McCarthy Hearings (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Cold War paranoia tests the principles of democracy, threatening the civil rights of U.S. citizens.
Summary of Event
On February 9, 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin addressed the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. He said, “While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” Later McCarthy revised his figures downward to fifty-seven, but the shocking allegations were that the secretary of state knew of these persons, and that they continued nonetheless to shape U.S. government policies.
McCarthy was exploiting a sensitive and emotional issue, for it was a known fact that there had been communists in the government, the labor movement, certain intellectual circles, and “popular front” organizations shortly before, during, and after World War II. Communist cells had functioned in Washington, D.C., during the 1930’s, numbering among their members government officials such as Alger Hiss, whom an admitted communist agent, Whitaker Chambers, had named on August 3, 1948, as a prewar member of the Communist Party. Hiss...
(The entire section is 1373 words.)
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