Hour Of Decision

Hour Of Decision


April 19, 2024

On Feb. 9, 1950, millions of Americans were fearful of the advances of world communism all around them. Americans had supported an all-out war to end tyranny and bring “the four freedoms” to the entire planet. Instead, USSR communists captured half of Europe and a large swath across Asia.


Two weeks earlier, Alger Hiss, a  former presidential adviser and president of the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, was convicted of espionage-related perjury charges, a living example of communist penetration at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Just four months earlier, the Red Chinese announced the complete capture of the world’s most populous nation. A week before that, the USSR announced that like America, they too now had “the bomb,” exposing Americans to the specter of nuclear war.


With that backdrop, a relatively obscure senator from Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy, recycled unaddressed accusations developed in a previous congress of communist infiltration of the State Department, in a speech to a relatively obscure GOP women’s group in Wheeling, WV. As McCarthy continued on his speaking tour across the country, headlines exploded about the Senator’s list of communist spies alleged to still be in government. Many reporters skeptically questioned the charges, and Democrat leaders soon denounced him as a liar.


For the next four years McCarthy and his crusade against communist penetration of the federal government would garner front page headlines, week after week. He would also be under continual senatorial investigation. He built a loyal following of millions of frustrated Americans, despite an onslaught of extremely negative press coverage. Two senators who stepped forward to oppose him lost their elections. The Wisconsin senator was finally brought down by a vengeful, but popular Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower. He co-opted the GOP leaders who had protected McCarthy from previous attacks launched by Democrats.


McCarthy did more than target communist operatives identified by the FBI or other security personnel. In a 60,000 word speech he attacked, in great detail, WWII Army chief and later cabinet member George Catlett Marshall. McCarthy  concluded Marshall was a key player who followed a deliberate internationalist policy to bring down the U.S. and uplift the Soviets. This was an earlier version of the accusation leveled at today’s foreign policy establishment of pursuing a “managed decline” of the U.S. in our relationship with the ascendant Chinese.


The release of the Army’s Venona intercepts, the access granted American scholars to the Soviet archives for two years, the FBI’s counterintelligence files, and seventy years of scholarly investigation reveals the construct of McCarthy as an amoral bully who never found a communist but destroyed lives in the process is a lie. Eye witness testimony and a copious amount of evidence gathered by security agencies showed a massive communist penetration in the FDR and Truman years, providing sensitive data and shaping policy to the advantage of the Soviets. Joe McCarthy did all he could to get to the bottom of it.


Further Information:

Blacklisted By History, by M. Stanton Evans. The single best account of McCarthy and his fight.

American Betrayal, by Diana West. The cost of communist penetration of American culture and politics.

The Web of Subversion, by James Burnham. The big picture of communist operations within America 1933-1954.

Joseph McCarthy, by Arthur Herman. A “reappraisal” book that concludes “McCarthy was often right.”

America’s Retreat From Victory, by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. His Marshall speech, expanded version. Must read.