From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 9 - 1954: Pulling Strings Around the World

May 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 9
From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 9 - 1954: Pulling Strings Around the World
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From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast
Episode 9 - 1954: Pulling Strings Around the World
May 07, 2020 Season 1 Episode 9

This wide-ranging & globe-trotting episode begins with a brief look at the successful 1953 expedition to summit Mount Everest, then pivots to some less inspiring international intrigue, as Cold War fears led the USA to meddle in the internal politics of Iran, Guatemala, & Vietnam, among other nations. John Foster Dulles's leadership of the State Department & his brother Allen Dulles's direction of the Central Intelligence Agency pushed forward a newly aggressive approach in US foreign policy, tossing aside the relatively cautious "containment" doctrine of the Truman Administration. American efforts at winning international hearts & minds ranged from persuasion (in the case of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, & the Congress for Cultural Freedom) to regime change (removing Iranian & Guatemalan leaders) & even outright mind control (in the case of Project MK-Ultra). In domestic politics, Senator Joe McCarthy (& his sidekick Roy Cohn) would finally fall from prominence after unsuccessfully targeting the US Army. President Dwight Eisenhower approved an expansion of existing New Deal economic assistance agencies in the mid-50s, but avoided creating new social programs. Finally, in the 1954 Congressional elections, Democrats regained control of the federal legislative branch, which surprisingly eased political headaches for Republican President Eisenhower, who'd been clashing with GOP conservatives over his moderate agenda.

Show Notes Transcript

This wide-ranging & globe-trotting episode begins with a brief look at the successful 1953 expedition to summit Mount Everest, then pivots to some less inspiring international intrigue, as Cold War fears led the USA to meddle in the internal politics of Iran, Guatemala, & Vietnam, among other nations. John Foster Dulles's leadership of the State Department & his brother Allen Dulles's direction of the Central Intelligence Agency pushed forward a newly aggressive approach in US foreign policy, tossing aside the relatively cautious "containment" doctrine of the Truman Administration. American efforts at winning international hearts & minds ranged from persuasion (in the case of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, & the Congress for Cultural Freedom) to regime change (removing Iranian & Guatemalan leaders) & even outright mind control (in the case of Project MK-Ultra). In domestic politics, Senator Joe McCarthy (& his sidekick Roy Cohn) would finally fall from prominence after unsuccessfully targeting the US Army. President Dwight Eisenhower approved an expansion of existing New Deal economic assistance agencies in the mid-50s, but avoided creating new social programs. Finally, in the 1954 Congressional elections, Democrats regained control of the federal legislative branch, which surprisingly eased political headaches for Republican President Eisenhower, who'd been clashing with GOP conservatives over his moderate agenda.

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from boomers. Millennials is a modern U. S. History podcast, providing a fresh look at the historic events. The shape current generations from 1946 to the present Welcome to 1954 a k Episode nine. Pulling Strings Around the World. This globetrotting episode will consider President Dwight D. Eisenhower's agenda with a particular focus on his administration's unique approach to foreign policy. We began in an unlikely spot on the other side of the world from the United States in New Zealand, then a backwater outpost of a declining British empire. They're a beekeeper's son and World War two veteran named Edmund. Hillary was planning in early 1953 to depart on a mission to go where no humans had been before he flew to Nepal and at the foot of the Himalayan mountains, he met his climbing partner, a Tibetan born Sherpa named Tenzing Norgay. In May, the two of them proceeded to successfully summit the tallest mountain in the world Mount Everest, a feat no one had previously achieved while living to tell the tale. As a result, Hillary would be knighted by the British queen, and Tenzing Norgay would become a celebrated Nepalese national hero. Hillary's and Norgay's expedition to Mount Everest was one of the final achievements of an international project of worldwide discovery that had been going on for hundreds of years as explorers traveled to every corner of the once mysterious globe, filling in all the blank spots on the map. Just 500 years earlier, the Old World had been ignorant of many corners of the Earth and were unaware even of the existence of the Americas. But by the 19 fifties, the map had been fully filled in, and even the most inhospitable places had been reached by enterprising humans. The North Pole in 1909 the South Pole in 1911 and now the very roof of the world in 1953. While many efforts were