How to Pronounce McCarthyism
As a senator, Joseph McCarthy was one of the most powerful politicians in the nation. He was also a bully. The tactics he used were nothing short of ruthless. Almost all of his power was destroyed when the Democrats took over the Senate a year later.
McCarthy was the most famous of the anti-Communists. He made wild claims that the United States government was infiltrated by a secret Communist network. In fact, he claimed to have a list of 57 subversives in the State Department. This was an ominous and enticing proposition to many of his supporters.
He was able to use his position to subpoena witnesses and hold hearings. But when he got his wish, he had little to show for it. His subcommittee stopped attending hearings. Despite the fact that he held a monopoly on the wrath of the American public, he never had to prove anything.
McCarthy also rolled over those who disagreed with him. There is no evidence that any of his alleged spies ever faced any real prosecution. And, in the end, the only person to benefit from his machinations was a young boy named Langston Hughes. Some of Hughes’ testimony was made public in the 1950s.
In fact, it is hard to believe that McCarthy’s accusations were the first to reach the public. He had a lot of help from the press. One of his biggest backers was the media conglomerate Hearst, which owned Collins magazine. Its parent company, HarperCollins, has a disdain for McCarthyism.
Another notable feat was the ability to use a phony secret military code. During the Korean War, Chinese Americans were forced to display their loyalty to the U.S. Among the plethora of military codes available to them were the one attributed to the “Tailgunner Joe” (an acronym for the “Joseph McCarthy”). Fortunately for this brave son of a gun, he only had to defend himself in two congressional hearings.
Although he was not the first to attempt such a feat, the fact that McCarthy did it makes him the most important figure in the history of political intimidation. Not only was he the most effective, but he had the most powerful support. Unlike most politicians, he had a large cash reserve and a knack for making things happen. During the mid-50s, the number of households with televisions was relatively low. However, it was enough to make the tv a novelty.
Of course, if you asked the right questions, you would have found out that McCarthy was not as far ahead of his time as he seemed. There is no proof that he fabricated any of the things he claimed to have done. Nevertheless, the alleged smears he conducted on Eisenhower’s cronies were the most embarrassing to his opponents.
If it wasn’t for McCarthy, no one in the political arena would have to face the specter of an actual war with Communists. While he was still in office, he was the most feared politician in the country. Several politicians and government agencies were forced to second-guess appointments.