104 Facts About Joseph McCarthy


Joseph Raymond McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican US Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957.


Joseph McCarthy is known for alleging that numerous communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere.


Joseph McCarthy volunteered to fly twelve combat missions as a gunner-observer.


In succeeding years after his 1950 speech, McCarthy made additional accusations of Communist infiltration into the State Department, the administration of President Harry S Truman, the Voice of America, and the US Army.


Joseph McCarthy continued to speak against communism and socialism until his death at the age of 48 at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 2,1957.


Joseph McCarthy is the last Republican to have held, or won election to, Wisconsin's Class I Senate seat.


Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 on a farm in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, the fifth of nine children.

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Joseph McCarthy's father, Timothy McCarthy, was born in the United States, the son of an Irish father and a German mother.


Joseph McCarthy dropped out of junior high school at age 14 to help his parents manage their farm.


Joseph McCarthy entered Little Wolf High School, in Manawa, Wisconsin, when he was 20 and graduated in one year.


Joseph McCarthy worked his way through college by coaching, boxing etc.


Joseph McCarthy first studied electrical engineering for two years, then law, and received a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1935 from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.


In 1939, Joseph McCarthy had better success when he ran for the nonpartisan elected post of 10th District circuit judge.


Joseph McCarthy's judgements had often been reversed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and he was so inefficient that he had piled up a huge backlog of cases.


Wisconsin had strict divorce laws, but when Joseph McCarthy heard divorce cases, he expedited them whenever possible, and he made the needs of children involved in contested divorces a priority.


When it came to other cases argued before him, Joseph McCarthy compensated for his lack of experience as a jurist by demanding and relying heavily upon precise briefs from the contesting attorneys.


In 1942, shortly after the US entered World War II, Joseph McCarthy joined the United States Marine Corps, despite the fact that his judicial office exempted him from military service.


Joseph McCarthy served as an intelligence briefing officer for a dive bomber squadron VMSB-235 in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville for 30 months, and held the rank of captain by the time he resigned his commission in April 1945.


Joseph McCarthy volunteered to fly twelve combat missions as a gunner-observer.


Joseph McCarthy remained in the Marine Corps Reserve after the war, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.


However, his commander revealed that Joseph McCarthy had written this letter himself, probably while preparing award citations and commendation letters as an additional duty, and that he had signed his commander's name, after which Nimitz signed it during the process of just signing numerous other such letters.


Joseph McCarthy campaigned for the Republican Senate nomination in Wisconsin while still on active duty in 1944 but was defeated by Alexander Wiley, the incumbent.


Joseph McCarthy then began a much more systematic campaign for the 1946 Republican Senate primary nomination, with support from Thomas Coleman, the Republican Party's political boss in Wisconsin.


Joseph McCarthy claimed La Follette had made huge profits from his investments while he, McCarthy, had been away fighting for his country.


Joseph McCarthy had invested in the stock market himself during the war, netting a profit of $42,000 in 1943.

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Where Joseph McCarthy got the money to invest in the first place remains a mystery.


The suggestion that La Follette had been guilty of war profiteering was deeply damaging, and Joseph McCarthy won the primary nomination 207,935 votes to 202,557.


Journalist Arnold Beichman later stated that McCarthy "was elected to his first term in the Senate with support from the Communist-controlled United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, CIO", which preferred McCarthy to the anti-communist Robert M La Follette.


In 1950, Joseph McCarthy assaulted journalist Drew Pearson in the cloakroom at the Sulgrave Club, reportedly kneeing him in the groin.


Joseph McCarthy, who admitted the assault, claimed he merely "slapped" Pearson.


In 1952, using rumors collected by Pearson as well as other sources, Nevada publisher Hank Greenspun wrote that Joseph McCarthy was a frequent patron at the White Horse Inn, a Milwaukee gay bar, and cited his involvement with young men.


Allen Dulles, who suspected Joseph McCarthy was using information supplied by Hoover, refused to cooperate.


Joseph McCarthy was a popular speaker, invited by many different organizations, covering a wide range of topics.


Joseph McCarthy's aides and many in the Washington social circle described him as charming and friendly, and he was a popular guest at cocktail parties.


Joseph McCarthy was far less well liked among fellow senators who found him quick-tempered and prone to impatience and even rage.


Joseph McCarthy was active in labor-management issues, with a reputation as a moderate Republican.


