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McCarthy - A Documented Record

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Freedom's Most Effective Weapon


THIS ISSUE of The Progressive is devoted entirely to presenting a documented report of the public record of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy.

Our purpose is two-fold: 1) to provide the people of the United States with the factual background to help them evaluate the public statements and actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin; and 2) to make available to our friends of the free world authentic materials which will enable them to gain a clearer perspective of the meaning of McCarthyism and the extent to which it is at war with the finest traditions of Americanism.

The urgent need for a solid study of McCarthy’s record has never been greater: • The activities of the Senate Committee over which he presides command front-page headlines throughout the world and provide much of the material by which the world judges American policy and purpose. • The Senator himself has become the symbol of a state of mind which has lowered our stature and dignity as a nation and reduced measurably our capacity for leadership in the struggle against Communism. McCarthy has struck repeatedly at the letter and the spirit of our Bill of Rights by using methods of intolerance and intimidation in an effort to create a national climate of hysteria, fear, and suppression. • The "ism" added to his name has become a generic symbol of guilt by accusation, character assassination, the big lie, and the repudiation of our country’s traditional devotion to fair play and a fair trial. • He has impaired the functioning of some of our most important defense laboratories, and he has battered at the morale of those who administer our country’s program of military defense.

• He has exercised a decisive influence, for the worse, on our civil service and our foreign service.

• He has left his mark of intolerance on the government, the churches, the schools and colleges, the literature and the press of our country.

• He has appointed himself a one-man purge squad committed to smearing and destroying those who disagree with him, and he has proclaimed to the country that he and his methods are to be the dominant issue in the political campaign of 1954.

It is in this last field of political action that the problem is most immediate, because Sen. McCarthy has announced that he plans to campaign in a number of states this year for the purpose of defeating Senators who have refused to embrace his policies. This, of course, is his privilege, just as it is the privilege of those who find his ways repugnant to fight back by exposing his record.



The purpose of this issue of The Progressive is to do just that by providing an arsenal of facts for those who share our abhorrence of McCarthy’s political morals and methods.

We don’t pretend to present McCarthy’s story; he has published books on it, filled countless pages of the Congressional Record and his Committee Reports with his own views, and has had access to the press, platform, radio, and television facilities of this country to a degree unmatched by any other member of the Senate. This, unashamedly, is a reply to McCarthy—a documented reply whose every fact has been checked and double-checked, and is backed by the official records.

Readers of this special issue of The Progressive may be interested in the background of the project. In the summer of 1952, when McCarthy was running for reelection to the Senate, a non-partisan group, the Wisconsin Citizens’ Committee on McCarthy’s Record, published The McCarthy Record for use in that campaign.

Based on 18 months of exhaustive research, The McCarthy Record bore the sponsorship of a group of distinguished citizens—_Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike— farmers, workers, educators, industrialists, merchants, doctors, lawyers, clergymen, editors, bankers, and housewives, who were drawn together by their "deep concern for the consequences of McCarthy’s conduct" and their determination "to make the truth available to the people."

The response to their efforts was an extraordinary demand for copies at $1 each. The McCarthy Record ran through three printings in a few months. The demand for copies came from every state and a score of foreign countries. A year and a half after the 1952 election, orders continue to pour in from every area of our country and from England, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Egypt, Israel, India, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippine Islands, and many another country.

But this demand, growing apace with the world headlines made by McCarthy’s sensational charges, could not be met. The supply was exhausted long ago. The Committee that produced The McCarthy Record, formed to serve only during the 1952 campaign, has dissolved. But before it disbanded, it assigned the copyright to its Editor, who is also Editor of The Progressive.

Much of the material in The McCarthy Record—_whose accuracy, by the way, was never challenged by McCarthy appears in condensed form in this issue. It was condensed to make room for the vast amount of new material which has become available since The McCarthy Record went to press in June, 1952. Although this issue of The Progressive thus represents an up-dated version of The McCarthy Record and contains some of the original material, the sponsors of that study bear no responsibility for the contents of this issue of The Progressive.


