Joseph R. McCarthy
U.S. Senator of WisconsinThe only way that I can keep faith with the people who have given me that high honor of manning the watchtowers of this nation is to continue the fight, regardless of how deep the scars may be, regardless of how rough the fight may get. On March 17, 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy appeared before the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago to discuss the continuing threat of communism, and to defend his conduct against mounting criticism of his investigation of alleged Communists in the United States. That spring, the opportunistic senator had finally overreached himself when he took on the U.S. Army, accusing Secretary of the Army Robert P. Stevens of hampering his investigative committee's attempt to uncover Communist infiltration in the U.S. military. On April 23, 1954, the Army-McCarthy hearings began on Capitol Hill, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower urged Stevens to launch a counterattack against McCarthy. The televised hearings, which stretched over two months, exposed McCarthy to the American public as a reckless and excessive tyrant who never produced proper documentation for a single one of his charges. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure him. By his death from alcoholism in 1957, McCarthy's influence in American society and government was negligible. However, many of the hundreds of innocent officials and civilians whose reputations had been destroyed by McCarthy and his unlawful accusations never recovered.