McCarthy 2Seventy years ago this February, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin launched his destructive anticommunist rampage. Addressing the Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, WVA, McCarthy charged that 205—or was it 57?—known communists were working for the U.S. State Department, enjoying the protection of an indifferent or even a disloyal Truman administration. McCarthy went on to even wilder charges, intensifying an anticommunist Red Scare that had begun shortly after the end of World War II. For a few years in the early 1950s, the senator enjoyed remarkable support from his fellow Republicans. While many of them privately bemoaned his crudeness, they relished the damage he was inflicting on their liberal and Democratic foes. Only after McCarthy turned his attacks on other Republicans did the GOP start mobilizing against him. This riveting PBS documentary film, written, produced, and directed by Sharon Grimberg, chronicles the demagogue’s extraordinary rise and fall. After the screening, Prof. Salim Yaqub of the UCSB Department of History will lead an audience discussion.
Page last modified: January 25, 2020