this may 17, 1954 memo come the Secretary the Defense, Eisenhower ordered, “You will certainly instruct employees of your Department the in all of their appearances prior to the Subcommittee the the Senate Committee on Operations concerning the inquiry now prior to it, they space not come testify to any such conversations or interactions or come produce any such files or reproductions. This principle must be maintained regardless of that would be benefitted by together disclosures.”

In may 1954, Ike merely said that administration officials and all executive branch employees would certainly ignore any kind of call from McCarthy to testify. Eisenhower explained his action, heralding that “it is important to efficient and effective administration that employees of the executive, management branch be in a position to be completely candid in advising through each other on official matters,” without those conversations being topic to conference scrutiny.

It was a bold and also daring move, and it worked. McCarthy, his credibility in tatters and now starved that witnesses, hit a brick wall—and his other senators turned versus him. In early on December 1954, the Senate happen a motion of condemnation, in a poll of 67 come 22. McCarthy was ruined—and within three years he was dead indigenous alcohol abuse. The era the McCarthyism was over. Ike had actually helped bring it come a bitterness end.

Senate Resolution 301 censured McCarthy because that conduct that “tends to bring the Senate into disrepute”




In the late 1940s and early 1950s, dramatic radio program told story of government agents top top a pursuit to discover Communist infiltrators who, in the words of one, "would undermine our America."

David Harding, Counterspy began in 1942 together the story of an American operative fighting the Nazis, and the long-running regimen easily adapted to a Cold battle narrative in the so late 1940s and also early 1950s. In this illustration from December 1950, Harding reads a message from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover calling on legislation enforcement officers, patriotic organizations, and also individuals come report on something that might indicate espionage, sabotage, or subversive activities.

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I was a Communist for the FBI, based upon a movie of the exact same name, ran for just over a year, native April 1952 till October 1953. In this episode, from April 1953, Matt Cvetic describes his undercover assignment: "For nine years i was living on the brink the a volcano, a volcano dubbed Communism, a volcano i m sorry is centered in Soviet Russia however which is erupting all over the world." 

Comics and pulps

Comic books and pulp fiction magazines also brought the danger of communist to life. The Catholic Catechetical Guild that Minneapolis published these two comics for distribution in 1947 and also 1960.