motivated by genuine scientific curiosity, others, unsurprisingly, sought opportunities for profit. Western nations had the technology to exploit. The natural resource is of far flung places, something native peoples often lacked. European nations soon engaged in a competition for profit and political control of the world. These efforts were often done with little consideration of local people's well being or their desire for self determination, while Sir Edmund Hillary was a generous man who raised money to build schools and hospitals in Nepal after his conquest of Everest most past representatives of the British Empire in Asia had not been so humanitarian. The British ruthlessly gained control of colonies in every corner of the world, to the point that the popular phrase during the Victorian era that the sun never sets on the British Empire was no mere exaggeration. However, by the 19 fifties, the sun finally was setting on the British Empire. Britain was a financially distressed power in decline, irreparably damaged by two world wars. Pressure for decolonisation was rising all around the world, forcing not just the British but also the French, Dutch and other empires into retreat. The Americans like to view themselves as anti colonialists, in theory, if not always in practice. Yet they viewed this global destabilization of remote corners of the world is potentially threatening, as we have discussed in past episodes. During the Cold War, the U. S government became obsessed with the potential threat of communism, and it had opposed Marxist aggression, even in places like Korea that most Americans had previously known very little about Republican politicians like Richard Nixon had attacked the Democratic establishment for not being aggressive enough about stopping the threat of communism around the world. In the early 19 fifties, the Republicans had taken power in the White House, and many were eager to prove that they would be tougher against the spread of international communism than their Democratic predecessors had been. When Eisenhower became president and appointed staff to Cabinet level federal offices, two brothers reached remarkable positions of power within the foreign policy establishment. They were John Foster Dulles, appointed a secretary of state and Allen Dulles, appointed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, appealing to conservative anti communists in the Republican Party. Both promised to take a more aggressive approach to international communism than the containment policy that had been favored by Truman and the Democrats. Instead, they intended to roll back the gains of global communism to whatever degree they could get away with without sparking a hot war with the USSR or China. Of course, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was the serious and severe son of a Presbyterian minister, and he viewed the quest to win the Cold War as essentially a religious crusade, requiring the forces of Christianity to defeat the threat of godless communism. Historian James T. Paterson describes Ike as relying upon Dulles because, he quote, was a hard worker, knowledgeable and wholly loyal in trying to carry out the president's goals. Close quote, However, according to biographers Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, the so called Wiseman who had formulated the Truman administration's containment doctrine among them George Canon, Dean Acheson and Robert Lovett view John Foster Dulles as a paranoid, unimaginative and self righteous man. But they now had no choice but to sit on the sidelines and watch the Dulles brothers move the Eisenhower administration away from their more cautious and pragmatic approach in favor of sometimes heavy handed attempts to push back against pro Communist forces around the globe. New CIA director Allen Dulles was an extroverted partier, far more worldly than has pious and reserved brother John Foster. But both siblings shared right wing political views and a conviction that the ends of fighting communism justified unscrupulous means. Allen Dulles is leadership of the C. I. A would be key as he authorized the intelligence organization to be aggressive in its efforts to influence the internal politics of various foreign powers. Paterson writes that by 1952 even before Dulles took over the agency, the CIA's budget had risen to $82 million it had thousands of employees divided between Washington, D. C. And Foreign Outposts. Author Tim Whiner argues that the main purpose of the Central Intelligence Agency when it was created had been to collect secret information from foreign countries so that the USA was not caught off guard by another surprise attack like the one the Japanese had inflicted upon Pearl Harbor. Back in 1941 however, the agency's ambitions soon extended far beyond mere intelligence gathering. Whiner notes that quote President's ordered the CIA A to change the course of history through covert action. Close quote. The CIA had engaged in covert operations, attempting to shape political outcomes abroad well before Allen Dulles came to be head of the agency. For example, during the Truman administration, the CIA had been heavily involved in making certain that the Italian Communist Party lost a national election in 