Archive for March 15th, 2011

McCarthy Overview and Interview

Herb Block (Herblock was his penname) was a famous editorial cartoonist in the mid-to-late 20th century. He coined the term “McCarthyism” with this cartoon:

What does the elephant symbolize? What does the tower of tar buckets imply? What is Herblock basically saying about McCarthyism?

Here is an interview of Senator Joseph McCarthy discussing his crusade against communism:

This can also be found at

McCarthy’s downfall was accusing the Army of harboring communists and their sympathizers. Finally, the attorney for the Army, Joseph Welch, says what so many others hadn’t had the guts to say to McCarthy in the clip below, which has become famous. (To set the stage, the Army counter-accused McCarthy of seeking special favors for an associate who had been drafted, and to deflect blame, he accuse Welch himself of harboring a suspected communist sympathizer in his own law office rather than answer the charges against him. Here’s the video, with Mr. Welch being the first speaker:

(This can also be found at There are other videos linked to this page listed to the left hand side of the page at youtube if you wish to explore further.)

… and here’s a link to a site that gives the transcript of this confrontation, which is considered to be one of the greatest American speeches:

McCarthy then swiftly fell from power, and the Senate voted to censure him by a 2/3 supermajority. Here is the text of Senate Resolution 301:

So what eventually happened to McCarthy? Spartacus does a great job summing up his life and death: