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Joseph Welch (seated, left) and Senator Joseph McCarthy (standing, right) during the 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings, photograph, 1954

U.S. Senate Collection

Joseph Welch (seated, left) and Senator Joseph McCarthy (standing, right) during the 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings, photograph, 1954

The Senate Investigates One of Its Own

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin grabbed the nation’s attention in 1950 when he alleged communist influence in the U.S. Department of State. He pursued and expanded his allegations as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Four years later, McCarthy and Committee Counsel Roy Cohn became subjects of that committee’s investigation when the Army charged them with influence peddling to help a former aide. The hearings were televised, and McCarthy’s behavior before a national audience precipitated his downfall.

In 1954 the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations examined conflicting accusations between the U.S. Army and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Televised hearings revealed McCarthy’s underhanded tactics in identifying political subversives, ultimately ending his career.