1948. Under Dulles, however, the ambition of the CIA A would grow from influencing upcoming elections to actually overthrowing governments after elections had produced a potentially unfavorable outcome for US interests, according to U. S foreign policy historian George C. Herring. A military commission led by World War Two General James Doolittle concluded that the U. S. A. Must become more ruthless if it wanted to survive the Cold War quote. We must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies. Buy more clever means than those used against us do, Little said. Presidential biographer Jean Edward Smith notes that Eisenhower concurred. That quote the United States was in an apocalyptic struggle with communism and the normal rules of fair play did not apply. Close quote. Certainly the president knew that the Soviets and they're ruthless. KGB intelligence organizations did not hesitate to spread disinformation and to intervene in internal politics of nations around the world. The KGB gave the enemies of communism no quarter and offered them no mercy. Faced with a devious Soviet enemy that was fully prepared to foment and support international revolutions in order to further its own interests, many American officials rationalized actions that otherwise might be considered undemocratic or a moral as being necessary in the name of self defense and the broader cause of freedom around the world. Critics of the New American approach, on the other hand, questioned whether obscure left wing governments constituted the threat to national security that the Cold War hardliners believed they did. Opponents of the newly aggressive U. S strategy for international relations during the 19 fifties have argued that even the spread of communism toe one or two distant and impoverished countries did not significantly endanger American freedoms. They have also suggested that the US government's overseas interventions sometimes had more to do with protecting private, corporate and economic interest, then with protecting the general American public from the Communist. The first of the hotly debated Eisenhower era covert actions took place in the oil rich nation of Iran. History professor George C. Herring writes that quote. Having cobbled together a shaky equilibrium in Europe and East Asia, the Cold War combatants in the mid 19 fifties shifted to the Third World, where they competed vigorously for the allegiance of nations emerging from colonialism. The Middle East posed especially complex challenges throughout the region. Revolutionary nationalists struggled to gain full independence and sought to exploit the Cold War to their advantage. Close quote. One of these nationalist movements emerged in Iran which had been a Cold War hot spot ever since Soviet forces continued to occupy that nation after the end of World War Two until finally retreating under heavy Western pressure in April 1946. But over the long term, the foreign influence most resented in Iran in the early 19 fifties was the British control of the nation's rich petroleum reserves. Herring notes that Iranian nationalists were quote long resentful of the Anglo Iranian oil companies domination of their nation's most valuable resource. In 1951 they voted to take over the giant British Corporation. Close quote. This alarmed the USA because the staunchly capitalist Americans generally despised nationalisation of industry, which involved a national government seizing control of part of its economy by taking over entire industries and pushing out private companies. Although there were public run utilities at a local or municipal level in many parts of the United States, government takeover of nationwide economic sectors previously controlled by private businesses appeared to Americans as a socialistic tactic that might inevitably lead toward communism. U. S officials also fretted over the fact that Iranian nationalists were targeting major British companies at a time when great Britain remained a vital economic and geopolitical ally of the United States. Furthermore, the massive U. S auto industry relied upon consumers being able to afford gasoline, which remained cheap, in part because of the free flow of Middle Eastern oil by a company's based in friendly powers like Britain. The Iranian government was lead at this time by democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, a strong nationalist who hearing describes as quote a traditional liberal willing to compromise with local Iranian communists when it suited his needs. Close quote. To make matters even worse from the U. S. Officials perspective, Iran shared a border with the USSR, rendering it especially vulnerable to Soviet influence. They worried that Mossadegh was pretending to be a nationalist when he might secretly be an outright communist loyal to Moscow. Still, according to historian David Farber, in 1952 the cautious Truman administration rejected initial British invitations for the Americans to join forces with them in a conspiracy to politically incapacitate Prime Minister Mossadegh. However, Herring recalls that during World War Two, quote, Dwight Eisenhower had come to appreciate the value of covert operations as an inexpensive means to undermine untrustworthy governments. Close quote. Upon