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McCARTHY, Joseph Raymond (1908-57)

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McCARTHY, Joseph Raymond (1908-57), American politician, who led a campaign against Communist subversion in the early 1950s. McCarthy was born in Grand Chute, Wis., on Nov. 14, 1908, and educated at Marquette University. He practiced law in Wisconsin until 1939, when he was elected circuit-court judge. During World War II he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of captain during service in the Pacific theater of operations. In 1946 he was elected on the Republican ticket to the U.S. Senate and was reelected in 1952. He first attracted national attention in February 1950, with the charge that the Department of State had been infiltrated by Communists. Although his accusation was never substantiated, during the next three years he accused various high-ranking officials of subversive activities. In 1953, as chairman of the Senate subcommittee on investigations, he continued his probe of alleged Communist activities, and in April 1954 he accused the secretary of the army of concealing foreign espionage activities. In rebuttal the secretary stated that members of the subcommittee staff had threatened army officials in efforts to obtain preferential treatment for a former unpaid consultant of the subcommittee who had been drafted. During the ensuing Senate investigations, which were widely publicized in the press and given nationwide radio and television coverage, McCarthy was cleared of the charges against him but was censured by the Senate for the methods he had used in his investigations and for his abuse of certain senators and Senate committees. His influence both in the Senate and on the national political scene diminished steadily thereafter, although he remained in the Senate until his death in Bethesda, Md., May 2, 1957.

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