McCarthyism / The "Red Scare"

Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was a little-known junior senator from Wisconsin until February 1950 when he claimed to possess a list of 205 card-carrying Communists employed in the U.S. Department of State. From that moment Senator McCarthy became a tireless crusader against Communism in the early 1950s, a period that has been commonly referred to as the "Red Scare." As chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigation Subcommittee, Senator McCarthy conducted hearings on communist subversion in America and investigated alleged communist infiltration of the Armed Forces. His subsequent exile from politics coincided with a conversion of his name into a modern English noun "McCarthyism," or adjective, "McCarthy tactics," when describing similar witch hunts in recent American history. [The American Heritage Dictionary gives the definition of McCarthyism as: 1. The political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence; and 2. The use of methods of investigation and accusation regarded as unfair, in order to suppress opposition.] Senator McCarthy was censured by the U.S. Senate on December 2, 1954 and died May 2, 1957.
  1. Documents
  2. Photographs
  3. Secondary Sources
  4. Additional Information
Draft Page, "Sixth Draft" of Eisenhower Speech Given on October 3, 1952 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on "Communism and Freedom" (PDF) [Stephen Benedict Papers, Box 4, October 3, 1952 Milwaukee, 1; NAID Number 16614761] (the Deleted Paragraph Refers to Accusations Made by McCarthy Against General George C. Marshall and Was Removed From the Speech to Avoid Causing Bad Feelings in McCarthy's Home State of Wisconsin.)

Letter, Senator Joseph McCarthy to President Eisenhower Re James B. Conant as High Commissioner in Germany, February 3, 1953 (PDF)
[DDE's Papers as President, Name Series, Box 22, McCarthy Joseph; NAID Number 16660398]

Letter, President Eisenhower to Friend, Harry Bullis, May 18, 1953 (PDF) [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 317, of 99-R McCarthy, Hon. Joeseph R.; NAID Number 16702985]

Letter, President Eisenhower to Friend, Swede Hazlett, July 21, 1953 (PDF) (Pages 3 and 4 Only) [DDE's Papers as President, Name Series, Box 18, Hazlett Swede 1953 (1); NAID Number 16610971]

Letter, President Eisenhower to His Brother, Milton Eisenhower, October 9, 1953 (PDF) (Page 3 Only) [DDE's Papers as President, Name Series, Box 12, Eisenhower Milton 1952-1953 (3); NAID Number 16660401]

Daily Notes by C.D. Jackson, Speechwriter and Special Assistant to President Eisenhower, November 27, 1953 (PDF) [C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 68, Log 1953 (5); NAID Number 16702995]

Daily Notes by C.D. Jackson, Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President, November 30, 1953 (PDF) [C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 68, Log 1953 (5); NAID Number 16702996]

Memorandum, Stanley M. Rumbough Jr. And Charles Masterson, Special Assistants in the White House, to Murray Snyder, Assistant White House Press Secretary, About Responding to Senator McCarthy, December 1, 1953 (PDF)
[DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 317, Of99-R McCarthy, Hon. Joseph R.; NAID Number 16702981]

Daily Notes by C.D. Jackson, Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President, December 2, 1953 (PDF) [C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 68, Log 1953 (5); NAID Number 16702997]

Diary Entries by James C. Hagerty, White House Press Secretary
[James C. Hagerty Papers, Box 1, January 1-April 6, 1954]

[James C. Hagerty Papers, Box 1, May 1954]


Letter, President Eisenhower to Secretary of Defense Regarding Testimony of Defense Department Employees, May 17, 1954 (PDF) [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 25, McCarthy Letters; NAID Number 16702983]

Notes by L. Arthur Minnich, Assistant White House Staff Secretary
[White House Office of the Staff Secretary, L. Arthur Minnich Series, Box 1, Miscellaneous Mc]


Letter, Asst. Secretary of Defense Fred Seaton to Senator McCarthy Regarding Accusations of Communists Working in Defense Facilities, June 3, 1954 (PDF)
[Fred Seaton Papers, Fas Eyes Only Series, Box 4, 1; NAID Number 16703231]

Diary Entry by James Hagerty, White House Press Secretary
[James C. Hagerty Papers, Box 1, June 1954]


Memo by Ann Whitman Regarding Events Leading Up to So-Called "Break" Made by McCarthy, December 7, 1954 (PDF) [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 25, McCarthy Letters; NAID Number 16702984]

Senate Resolution (S. Res. 116) Introduced by Senator Joseph McCarthy, June 20, 1955 (PDF) [White House Office of the Staff Secretary, L. Arthur Minnich Series, Box 1, Miscellaneous Mc; NAID Number 16703049]