The Army/McCarthy Hearings

1954


THE NIGHTMARE DECADE

"It was a time of national paranoia in which the greatest power on earth expended its energies hunting for communists under every bed; in which millions of average Americans looked fearfully over their shoulders, wondering whether they would be tapped next to explain themselves before the grand inquisitors.
The hydrogen bomb hung menacingly over the heads of men, capable of turning the earth into a wasteland as barren as the moon.... It was a period dominated by the most effective demagogue ever to practice the arts of mass passion on this continent - Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin.... The effect was that of a nazi bullyboy glaring at you from your television screen.... But there was no gale of unfavorable publicity, no cry of public outrage... the entire nation ran cowed. A whisper * could ruin a life, a career.... Americans have always admired the "stand-up guy", but in these years few stood up... on the highest levels of intellect and leadership, the abdication of responsibility was all but complete. "

"The damage that Joe McCarthy did is incalculable. There are no scales on which to weigh his impact on the soul of the nation, but it is safe to say that he left America less free than he found it. He made dissent suspect. He made rational debate of major political issues impossible. "

- The Nightmare Decade by Fred J. Cook, New York 197l

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