- WASHINGTON -- Although Joseph
McCarthy was one of the most demonized American politicians of the last
century, new information -- including half-century-old FBI recordings of
Soviet embassy conversations -- are showing that McCarthy was right in
nearly all his accusations.
- "With Joe McCarthy it was the losers who've written
the history which condemns him," said Dan Flynn, director of <http://www.academia.org
Accuracy in Academia's recent national conference on McCarthy, broadcast
- Using new information obtained from studies of old Soviet
files in Moscow and now the famous Vanona Intercepts -- FBI recordings
of Soviet embassy communications between 1944-48 -- the record is showing
that McCarthy was essentially right. He had many weaknesses, but almost
every case he charged has now been proven correct. Whether it was stealing
atomic secrets or influencing U.S. foreign policy, communist victories
in the 1940s were fed by an incredibly vast spy and influence network.
- The conference, a gathering of old McCarthyites and younger
scholars, commemorated the senator's first speech, in Wheeling, West Virginia
50 years ago, when he first held up a list of names of employees of the
State Department whom, he said, were major security risks. McCarthy questioned
how, in six short years after America's winning of World War II, the communist
world was triumphant and had expanded to include 800 million people.
- Of the lists, a key one consisted of 108 names from a
House Appropriations Committee report, of persons declared as "security
risks" in the State Department -- the Lee List. The House committee
chairman had complained that State wasn't bothering to do anything about
the suspects. Details of the list and its accusations were presented at
- Speakers detailed many of the cover-ups used to smear
McCarthy. Veteran journalist and teacher Stan Evans, director of National
Journalism Center, told of the Tydings Committee, which had investigated
McCarthy's charges of communists in government. Its report had exonerated
everybody. Among the accused it stated categorically that there was no
evidence against Owen Lattimore, a man McCarthy said was a major figure
in the communist conspiracy. Lattimore had been Roosevelt's key advisor
on China policy. Yet Evans showed evidence from 5,000 pages of FBI files
on him -- files released only a few years ago to the public, although the
White House had access to them.
- However, evidence before the committee showed that Lattimore
had supported Soviet policy at every turn, even declaring that the Stalin
purge trials in Russia, "sound like democracy to me." With then-Vice
President Henry Wallace in Russia, Lattimore compared concentration camps
to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and later urged Washington to abandon
China to communism and to withdraw from Japan and Korea. FBI chief J. Edgar
Hoover, who had fed information to McCarthy, broke with him afterwards,
fearing McCarthy would prejudice FBI sources of information for its criminal
- Although most of McCarthy's cases involved actual spies
and "security risks," the really important issue was that of
communist influence over American foreign policy, argued Evans. Harry Hopkins,
Roosevelt's closest advisor who lived in the White House, had regular contacts
with Soviet intelligence. He helped bring about the disastrous Yalta and
Pottsdam agreements. The Morganthau Plan, to prevent German reconstruction
and starve the Germans to make them desperate enough to go communist, was
the product of Laughlin Currie and Harry Dexter White at the Treasury Department.
The abandonment of Chiang Kai-shek by denying military support was the
product of "China Hands" led by John Stewart Service, John Patton
Davies, and Lattimore. Evans described other major spy networks -- in England,
the Burgess Maclean group which infiltrated Washington as well as London.
- Reed Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, told how
he himself had been a leftist in his early career. He had been against
McCarthy, but McCarthy's speeches had made him think and start to read
"evidence that I had avoided." He described how all during his
military career as a Marine officer and later in Japan with the U.S. occupation
he had never hidden his leftist views and later had even been offered a
job at the CIA. Irvine argued that real communists were only in the hundreds,
but that thousands of leftists, such as he, all feared McCarthy and had
wanted him discredited.
- Pulling all the latest evidence together was luncheon
speaker Professor Arthur Herman. His new book, "Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining
the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator," and featured
in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, shows the vindication of most of
McCarthy's charges. Herman, who is also coordinator of the Smithsonian's
Western Heritage Program, said that the accuracy of McCarthy's charges
"was no longer a matter of debate," that they are "now accepted
as fact." However, the term "McCarthyism" still remains
in the language.
- Asked whether McCarthy had understood all the forces
arrayed against him, Herman said no, that McCarthy hadn't realized he'd
be fighting against much of the Washington establishment. President Truman
was fearful that exposures would reflect on key Democrat officials, he
said, and big media and the academic world were very leftist, a heritage
of the Depression and World War II. High government officials also feared
investigations of their past appointments and associations with people
who turned out to be communists or sympathizers.
- That was the reason McCarthy was so demonized, he said.
- Joe McCarthy had been a Marine air gunner, an amateur
boxer, a county judge and towards his end, under constant attack, he began
to drink heavily. Herman said he certainly was over his head and his fall
came about after sweeping attacks on General Marshall and the Army. Senator
Taft and other key supporters began to draw away from him.
- If Robert Kennedy, his competent and well-connected co-counsel,
had stayed on, McCarthy might have behaved more carefully, said Herman.
An argument with other co-counsel Roy Cohn left Cohn in charge, but Cohn
and staffer David Schine were disastrous for McCarthy. Still, McCarthy's
original charges helped bring about Eisenhower's electoral victory and
the defeat of the Democrats and key leftist Democratic senators such as
Tydings of Maryland. Four years after his original charges, Joe McCarthy
was censured by the Senate and died shortly thereafter.
- There is more evidence to come. Herb Rome Stein, another
speaker, who started out with the old House Un-American Activities Committee,
is writing a book about the Vanona FBI intercepts and their links to other
evidence from his comprehensive study in Russia of Soviet archives, made
available to Westerners since the fall of communism. His book, The Vanona
Secrets, will be released by Regnery Gateway this fall.
Audiotapes of the "Accuracy in Academia" conference are available
- <mailto:email@example.com Jon Utley, a former
foreign correspondent in Latin America and a longtime commentator for the
Voice of America, is the Robert A. Taft Fellow for Constitutional and International
Studies at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
- From Michael Portaro <IndyBoosler@Mac.com
- After seeing the article on your site "Communism
- McCarthy was Right I was reminded of something. A few months ago my wife
and I rented a video about Senator McCarthy. We knew very little of him
and wanted to learn about all his atrocities. The film we rented was a
propaganda piece designed to slander McCarthy to the hilt. It came out
in the early 70,s and was introduced by Paul Newman. The only problem was,
after watching it, instead of coming away swayed that McCarthy was evil,
it had the opposite effect. It made us question if he,s really gotten a
fair shake. This article that I found does an excellent job of explaining
a lot of the apparent disinformation about Joe McCarthy... I,m still undecided
on the guy, but I think he was probably correct, but just went about things
in a very bad way. I also think that a lot of things that went on around
the communist hunt of the 50,s that had nothing to do with Senator McCarthy
has been attributed to him anyway (like going after hollywood stars, writers
and dirctors... which he didn,t).
- Michael Portaro
- Clarkston, MI
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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