1957 – Sen. Joseph McCarthy Dies

On this date, Sen. Joseph McCarthy died of liver failure at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Born in 1908 in Outagamie County, McCarthy studied law at Marquette University. After graduation, he set up practice in Waupaca until WWII broke out; he spent most of the war at a desk as an intelligence officer in the Pacific Theater. Following the war, McCarthy used false and exaggerated statements about his military record to create a public image of “Tail-Gunner Joe” and launch his career in politics. On February 9, 1950, Sen. McCarthy gave his first public speech against communism. and for the next three years he and his staff investigated government departments and questioned a large number of prominent people about their political pasts. Being accused of possible communist beliefs by his highly publicized committee ruined the careers of hundreds of individuals in government, industry, and the arts. On December 2, 1954, after he had terrorized American public figures for several years, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to censure McCarthy for “conduct contrary to Senatorial tradition.” He died less then 3 years later, spurned by his party and ignored by the media.   from all phases of McCarthy’s career are online at our Wisconsin Historical Images site, and are provided at Turning Points in Wisconsin History.[Source: , Jerome Pohlen, 2001, pg. 33]