becoming president, Ike approved Allen Dulles Plan toe Let the sea a partner with British intelligence to depose the democratically elected Mossadegh in order to put the pro Western Shaw, the traditional Persian monarch, back into power. The plan on the ground in Iran was directed by a CIA operative named Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, who had been a progressive president on domestic affairs but an aggressive nationalist on foreign policy, Kermit Roosevelt shared his granddad's preference for grandiose and risky actions in the name of expanding American power. Lacking military forces were large numbers of personnel. The C I A. Made the most of the wealthy Americans greatest potential asset in an impoverished and corrupt Third World country Money. Kermit Roosevelt bribed local politicians, generals and Moelis, or Islamic religious leaders to criticize Prime Minister Mossadegh and to cooperate with US plans for a coup. The CIA also hired masses of people to engage in disruptive protests and acts of vandalism, purportedly in the name of most egg in hopes of providing a rationale for a crackdown on the political left. In August 1953 pro Shah Iranian forces acting under C. I a encouragement. Arrested most egg. The Shah then took power and became a close US ally who kept the oil flowing to foreign private corporations. Moza Dig would spend the rest of his life under house arrest until his death in 1967. Jean Edward Smith notes that quote. In the coups aftermath, the United States generously provided emergency financial aid to the Shaw of Iran that had been denied to Mossad egg. Close quote. Herring contends that as a result of the successful coup quote, the US supplanted Britain as the dominant power in a pivotal Cold War nation, and U. S oil companies got a 40% interest in Iranian petroleum. However, the short term American geopolitical and economic victory looked very different from the perspective of the Iranian people. Herring states that it marked quote a retreat from at least the semblance of parliamentary government in Iran. Toe what became a brutal dictatorship. Under the Shaw close quote, Iranian nationalist remembered and resented the US interference in their internal affairs and became paranoid about the power of the C I A. To manipulate events in the Middle East. These attitudes contributed to protesters decision to seize the American Embassy 26 years later, which began the hostage crisis that occurred during the Carter administration amidst the anti Shaw Iranian Revolution of 1979. The CIA had now added regime change to its bag of tricks, and it would use this tool again. In summer 1954 in the Central American nation of Guatemala, President Yakubu Arbenz had expropriated with compensation large amounts of land from the powerful US based United Fruit Company in order to redistribute it to struggling peasants. This move was popular with the Guatemalan people, but the United Fruit Corporation furiously lobbied the U. S. Government to do something about Arbenz is socialistic disruption of private property and free enterprise. Herring writes that quote. Although the sea A could find no direct ties with Moscow, the Eisenhower administration was already deeply suspicious of our bands. When his government took anti U. S positions and purchased arms from communist Czechoslovakia, they decided to take action. The C I A. Spent millions training anti Arbenz mercenaries to march on the capital of Guatemala City and seize power over the national government, according to the Norwegian historian Old Arnie West. Ad quote after President Eisenhower permitted the use of U. S aircraft in attacking Guatemalan military bases. A faction within the Guatemalan army deposed are bends in a bloodless coup. Close quote. Smith argues that the CIA is use of media was important to the cues success. The agency had jammed the government run radio station and broadcast its own radio reports that made the modest anti Arbenz forces sound invincible. President Arbenz fled into exile after the coup, and an American backed military leader named Castillo Armas became Guatemala's dictator. Throughout his harsh rain, the Guatemalan government remained a loyal ally of the United States. To those who viewed Arbenz as a likely dupe of the Communists, the CIA's actions in Guatemala had eliminated a serious threat to US interests in the Western Hemisphere. The United Fruit Company's efforts to persuade the Eisenhower administration to take action against him had been fruitful. Indeed, the US company had its Guatemalan lands restored to it by Castillo. Armas is pro capitalist regime. However, Herring argues that the long term consequences of the U. S intervention were damaging to Guatemala and its Central American neighbors because it quote shattered the political center and initiated a cycle of violence that would last for more than four decades. Close quote Castillo are Maas would be assassinated by the end of the 19 fifties, and during the sixties a brutal Guatemalan civil war broke out. That did not completely end until the 19 nineties. The US supported coup against Arbenz also hurt the Americans public image within some portions of the populations of Central and South America. In particular, left leaning groups