McCarthyism: Was Senator Joe McCarthy Right or Wrong?

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A 1947 propaganda comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society raising the specter of a Communist takeover

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, “McCarthyism” soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.

During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies.

The Primary Targets of such Suspicions were

Government Employees,

those in the

Entertainment Industry,

Educators and Union Activists

Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person’s real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment and/or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned,[1] laws that would be declared unconstitutional,[2] dismissals for reasons later declared illegal[3] or actionable,[4] or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.

The most famous examples of McCarthyism include the speeches, investigations, and hearings of Senator McCarthy himself; the Hollywood blacklist, associated with hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); and the various anti-communist activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover. McCarthyism was a widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all levels of society and was the source of a great deal of debate and conflict in the United States.

Read more about this at:

You’ve Been Warned Again America

17 responses to “McCarthyism: Was Senator Joe McCarthy Right or Wrong?

  1. Good Morning America ;)

    They didn’t wake up then and one has to wonder if We the People can Wake them Up Now? :(


  2. Great post samiam60. There was a time where people were scared pantless when Joe McCarthy put on display, pre cold war, those who were undermining our way of life. I remember through the documentaries presented of those times.
    People should realize the names of the causes were changed as they retreated into the shadows only to come back and rebrand themselves for another comeback.
    I should note that as a young boy I tried to catch nitecrawlers for fishing, some would retreat back into their holes. As I learned better I waited a bit longer to catch the juicier ones (patience) for success.
    In retrospect McCarthy was on the right side to call out the eminent threats that faced our nation. We the people of like minds should and can be the new defenders to root out this newer infection.


    • Good Afternoon Michael. Your story about night crawlers brings back many a found memories of my youth. A perfect analogy of the Communist Party USA.


  3. Great post Sam.
    The recent comment by Mitt Romney on the Sean Hannity show stating that Obama was “a nice guy”, is indicative of a potential failure on Romney’s part to truly recognize the enemy.
    Michelle Malkin has a post up that is a refresher of what the Obama administration is capable of.
    Romney had better read and heed this,….


  4. Reblogged this on theconservativehillbilly and commented:
    McCarthy was right!


  5. The Mad Jewess

    He was RIGHT. Everyone knows it now


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  10. The venona papers,along with the old kgb archives in moscow,have reaveled that most if not all of the people accused by Mccarthy did indeed have ties to soviet intelligence.Heck Krushchev praised the rosenbergs for providing them the know how for their atomic program.If that did not set off alert bells, then many would be hidden for decades,and one can still hear that old kgb agent/colonel proudly boasting about how they infiltrated,subverted and demoralized a generation with the help of addle minded leftist here in america


  11. Yes, Joe McCarthy was right. First of all, his main purpose was to investigate the State Department for lax security issues, not the individual communists. On top of that, most of the people he named (especially the big names like Lattimore and Annie Lee Moss) were, in fact, Soviet agents, named by the VENONA files. If they were not spies, they were still security risks. They were under the influence of Soviet spies and should not be employed in the state department handling sensitive information. As a government job is a privilege, not a right, such employees should be held to a higher moral standard. He was still justified in naming the few that were not on the VENONA files, as they still held a risk if they were under the influence of Commies or just dumb in general. It is also important to remember that NO ONE was denied their due process rights when questioned by McCarthy. Also, even if they were not SPIES and simply members of the CPUSA, they also should not be employed in the government as VENONA named CPUSA to be on their (the Russian’s) side. The KGB would give them money and they would advocate the overthrow of the USA. Being a Commie party member would be like the equivalent of joining Al Qaeda. Anyway, Joe was right. Sorry for the long comment…I got bored.


    • Excellent comment Kat and thank you for sharing this with us. So many are clueless to the McCarthy era and you have given us the best view of it to date.