We believe it is especially timely to publish this study of McCarthy’s record in this year of our 45th Anniversary. Founded in 1909 by the late Robert Marion LaFollette, Sr., this magazine was dedicated from the first issue to the Biblical principle that "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."  It has a long record of exposing and combating political doctrines and demagogues bent on diluting or destroying the great American ideals of freedom and tolerance. This has been true for four and a half decades, whether the un-Americanism were Kluxism, Communism, or McCarthyism.

Thirty years ago, in his Presidential campaign of 1924, "Fighting Bob" LaFollette repudiated Communist support in language that left no doubt of his position. Writing in this magazine, he denounced the Communists for seeking to "divide and confuse the Progressive Movement and create a condition of chaos favorable to their ends. . . To pretend that Communists can work with progressives who believe in democracy is deliberately to deceive the public. The Communists are antagonistic to the progressive cause and their only purpose in joining such a movement is to disrupt it."

Twenty-two years later the Communists again sought to attach themselves to a Wisconsin political figure, this time with greater success. It was the campaign year of 1946; Joseph R. McCarthy was running against the incumbent U.S. Senator, "Fighting Bob’s" son, Bob, Jr. The Communists, furious at LaFollette because he was even then warning his countrymen of the expansionist ambitions of Soviet imperialism, threw their support to McCarthy. Unlike the elder LaFollette under comparable conditions, McCarthy made no effort to repudiate Communist help in his campaign.

The Communists have had little to regret since they embraced McCarthy eight years ago. The factual record shows that in his hunger for headlines, the junior Senator from Wisconsin has actually strengthened the Communist cause by exploiting and magnifying tensions at home and sowing the seeds of doubt and disunity among our friends and allies abroad.

Similarly, contrast the political practices of a LaFollette and McCarthy in dealing with support from racists and merchants of hate. In the campaign of 1946, Gerald L. K. Smith, one of the country’s most notorious racists, sought to attach himself to the candidacy of Robert M. LaFollette, Jr. But Bob LaFollette repudiated that support in unmistakable terms July 5, 1946:

"I want to make it as emphatically clear as I can that I absolutely and without reservation of any kind whatsoever repudiate the support of Gerald L. K. Smith and any others who preach a gospel of hate and intolerance."

In contrast, McCarthy has made no public statement repudiating the support of Smith and his breed.

In publishing this special issue of The Progressive on McCarthy’s record, we are mindful of the fact that we shall be criticized by sincere and thoughtful Americans who share our repugnance for McCarthy. Their position, we suspect, will be based on their genuine conviction that we are aiding and abetting him by "giving him more publicity" and "building him up by taking him so seriously."

We can respect arid sympathize with this point of view because we held it once ourselves. We abandoned it, however, when the facts proved us wrong. It is a dangerous error, we are convinced, for the forces of decency in America to fail to regard the man and his "ism" with deep seriousness. His power today comes in great measure from our failure to fight back earlier. The evidence is overwhelming that McCarthyism cannot long survive where the people are given the truth about the character of his "crusade."

The most convincing proof was the 1952 election in Wisconsin. McCarthy carried every county in the state where all or a majority of the newspapers supported him, or refused to expose his contemptible conduct, or stood silent. But he lost every county in the state in which either a daily paper or a labor weekly fought him with the facts.

April, 1954

Milwaukee County, by far the largest in the state, is a good example. Although it had tipped the election to McCarthy in 1946, Milwaukee turned against him by nearly 100,000 votes in 1952—mainly because the Milwaukee Journal had conducted a crusading campaign against the man and his methods. Dane County (Madison) rejected McCarthy 48,000 to 29,000, largely because of the superb exposure of McCarthyism by the Madison Capital Times.

The great hope of the professional demagogue is to avoid public exposure while he plies his trade of creating hysteria, capitalizing on people’s fears, and diverting public attention from basic problems with side-show stunts. We are convinced

—and the events of the recent past strengthen that conviction-_that the most effective weapon against McCarthyism, as, indeed, against Communism, or any other counterfeit philosophy, is the truth.


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