Speech at Wheeling, West Virgina, 
1950

Joseph McCarthy 

Questions to Consider

  1. To what does Joseph McCarthy attribute America's postwar problems?
  2. Does McCarthy make a convincing argument that John S. Service should not work in the government?
  3. Can you detect an anti-elite undertone to McCarthy's rhetoric?  What are some examples?
  4. What does McCarthy hope to accomplish with his charges?
  5. What does this speech reveal about American attitudes in the early Cold War period?

    Five years after a world war has been won, men's hearts should anticipate a long peace, and men's minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war. But this is not such a period-- for this is not a period of peace. This is a time of the "cold war."  This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly hostile armed camps--a time of a great armaments race.

        Today we can almost physically hear the mutterings and rumblings of an invigorated god of war.  You can see it, feel it, and hear it all the way from the hills of Indochina, from the shores of Formosa, right over into the very heart of Europe itself.

        The one encouraging thing is that the "mad moment" has not yet arrived for the firing of the gun or the exploding of the bomb which will set civilization about the final task of destroying itself.  There is still a hope for peace if we finally decide that no longer can we safely blind our eyes and close our ears to those facts which are shaping up more and more clearly.  And that is that we are now engaged in a show-down fight - not the usual war between nations for land areas or other material gains, but a war between two diametrically opposed ideologies....

        Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity.  The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time. And, ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down--they are truly down....

        At war's end we were physically the strongest nation on earth and, at least potentially, the most powerfully intellectually and morally.  Ours could have been the honor of being a beacon in the desert of destruction, a shining living proof that civilization was not yet ready to destroy itself.  Unfortunately, we have failed miserably and tragically to arise to the opportunity.

        The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation.  It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer--the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.

        This is glaringly true in the State Department.  There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been the worst.

        Now I know it is very easy for anyone to condemn a particular bureau or department in general terms.  Therefore, I would like to cite one rather unusual case - the case of a man who has done much to shape our foreign policy.

        When Chiang Kai-shek was fighting our war, the State Department had in China a young man named John S. Service.  His task, obviously, was not to work for the communization of China.  Strangely, however, he sent official reports back to the State Department urging that we torpedo our ally Chiang Kai-shek and stating, in effect, that communism was the best hope of China.

        Later, this man - John Service - was picked up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for turning over to the Communists secret State Department information.  Strangely, however, he was never prosecuted.  However, Joseph Grew, the Under Secretary of State, who insisted on his prosecution, was forced to resign.   Two days after Grew's successor, Dean Acheson, took over as Under Secretary of State, this man - John Service - who had been picked up by the FBI and who had previously urged that communism was the best hope of China, was not only reinstated in the State Department but promoted.  And finally, under Acheson, placed in charge of all placements and promotions.

        Today, ladies and gentlemen, this man Service is on his way to represent the State Department and Acheson in Calcutta - by far and away the most important listening post in the Far East.

        Now, let's see what happens when individuals with Communist connections are forced out of the State Department.  Gustave Duran, who was labeled as (I quote) "a notorious international Communist" was made assistant to the Secretary of State in charge of Latin American affairs.  He was taken into the State Department from his job as lieutenant colonel in the Communist International Brigade.  Finally, after intense congressional pressure and criticism, he resigned in 1946 from the State Department - and, ladies and gentlemen, where do you think he is now?  He took over a high-salaried job as Chief of Cultural Activities Section in the office of the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations.

        This, ladies and gentlemen, gives you somewhat of a picture of the type of individuals who have been helping to shape our foreign policy.   In my opinion the State Department, which. is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists.

        I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy....

        As you hear this story of high treason, I know that you are saying to yourself, "Well, why doesn't the Congress do something about it?"  Actually, ladies and gentlemen, one of the important reasons for the graft, the corruption, the dishonesty, the disloyalty, the treason in high Government positions--one of the most important reasons why this continues is a lack of moral uprising on the part of the 140,000,000 American people.  In the light of history, however, this is not hard to explain.

        It is the result of an emotional hang-over and a temporary moral lapse which follows every war.  It is the apathy to evil which people who have been subjected to the tremendous evils of war feel.  As the people of the world see mass murder, the destruction of defenseless and innocent people, and all of the crime and lack of morals which go with war, they become numb and apathetic. It has always been thus after war.

        However, the morals of our people have not been destroyed.  They still exist.  This cloak of numbness and apathy has only needed a spark to rekindle them.  Happily, this spark has finally been supplied.

        As you know, very recently the Secretary of State [Dean Acheson] proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes--of being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust.  The Secretary of State in attempting to justify his continued devotion to the man who sold out the Christian world to the atheistic world, referred to Christ's Sermon on the Mount as a justification and reason therefore, and the reaction of the American people to this would have made the heart of Abraham Lincoln happy.

        When this pompous diplomat in striped pants, with a phony British accent, proclaimed to the American people that Christ on the Mount endorsed communism, high treason, and betrayal of a sacred trust, the blasphemy was so great that it awakened the dormant indignation of the American people.

        He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of national honesty and decency in government.