BW - EP126—009: April 1954—The Army-McCarthy Hearings Begin

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In January 1953, Joseph McCarthy began his second term as U.S. Senator from Wisconsin as the Republican Party regained control of the Senate. McCarthy was made chairman of the Committee on Government Operations. This included a permanent subcommittee that allowed McCarthy to continue Communist investigations within the government. He appointed Roy Cohn as chief counsel and Bobby Kennedy as assistant. McCarthy’s committee investigated the U.S. Army. They believed the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth had been infiltrated. At the time, the investigation was largely fruitless. Then the Army accused McCarthy of seeking special treatment for Private G. David Schine, a chief consultant and close friend of Cohn's. Schine had been drafted the previous year. The Senate decided that these conflicting charges should be investigated. South Dakota Republican Senator Karl Mundt chaired the subcommittee. John G. Adams was the Army's Counsel. Joseph Welch, Special Counsel. The hearings were telecast nationally on both ABC and the DuMont network. Eighty million people saw these hearings that lasted thirty-six days. They began on April 22nd. CBS Radio was there. Early in the hearings, a photo of Private Schine was produced, with Joseph Welch accusing Roy Cohn of doctoring the image to show Schine alone with Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens. Cohn and Schine both insisted the picture was unedited. Welch then produced a wider shot of Stevens and Schine with Colonel Jack Bradley and McCarthy aide Frank Carr. This lie hurt McCarthy’s side. McCarthy was quickly losing steam and allies. His policies were turning up little evidence. His “list of two-hundred known Communists” never materialized and this turn of attention to the Army was a political gamble. It wouldn’t work and later would cost McCarthy his position in the Senate.

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