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DAVID BESHARIM NOTECARDS

Historiographical Article

Reeves, Thomas C. "McCarthyism: Interpretations since Hofstadter." Wisconsin Historical Society. 1st ed. 1976. JSTOR. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. .



Book 1

O'Neill, William L. American High: The Years of Confidence, 1945 -1960. New York: Free, 1989. Print.


Republican Desperation Reeves | 47-48

In 1960, political scientist Nelson W. Polsby concluded, “McCarthy succeeded at the grass roots primarily among Republicans.” He found that McCarthy became a national figure for these reasons:

1. The GOP was desperate after a demoralizing defeat in 1948.

2. As a Senator, McCarthy had power, staff, immunity from libel suits.

3. McCarthy was skilled at using mass media and boldly misused evidence.

4. Truman’s administration was vulnerable about Communists in government (due to McCarthy’s never ending accusations of a communist white house administration).

5. Eisenhower’s emasculation of executive resistance to the Wisconsin Senator.

Product of political circumstance Reeves | 48


In The Communist Controversy in Washington, Earl Latham wrote “McCarthy acquired his vogue and most of his meaning from the immediate political circumstances which begot him, and for which he was the temporary instrument.”

Michael Paul Rogin in 1967 agreed in “The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter”


1.McCarthy ‘s popular support came from the right wing of the Midwestern Republican Party.

2. GOP leaders saw in McCarthy a path to national power.

3.Moderate Republicans who disagreed with McCarthy kept quiet to avoid a party split and to avoid being called out by him.

Revisionists Reeves 49-50


Truman bears responsibility for creating a Red scare to start costly foreign policy programs, defeat Republicans and discredit and destroy leftist critics.
Richard M. Freeland, in 1972, argued in “The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism, that Truman had set the stage for McCarthyism with his loyalty security program.

Truman’s Loyalty Program O’Neill 161/Fried 68


1. Truman’s loyalty program tried to identify not just those who had committed acts of espionage, or advocated the violent overthrow of the government, but those who might do so in the future.

2. Under Truman, about 1,210 people were dismissed from the civil service and 6,000 resigned.

3. The Presidents Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty was issued in 1946, hurriedly, as Congress was preparing to take charge of the topic.

4. This came barely a week after the Truman Doctrine was unveiled, which asked Congress to help Greece and Turkey resist Communist pressures. Having a program to fight Communism at home was viewed as key to financing such work overseas. (Fried, p 68)

History of Loyalty Programs Fried, p.54-55
Measures to assure the loyalty of government employees that were employed in the Roosevelt administration during World War II.
FDR established the Interdepartmental Committee on Employee Investigations ICEI in 1943. The ICEI required employees who had briefly belonged to subversive groups to prove they had broken away.

Origins of McCarthyism O’Neill 58


Much of the machinery and the discourse of McCarthyism was in place before the Cold War or McCarthy’s advent. The main impetus behind this development came from conservatives of both parties, but especially Republicans, who deplored the new Deal and the changes it brought to American life.”

Truman’s Loyalty Program O’Neill 160-1


Alan Barth, the foremost libertarian Constitutional authority of the day, said the loyalty program established by President Truman, a Democrat, in 1947, gave the Attorney General “perhaps the most arbitrary and far-reaching power ever exercised by a single public official in the history of the United States.”

McCarthyism: A Political Strategy O’Neill | 168


“McCarthyism was above all a Republican strategy designed to undo the crime of ’48. Under President Dewey there would have been no Red Scare because a Republican administration could not be blamed for past laxity or accused of harboring traitors (since it had not been in power for a very long time) and, being already in office, would have had little to gain from exploiting the loyalty issue.”
The Pubs’ (that’s my slang for republicans) knew McCarthyism had its holes but were using this as a method of boosting party popularity since they could not be blamed for past laxity in govt.

Alger Hiss O’Neill 152-154


The Alger Hiss case and Hiss’ conviction by a jury on Jan. 21, 1950, set the stage for and prompted heightened public interest when Sen. Joseph McCarthy gave his famous speech three weeks later charging there were still 205 Communists working in the State Department. (complete and utter exaduration by McCarthy, but he could get away with it because the public didn’t ask questions and the people who saw through his cockamamie were too scared to be judged by their peers if they spoke out against it.

Before McCarthyism O’Neill 142


In 1945, the House Un-American Activities Committee was made a standing committee with broad powers. Hollywood was their first target. Communists were identified; writers and actors lost income and work. Blacklisting was even worse in radio and television after 1950.

Status Theory Reeves| 44


Starting in 1954, some began to interpret McCarthyism as one man’s scramble for status and secure identity. This theory held that any and all supporters of McCarthyism had blindly bought into an unconscious hatred of American society. False fears of a movement that was conspiring to renew the government, and with it, the power structure it maintained. (Hofstadter)=


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