Opponents of McCarthyism

Essay by mdf44High School, 10th gradeA+, October 2009

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In a time of mass hysteria and paranoia like the Red Scare or the Salem Witch Trials, people must make a stand, even against sometimes overwhelming popular opinion, to stop the injustice. In The Crucible, and in the real Salem Witch Trials, the brave men and women that fought the court included Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey, and John and Elizabeth Proctor. During the so-called Red Scare of the 1950's, there were people just as heroic: two of the most important opponents of McCarthyism were Joseph Welch and Edward R. Murrow. Murrow was a famous CBS newscaster and analyst. On his show See It Now, he ran an episode about the dismissal of Milo Radulovich, a former reserve Air Force lieutenant accused of associating with Communists that condemned the Air Force's actions in firing him. Later, he ran another episode entitled, "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy," which portrayed McCarthy as what he was: a liar and a scoundrel.

These episodes were perhaps his greatest legacy and helped lead to the political downfall of the senator. Another opponent of McCarthyism was Joseph Welch, the attorney for the Army while McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was investigating it. During these proceedings, McCarthy accused Fred Fisher, a junior attorney at Welch's firm, of Communist sympathies for association with the National Lawyer's Guild. Welch grilled McCarthy for the "cruelty and recklessness" of said accusation and famously responded, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" This famous exchange and the Army-McCarthy hearings as a whole contributed perhaps even more greatly to the fall of McCarthy, as many Americans saw him in a very unfavorable light on television, as these hearings were broadcast live and received much press coverage. In 1954, McCarthy...