Joseph McCarthy fought against continuation of wartime price controls, especially on sugar.


Joseph McCarthy was critical of the convictions because the German soldiers' confessions were allegedly obtained through torture during the interrogations.


Joseph McCarthy argued that the US Army was engaged in a coverup of judicial misconduct, but never presented any evidence to support the accusation.


Joseph McCarthy experienced a meteoric rise in national profile beginning on February 9,1950, when he gave a Lincoln Day speech to the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia.


At the time of Joseph McCarthy's speech, communism was a significant concern in the United States.


Joseph McCarthy himself was taken aback by the massive media response to the Wheeling speech, and he was accused of continually revising both his charges and figures.


Joseph McCarthy hid the source of his list, stating that he had penetrated the "iron curtain" of State Department secrecy with the aid of "some good, loyal Americans in the State Department".


Joseph McCarthy began investigations into homosexuals working in the foreign policy bureaucracy, who were considered prime candidates for blackmail by the Soviets.


Joseph McCarthy's methods brought on the disapproval and opposition of many.

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Joseph McCarthy sought to discredit his critics and political opponents by accusing them of being Communists or communist sympathizers.


In speeches supporting Butler, Joseph McCarthy accused Tydings of "protecting Communists" and "shielding traitors".


Joseph McCarthy's staff was heavily involved in the campaign and collaborated in the production of a campaign tabloid that contained a composite photograph doctored to make it appear that Tydings was in intimate conversation with Communist leader Earl Russell Browder.


Joseph McCarthy said it was "wrong" to distribute it; though staffer Jean Kerr thought it was fine.


Dirksen, and indeed all the candidates Joseph McCarthy supported, won their elections, and those he opposed lost.


The elections, including many that Joseph McCarthy was not involved in, were an overall Republican sweep.


Joseph McCarthy was now regarded as one of the most powerful men in the Senate and was treated with new-found deference by his colleagues.


Joseph McCarthy characterized Truman and the Democratic Party as soft on, or even in league with, Communists, and spoke of the Democrats' "twenty years of treason".


Joseph McCarthy made a lengthy speech on Marshall, later published in 1951 as a book titled America's Retreat From Victory: The Story of George Catlett Marshall.


Marshall had been involved in American foreign policy with China, and Joseph McCarthy charged that Marshall was directly responsible for the loss of China to Communism.


In December 1950, Joseph McCarthy teamed with right-wing radio star Fulton Lewis Jr.


Joseph McCarthy identified himself as Catholic, and although the great majority of Catholics were Democrats, as his fame as a leading anti-Communist grew, he became popular in Catholic communities across the country, with strong support from many leading Catholics, diocesan newspapers, and Catholic journals.


Joseph McCarthy established a bond with the powerful Kennedy family, which had high visibility among Catholics.


Joseph McCarthy dated two of Kennedy's daughters, Patricia and Eunice.


Robert Kennedy was chosen by Joseph McCarthy to be a counsel for his investigatory committee, but he resigned after six months due to disagreements with Joseph McCarthy and Committee Counsel Roy Marcus Cohn.


Mindful of the anti-Catholic prejudice which Al Smith faced during his 1928 campaign for that office, Joseph Kennedy supported McCarthy as a national Catholic politician who might pave the way for a younger Kennedy's presidential candidacy.


Joseph McCarthy did not campaign for Kennedy's 1952 opponent, Republican incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.


Still, he never directly confronted Joseph McCarthy or criticized him by name in any speech, thus perhaps prolonging Joseph McCarthy's power by giving the impression that even the President was afraid to criticize him directly.


Later, Joseph McCarthy hired Gerard David Schine, heir to a hotel-chain fortune, on the recommendation of George Sokolsky.


Joseph McCarthy's browbeating tactics destroyed careers of people who were not involved in the infiltration of our government.

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Many VOA personnel were questioned in front of television cameras and a packed press gallery, with Joseph McCarthy lacing his questions with hostile innuendo and false accusations.


Joseph McCarthy then recited the list of supposedly pro-communist authors before his subcommittee and the press.


For some Joseph McCarthy opponents, this was a signal defeat of the senator, showing he was not as invincible as he had formerly seemed.


Joseph McCarthy, newly married to Jean Kerr, cut short his honeymoon to open the investigation.


Joseph McCarthy garnered some headlines with stories of a dangerous spy ring among the army researchers, but after weeks of hearings, nothing came of his investigations.


