Joseph McCarthy

Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Joseph McCarthy, the senator:

Joseph McCarthy, born in 1908, was a high-school dropout, leaving to help his parents on the farm. He received his GED in one year. After four years worth of college in one year, he entered law school and was admitted to the bar in 1935. He entered the military and ended up a lieutenant. He ran for Wisconsin circuit judge in 1945 and was elected. He moved up to the US Senate in 1946.

On February 9, 1950, McCarthy gave a speech, claiming he had a list of 205 people working in the State Department who had ties to Communism. Two days later, he sent a memo to President Truman, now claiming he had only 57 people. He went on that year to accuse many different people of being tied to Communism. Finally, after President Eisenhower was elected, in October 1953, McCarthy began his own demise when he began investigating communism in the military. Eisenhower finally snapped and began to attack McCarthy, finally leading to his censorship in December of 1954.

Joseph McCarthy died in May of 1957 with liver problems. Many now believe this was due to drinking problems. In all of his attacks, McCarthy never found a single Communist.


The Manchurian Candidate, book/movie
Tail Gunner Joe, movie
Citizen Cohn, movie
“Senator McCarthy Blues” by Hal Block, song
“Point of Order” by Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, song

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