tv Senator Joe Mc Carthys Enemies from Within Speech CSPAN April 10, 2015 9:08pm-9:24pm EDT
the term mccarthy has entered the lexicon right here on this spot. today, we are in the hotel at 12th and market street in wheeling, west virginia. which is important because of its association with senator joseph mccarthy. joseph mccarthy was only 40 in 1950 when he came to wheeling. he was not a well-regarded senator at that time. he had a pension for calling his fellow senators' names. he was always a rather rumpled and had an edge to him.
>> he had been elected to the senate in 1946. he was coming up for reelection in 1952. this was 1950. and a lot of people felt he hadn't done a lot. and he was getting a little concerned. he got a group of advisors together in the colony in d.c. one of which was a jesuit priest from georgetown. and he said what can i run on? i need an issue. and the jesuuit priest pushed anticommunism trarders in the government. that was kind of the basis for his hilting on a theme for his re-election campaign. you have understand, too, at that time in american history, it was different than today. >> physical appearance accounts for nothing.
if he openly declares himself to be a communist, we take his word for it. >> it was called the age of anxiety. the time of the great fear. five years after world war ii the communists armies had taken pretty much eastern europe. in 1949, in the fall of 1949 america has decided that yes, communism had taken over china. then the gop the same week, came out with their mat form. and the basis of their platform was they went after true man and the democrats. they were soft on communism. they were soermistist. they were bringing about the downfall of america. people were hearing this. they were very upset about what was going on. and so that was the back ground for mccarthy coming to wheeling. now, it was at the time of the lincoln day dinner. across the country republicans
were fanning out speakers to speak at the great gathering of the lincoln day dinners. and so mccarthy was ape signed to wheeling. now, wheeling at that time x was not a big city. we had 59,000 people. it was thursday, february 9th, 1950. it was to start at 6:30. it was the ohio county republican womens club and it was in the papers for days before how they were organizing. this was a big deal for wheeling. he was introduced by william kal happen who was the regional republican big whig. and they described the talk that he gave as intimate and humorous and kind of folksy. he had an irish wit about him.
he pretty much talked about the republican platform. he didn't say too much. he talked about the war between good and evil. he talked about the trial. he had just been con vkted some weeks before of perjury but actually, he was being convicted as a spy. that was a very big deal. what was the key to the talk and what started him on the road to what became known as mccarthyism. what
answers. he even invited the army to talk to him. and there it lay. now, wwva the local radio station, had carried his talk. one of the reporters from the wheeling intelligencer in the paper the next day, had reported verbatim, a lot of what he had said. when mccarthy was to go back to the airport, he was shown the paper and the headline in the wheeling paper was mccarthy charges the rez hold u.s. jobs and they say he was tickled with the headline and it was beginning to dawn on him he had something here. and he was set up for a series of stalks. the next day, he sflu out to salt lake city. and then, after that, he was going to go to reno nevada and another.
then in his next series of talks, he went to 201. he was always changing the number because he had no list. he had no names. it was all a big lie. and several weeks, only several weeks later in march the great cartoonist for the washington post did a cartoon. n the last two years of true man's time 6,000 people left government. i mean there were all kinds of questionnaires and security checks on people in government to an nth degree. and we lost experts in the state department because of this crusade.
>> they said people started to joke about point of order on the streets of america. but when tv showed for 36 days running the kind of guy he was, he asked a lot of public support. and then he tried toe name this young lawyer. and whatever he named somebody, it was like tar on them. and he named this young lawyer and this lawyer dealt with the man just went after mccarthy.
>> you've done enough. >> i know this hurts you. >> mr. vice president mccarthy, i will not discus this farther with you. you have sat within six feet of me and koild have asked me about fred fisher. you have seemed fit to bring it out. and if there is a god in heaven, it will do neither you noer your cause any good.
republicans lost the senate in 1954. and they did by a vote of i think 67-22. and all the people voted for him were republicans. and that was the end of him, pretty much. at the end of the trail there was never anybody in the government that they could prove was a card-carrying communist. mccarthy had lost his base. and he kind of faded away. this was a man who needed con stant attention. when he walked in a room, he wanted to be noticed. without that, he lost something of himself. he began to drink more heavily. and he actually was dead within 7 years of wheeling. he was 48 years of age. he died of cirrhosis of the liver.
his body shut down because of the heavy drinking. it was not a good impact on the country. >> we are in the federal district courtroom of the united states custom house of wheeling virginia finished in 1859, that is now known as west virginia independence hall. this is the birth place of the great state of west virginia during the american civil war. it will be the place in which conventions will be held that would form a new government for virginia. a government for virginia loyal to the united states and the union. and this new government for
virginia will then create the new state of west virginia. our nation was in the midst of a terrible civil war. those in eastern virginia predom innocently were supportive of the confederacy. when virginia takes her vote for secession, the last vote, the majority of virginia delegates will vote to secede from the united states and to join the southern confederacy. now, those delegates from north wesz tern virginia who was overwhelmingly against secession, they would come back to this side of the mountains in northwestern virginia. they would have mass meetings, public meetings to decide what north western virginia would do. they decided that wheeling wow be the best place to have that convention.