The Army/McCarthy Hearings

1954


The Army-McCarthy Hearings

"Until this moment, Senator, I think I had never gauged your cruelty or your recklessness... little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad... I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think that I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. "

With these words, Joseph Welch, attorney for the U.S. Army, sharply focused the spotlight of national attention that television had brought to the hearings and exposed the vicious and malevolent manner in which Senator McCarthy conducted the proceedings.

Welch had been questioning Roy Cohn, counsel to the McCarthy sub-committee in its investigation of alleged communists in the Army. The Army countercharged that McCarthy and Cohn sought special treatment for sub-committee aide G. David Schine, a recent draftee into the Army. McCarthy had interrupted to advise the audience on this nationally televised hearing that a young lawyer in Welch's office had been a member {in law school) of the National Lawyer's Guild which McCarthy labeled as a Communist front organization. Now, McCarthy again began to go over the young lawyers record. Welch then finished:

     "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator.... Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?"
      "There was silence, and then the room rang with applause. Welch walked from the room, and reporters followed him.... That coverage did McCarthy in... People started to laugh at him. He became a joke. "

-Joe McCarthy and the Press by Edwin R Bayley, U. Wisconsin Press 1981

"McCarthy had done himself in with his ugliness. "

- The Fifties by David Halberstam, Villard Books, NY 1993

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