Oh McCarthy!

Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was barely known outside of Wisconsin, the state he was elected for. In order to make up for that he claimed that he had a list of 205 communists working for the State Department. He did this in February 1950, during a speech at Wheeling, West Virginia. Although this was totally fabricated, he convinced the Senate subcommittee that he chaired to hold hearing against many people, as well as the Defense Department, The Voice of America, and many other government agencies. This was only happening because people believed what McCarthy was saying. However, this would not last for much longer.

In 1954 the Senate looked into something that McCarthy claimed was true. He said that the army had coddled communists. The army decided to hold publicly televised hearing with McCarthy, and those ultimately led America to finally see that McCarthy made all his accusations without any basis. McCarthy died only three years later.

Senator McCarthy changed the near and distant future in many ways. This most important thing he did was that he created this extreme fear of communism, for no reason. He made America believe that the communists were not only in our country, but within our own government. Many people were wary of the government during this time period, and it was only due to the fictitious accusations of McCarthy. I do not think that the anticommunist movement would have been so strong if McCarthy was not a part of it. His words were gobbled up by the public because he was working in Congress. He used his power to try and gain fame.

McCarthy also had an impact on today’s times. He affected the way we accept information as true. Nowadays we don’t just accept what anybody says. We investigate every detail, we ask for sources, and we challenge everything we can. Back in the 50’s McCarthy was able to get away with saying what he wanted, and not many people questioned him. However, we learned from our mistakes, and we saw the importance of challenging out superiors, and finding out if what they are saying is actually true.