Unable to expose any signs of subversion, Joseph McCarthy focused instead on the case of Irving Peress, a New York dentist who had been drafted into the army in 1952 and promoted to major in November 1953.


Joseph McCarthy subpoenaed Peress to appear before his subcommittee on January 30,1954.


Peress refused to answer Joseph McCarthy's questions, citing his rights under the Fifth Amendment.


Joseph McCarthy claimed that the accusation was made in bad faith, in retaliation for his questioning of Zwicker the previous year.


The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, usually chaired by Joseph McCarthy himself, was given the task of adjudicating these conflicting charges.


The army consulted with an attorney familiar with Joseph McCarthy to determine the best approach to attacking him.


Joseph McCarthy stated that McCarthy "has become a major liability to the cause of anti-communism", and accused him of "wild twisting of facts and near-facts [that] repels authorities in the field".


Joseph McCarthy stepped in and said that if Welch was so concerned about persons aiding the Communist Party, he should check on a man in his Boston law office named Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, a progressive lawyers' association.


Joseph McCarthy delivered her "Declaration of Conscience" speech on June 1,1950, calling for an end to the use of smear tactics, without mentioning McCarthy or anyone else by name.


Joseph McCarthy referred to Smith and her fellow senators as "Snow White and the six dwarfs".


Joseph McCarthy recommended that McCarthy turn his attention to the worldwide encroachment of Communism outside North America.


The Zwicker count was dropped by the full Senate on the grounds that Joseph McCarthy's conduct was arguably "induced" by Zwicker's own behavior.


Joseph McCarthy's opposition failed to gain any traction and he was the only senator to vote against Brennan's confirmation.


Joseph McCarthy had always been a heavy drinker, and there were times in those seasons of discontent when he drank more than ever.


Joseph McCarthy went on the wagon for days and weeks at a time.

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Joseph McCarthy went to pieces on his second or third drink, and he did not snap back quickly.


However, Joseph McCarthy's identity was known to Anslinger's agents, and journalist Maxine Cheshire confirmed his identity with Will Oursler, co-author of The Murderers, in 1978.


Joseph McCarthy died in the Bethesda Naval Hospital on Thursday, May 2,1957, at the age of 48.


Joseph McCarthy was given a state funeral that was attended by 70 senators, and a Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass was celebrated before more than 100 priests and 2,000 others at Washington's St Matthew's Cathedral.


Joseph McCarthy was buried in St Mary's Parish Cemetery, Appleton, Wisconsin, where more than 17,000 people filed through St Mary's Church in order to pay him their last respects.


Joseph McCarthy was survived by his wife, Jean, and their adopted daughter, Tierney.


Joseph McCarthy addressed a real problem: disloyal elements within the US government.


Worst of all, Joseph McCarthy besmirched the honorable cause of anti-communism.


Joseph McCarthy discredited legitimate efforts to counter Soviet subversion of American institutions.


Joseph McCarthy's hearings are often incorrectly conflated with the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee.


HUAC was a House committee, and as such it had no formal connection to Joseph McCarthy, who served in the Senate, although the existence of the House Un-American Activities Committee thrived in part as a result of Joseph McCarthy's activities.


Joseph McCarthy was traditionally depicted in a negative light, normally pertaining to McCarthyism and his accusations.


Joseph McCarthy was impersonated by nightclub and radio impressionists and was satirized in Mad magazine, on The Red Skelton Show, and elsewhere.


Joseph McCarthy remains a major character in the 1962 film version.


Joseph McCarthy was portrayed by Peter Boyle in the 1977 Emmy-winning television movie Tail Gunner Joe, a dramatization of Joseph McCarthy's life.


Joseph McCarthy was portrayed by Joe Don Baker in the 1992 HBO film Citizen Cohn.


Archival footage of McCarthy himself was used in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck about Edward R Murrow and the See It Now episode that challenged McCarthy.


In Lee Daniels' 2020 film, The United States vs Billie Holiday, Joseph McCarthy is portrayed by actor Randy Davison.


Historian John Earl Haynes, who studied the Venona decryptions extensively, challenged Herman's efforts to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy, arguing that Joseph McCarthy's attempts to "make anti-communism a partisan weapon" actually "threatened [the post-War] anti-Communist consensus", thereby ultimately harming anti-Communist efforts more than helping them.