European Papers Shed No Tears for McCarthy
Western Europe's newspapers shed no tear Friday for Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy. The death of the Wisconsin senator renewed the dormant passions that once surged around his name.
British papers nearly all gave the story prominent front-page space and carried bitter editorials on "McCarthyism."
The reports in France were brief. But all papers referred to McCarthy as "the Witch Hunter." The Communist l'Humanite declared the senator "was famous for his relelentlessness in using methods against Communism worthy of the inquisition."
"Inquisition" also was used in London's conservative Daily Telegraph.
The pro-Communist Paris Liberation called the senator ''the leader of frantic anti-communism and the grand master of witch hunting."
Austrian papers announced the death with such headlines as "Snooper Senator McCarthy Dies."
A typical British comment came from the liberal News Chronicle: "He built a monstrous myth and made millions believe it, but like a fool he overplayed it and destroyed both the myth and destroyed both the myth and himself. America was the cleaner by his fall, and is cleaner by his death."
I find it rather interesting that the European press, as quoted here, seemed so universally hostile to McCarthy; it seems the leftist influence was strong even back then. The European press seemed to sound the same note as that of the Russian media here:
Russians Call Names
Moscow -- Tass, the Soviet news agency, reported Friday the death of U.S. Sen. McCarthy. It called him an "arrant reactionary" and commented:
"McCarthyism sowed an atmosphere of fear and anti-communist hysteria throughout the United States, facilitating the execution of a more reactionary, anti-popular policy inside the country and preparation of new miltary adventures abroad."
A spokesman at the Soviet Foreign Ministry, asked for comment, considered for 30 minutes and emerged to state: "no comment."
But for a different view, here is an editorial. Imagine any mainstream newspaper of today writing this piece.
Joe M'Carthy, Foe Of Reds
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's untimely death at 47 removes the most controversial political figure of the times. He will be remembered by friends for his determined fight to root Communists out of government, by enemies for what, to them, the term "McCarthyism" implied.
Yet even the term itself is controversial. One critic defined it as " a hysterical term of putrid slander." The Wisconsin senator accepted it with pride, and defined it in a book title as "the fight for Americanism."
To his foes Joe McCarthy played fast and loose with people's reputations by making unsupported accusations, abused witnesses at his one-man committee hearings, practiced arrogance and demagoguery, violated the boundary between investigation and persecution. His admirers regarded him as the shining symbol of the campaign against subversion, a man of great courage, a true American, a patriot of the highest order.
Certainly nobody could accuse him of cowardice, of anything but the highest loyalty to his country, of flinching in the face of attack. In fighting communism, which he never ceased to do, he said "gentlemanly" methods were futile. When the Communist Daily Worker advised the Senate to "throw the bum out," he regarded this as an accolade.
An articulate "fighting Irishman," McCarthy pulled no punches in any controversy and his lack of what sometimes is called tact or diplomacy accounted for much of the opposition to him. Undoubtedly it was the intemperateness of his remarks, rather than his criticism, that caused the open rift between him and President Eisenhower. Also it was the individuality of his "methods" that led to his "condemnation" by the Senate itself, an act not without passion and bias, which caused McCarthy to say he was the victim of a "lynch party." Yet though he was frequently at odds with many of his colleagues, he maintained his sense of humor and was on good personal terms with most of his critics.
But for all his personal faults, arising in part from over-zealousness in any cause, Joseph McCarthy wil be remembered as an uncompromising foe of the international Communist conspiracy which is dedicated to the overthrow of our government and to world conquest.
Only death itself could stay his hand in the performance of what he conceived to be his patriotic duty. Time will be on his side."
Sadly time has not been on his side, needless to say. The only good thing that might be said to have happened is the revealing of the Venona papers in 1995, which show that McCarthy's accusations were far from groundless.
I don't think the editorial writer or anybody of that era, except possibly for those who were part of the Communist movement, would guess that by today, most of the Communist goals would be achieved, and McCarthy's name and the term 'McCarthyism' would be considered anathema by most people.
Which all proves that McCarthy was substantially right.