1952 October 2

Candidate Eisenhower Caves in to Joe McCarthy


Republican candidate for President Dwight Eisenhower met with Senator Joe McCarthy on this day over Ike’s plan to support his friend and wartime colleague Gen. George C. Marshall in an upcoming campaign speech in Milwaukee. McCarthy had viciously attacked Marshall, accusing him of supporting the international Communist conspiracy, in a major speech on June 14, 1951. Marshall, of course, was one of the great heroes of World War II as Army Chief of Staff, and after the war was the author of the Marshall Plan that helped to revive a devastated Europe. Eisenhower was furious about the attack and planned to defend his old friend. But he caved in to pressure from McCarthy and Republican Party leaders and deleted a comment about Marshall in his speech on the next day.

Although Eisenhower loathed McCarthy and his reckless anti-Communist tactics, he never once criticized him publicly. The Senate, on December 2, 1954, finally censured McCarthy for his conduct.

Read the original draft of Ike’s speech with the paragraph marked for deletion:

Learn more about Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism: David Oshinsky, A Conspiracy so Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (1983)

View pictures of McCarthy’s funeral at the Appleton, Wisconsin, Public Library: http://apl.org/community/hist/mccarthy/photographs/funeral

Learn more about McCarthyism: http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/joseph-mccarthy

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