Joseph McCarthy is the Wisconsin senator who in 1950 led the second red “scare”. He alleged a “conspiracy so immense” within the federal government that Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, steered American foreign policy through communist spies. Critics said Senator McCarthy had no proof for his claims. McCarthy was in fact conducting, they said, a witch hunt to destroy the lives and jobs and reputations of persons with liberal and socialist political views.
Wikipedia describes McCarthyism as “the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence” and “reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries”.
“The second Red Scare did not involve pogroms or gulags, but the fear of unemployment was a powerful tool for stifling criticism of the status quo.” And “anticommunist crusaders ironically undermined democracy by suppressing the expression of dissent.”98
McCarthyism is “1. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. 2. the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.”99
Political scientist Michael Rogin, writing in the Nation, said the cultural shift in the McCarthy era was “some kind of alien external force (that) had entered the body politic and threatens to destroy it from within.”100 It has since come to be used as a “byword for demagogic slander.”101
Herbert Block, a Washington Post cartoonist, coined the term in a March 29, 1950 editorial cartoon. He described McCarthyism as a disease and “a national affliction.” Dean Acheson, the Truman Secretary of State, called it “the revolt of the primitives.”102
“McCarthyism stands for the entire apparatus of repression set up in the 1940s and 1950s.”103
Senator McCarthy started his work warning of Soviet influence in American government in a speech Feb. 9 1950 at the McLure Hotel in Wheeling West Virginia. He addressed 275 members of the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club.
“I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals,” Sen. McCarthy said, “who would appear to be either card carrying Communists or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy.”104
The gist of his speech: “There was a serious problem of Communist infiltration in the State Department, that this had been improperly dealt with, and that strong measures would be needed to correct it.”105
Later that month McCarthy gave the Senate information about 81 individuals — the 57 referred to at Wheeling and 24 others.
Between 1950 and 1954, the McCarthy era, he publicly named 160 persons. The allegations he made attracted a great deal of attention due to the many victories of the Soviets in that era. The Soviets exploded a nuclear bomb on August 29 1949. The Soviets won China on October 1 1949. North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25 1950. Julius Rosenberg was convicted of stealing nuclear secrets on March 29 1951.
“This combination of events increased the Truman administration’s vulnerability to partisan attacks. Senator McCarthy claimed to explain those events by alleging that Communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department.”106
Communists in the American Federal Government
McCarthy started to investigate Soviet progressive spying in 1950. The 160 persons named publicly “had significant records of collaboration with or support for Communists and/or communist causes.”107 Sixty-seven McCarthy suspects were active state department employees. Eighty were active federal employees. Critics said he never named one actual communist, and that he named innocents, but we know now he named 10 spies and approximately 50 traitors. If he publicly named any innocent persons I am not aware of them, and there may be none.
The spies McCarthy did name include Solomon Adler (Treasury department representative in China), Cedric Belfrage, T.A. Bisson (World War II Board of Economic Warfare), V. Frank Coe (Director of Monetary Research in the United States Department of the Treasury), Lauchlin Currie (Executive Assistant to President Roosevelt responsible for the China portfolio), Harold Glasser (Economist in the Treasury Department), David Karr (Office of War Information), Mary Jane Keeney (Board of Economic Warfare), Leonard Mins (Office of Strategic Services), Franz Neumann (Board of Economic Warfare, Office of Strategic Services).108 Adler, Coe, and Currie played a major role in assisting Mao, the greatest murderer in history, to victory in China’s civil war.
In the first group of persons investigated by the senate, Senator McCarthy gave approximately 110 names to the Tydings committee. Of the names he gave Tydings, the committee cleared every person, but after the committee closed a total of 81 persons on the list were dismissed or forced to resign. Publicly it looked like McCarthy was wrong. Privately government officials knew McCarthy was right.
How serious was the problem? One estimate says 100 Soviet spies held federal government jobs in the years 1943 to 1945109 – five years before McCarthy started his work. The Soviet spy Elizabeth Bentley, an American citizen, came forward in Nov 1945. She named approximately 150 spies and 37 were federal employees.
The FBI started serious work investigating Soviet spying after Bentley’s revelations. She had confirmed many of the things which Whittaker Chambers had said. Chambers was an American communist and Soviet spy. He first came forward in 1939 with 24 names of spies in the US government.
The State Department, the primary target of McCarthy’s charges in 1950, knew there was a serious issue. They had known for some time. They had created a list of 341 security suspects in 1946. 295 of those State Department employees were removed. The problem didn’t go away. An estimated 150 State Department employees with communist ties held high-level posts in the mid-1950s — after McCarthy’s red “scare”.
In the big picture, not just at State but in the entire federal government, corroboration of the spy networks expanded dramatically after interception of encrypted Soviet cables. This allowed the FBI to confidently see beginning after World War II that the Soviets controlled a large number of federal government employees. The small number of cables which have been decrypted named approximately 349 Soviet spies; many working for the federal government.110 A related estimate says 400 Soviet spies worked for the federal government between the 1930s to the 1950s.111
The group of Soviet progressives in American government was much larger than the spy network. About 2,700 federal employees were dismissed between 1947 and 1956 after security reviews. 12,000 resigned.112
I take as a working hypothesis, for this essay, that the Soviet network between 1930 to 1950 was made of: A. 400 spies in the federal government. B. 15,000 American citizens loyal to progressive communism who worked for the federal government.
“There was in fact an immense conspiracy. … Far greater than most histories have suggested,” said M. Stanton Evans, author of Blacklisted by History, the icon-smashing breakthrough history of Sen. McCarthy.113
Communism in the McCarthy era was dedicated to the overthrow of capitalist societies. The Soviets led a global vanguard to take possession of capitalist countries from 1917 to 1991. The overthrow of America was their Holy Grail. McCarthy was pro-capitalist pro-America and pro-God; positions which were disgusting to the American progressive socialists. McCarthy believed employees dedicated to a communist revolution against America should be fired. He knew the problem was bad. It was worse than he knew.
“They (the Soviets) had active agents in the U.S. State Department, Treasury Department, Justice Department, Senate committee staffs, the military services, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Manhattan Project, and the White House, as well as wartime agencies. No modern government was more thoroughly penetrated.”114
Our current sources of information, many not known to McCarthy, include the confessions of the two Communist spies (Whittaker Chambers (1939) and Elizabeth Bentley (1945)), the testimony of defectors, the evidence provided by American spies, the 20,000 Venona cables which have been deciphered (of 200,000 intercepted), the release of data from Soviet archives after the country failed in 1991, FBI counter-intelligence investigations, which started in earnest after World War II, and congressional investigations.
“In their scope and effectiveness, the Soviet espionage operations in wartime America were without historical precedent. Never did one country steal so many political, diplomatic, scientific, and military secrets from another.”115
Many secrets were stolen, but the greater question resides in the measure of the impact of Stalin in the management and control of American foreign policy. An important case, playing out in the background of the McCarthy era, is the case of State Department diplomat John Stewart Service. He was arrested in 1945, but not indicted, for passing confidential information to the editor of the Asian-policy journal Amerasia. In the FBI raid on Amerasia on June 6th 1945, they seized 1,700 classified documents from the State Department, the Navy, OSS, and Office of War Information. McCarthy called the Justice Department failure to prosecute Service a cover-up.
He was right. There was a cover-up. The FBI had listened in as Service and his representatives worked with Truman justice department lawyers to fix the grand jury. The Truman justice department perpetrated a criminal cover-up of Service’s crimes. The justice department guaranteed Service would not be tried. You can imagine then why, five years after the 1945 arrest of Service, after all the traitors in government believed they had gotten away with it, when McCarthy brought it all back up again, he was a mortal danger both to the spies and to those who covered up the spying. Treason is a serious crime. Perpetrators may be punished by death.
Stalin’s servants in American government had influence which was “deep and extensive” and the “infiltrators wielded important leverage on U.S. foreign policy”. American citizens who were Soviet spies helped guide America toward failures in Europe, Indochina, Latin America, and African nations.116
Other facts apart from spying losses and treason are frightening to recount. If President Roosevelt had died prior to his fourth election, for example, his Vice President, Henry Wallace, would have been elevated. Wallace, an open socialist, said that if he attained the presidency he would make Laurence Duggan his Secretary of State and Harry Dexter White his Treasury Secretary. Both Duggan and White were Soviet spies.117 The three top officials in the United States would have been progressive communist socialists. Two of the three would be loyal servants of the great murderer Joseph Stalin. And Wallace, not known to be serving the Soviet Union, probably thought of Stalin as a great leader leading a great cause whose system the United States should emulate.
Many specifics of the damage caused by Soviet progressive treason are unknown. Alger Hiss at State and Harry White at Treasury, and spies in the atom project, stole “several thousands” of documents118 American progressives stole atomic secrets, radar secrets, jet propulsion secrets, and secrets about other military systems.119
In the area of policy the American progressives moved into a particularly evil category of treason. Their work made the Soviets a deep influence on U.S. foreign policy. “U.S. and other Allied leaders based decisions on false intelligence from pro-Soviet agents.”120
Federal government employees played a key role in Mao’s victory in the Chinese civil war. Mr. Service, the communist working for the State Department, and Sol Adler, a Soviet spy working for the Treasury Department, authored voluminous disinformation reports denouncing Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the free Chinese movement, and praising Mao.
Service and Adler sent “overlapping and interweaving reports”121 to the White House and executive branch. The Americans described Chiang, the free leader, as “corrupt despotic ineffective” and a collaborator with Japan. Service and Adler described Mao and the communists as “paragons of virtue, moderate and democratic, beloved of the people” and courageous fighters of Japan.
Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, one level from the president, said “I love these letters from Adler (the communist spy).”122 Three key Morgenthau advisers were Soviet agents.123
So effective was communist influence in the treasury that the president ordered money and supplies for free China, but his orders were countermanded by American progressives. The president ordered 153,000 tons of ammunition for Free China but only two percent of the order was delivered.124 “White (another communist spy at Treasury) engineered the Treasury’s fatal delay in providing a promised loan to support the currency of Nationalist China.”125
The State Department and the Treasury department helped elevate Mao to office by giving him arms, money, encouragement, and helped defeat Chiang by bankrupting him, by withholding arms, by attacking his reputation. The United States of America, through the actions of progressive spies in the state and treasury department, helped elevate the greatest mass murderer in the history of man. Mao began his killing spree ten years after McCarthy made public a conspiracy of treason.
The vast conspiracy of progressive treason in the U.S. government brought forth a great violent force to rise up and destroy McCarthy. Why did Big Media react with such violent overkill? Prison, execution, and life-long shame concentrate the mind, as we shall see in part two of our review of McCarthyism.