throughout Latin America increasingly came to view US military and intelligence forces as their mortal enemies because the Americans had demonstrated their staunch opposition to governments that attempted major economic reforms. In addition to supporting coups in Iran and Guatemala, according Toa Isaacson and Thomas, the Eisenhower Era C. I. A. Also quote, helped install supposedly pro Western governments in Egypt in 1954 and Laos in 1959 tried and failed to overthrow the government of Indonesia in 1958 and plotted assassination attempts against chow and lie of China and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. Close quote. All of these actions were covert operations that would remain hidden from the American public. For decades. Secrecy about ruthless CIA actions protected the U. s A's image as a bastion of democracy and individual rights. Paterson argues that such actions taken against left leaning nationalists demonstrated that quote he figures in the Eisenhower administration, perceiving the world in black and white at a dim awareness of the appeal of nationalism and anti colonialism throughout the world. Close quote, The C I. A. Justified its actions by asserting that the Kremlin was pulling the strings behind countless radical reform movements around the globe. But this conclusion may have overstated the capacity of America's Soviet antagonised and understated localised grievances and historical injustices that were motivating populist movements in the Third World. Perhaps the foreign events of the most lasting consequence during 1954 took place in Southeast Asia since the end of World War Two. The French had been struggling to reimpose their authority in Vietnam after having been driven out during the Japanese occupation. For details, see Episode two, the forces they were fighting the Viet men were anti colonialist, nationalist and communist in ideology. Because of the red nature of the Vietnamese forces fighting the French. The United States had been providing France with financial assistance and weapons in their struggle to re establish their authority in the Indochina region. However, all their collective efforts proved insufficient in light of the constant Vietminh on slot. Now the French were under siege in their last stronghold, the fortress of D n Bien Phu, when it became clear that the 12,000 French troops faced imminent defeat. Herring states that quote Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles seriously contemplated air and naval intervention, even the use of nuclear weapons before deciding it wasn't worth the risk. According to Smith, Eisenhower contradicted most members of his National Security Council with his decision not to provide direct US military assistance to save the French from defeat in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, in April 1954 Ike publicly articulated his hawkish advisors domino theory that if Vietnam became communist, other countries nearby might also fall to the Reds like a row of dominoes. Then, in May, the Vietminh completely defeated the French at D n Bien Phu. The Geneva peace accords that followed negotiated the French withdrawal from the region, but the U. S attempted to ensure that the future of Vietnam would not be complete communist control. Herring argues that under pressure from their Chinese and Soviet patrons quote the Vietminh leaders accepted much less in the way of peace terms than they believed their battlefield success entitled them to consenting to a Korea style temporary partition of Vietnam at the 17th parallel and an election in 1956 to unify the country. Close quote. The U. S A. Increased its involvement in non communist South Vietnam, essentially replacing the French as the key Western power in the Indochina region. Paterson writes that the CIA also engaged in covert actions and communist North Vietnam quote, trying to destroy their printing presses and pouring contaminants into the gas tanks of their buses. Close quote When it became clear that the communist Viet men were going to win the 1956 elections set to politically reunify the country, the South Vietnamese government refused to let this promised vote occur. Instead, the US propped up the South Vietnamese regime as a permanent non communist power. While the North Vietnamese state supported a growing communist guerrilla movement in South Vietnam, the stage was now being set for one of the bloodiest proxy conflicts of the Cold War. But there was also a softer and less militaristic side to U s participation in the ideological battles of the Cold War, one that relied upon political persuasion that attempted to promote people's aspirations for individual freedoms Not possible under communist systems. The Voice of America or V O A. Was a U. S government sponsored radio network that broadcast news behind the Iron Curtain that went against the totalitarian Communist Party line. Historian George Herring recounts that the VO A had been created in 1948 Quote under the authority of the State Department as the first U. S Peace time information program. By 1950 broadcasts from 36 transmitters in 25 languages were estimated to reach 300 million people. Desperate Soviet efforts to jam the airways seem to confirm the program's success. Close quote. The Voice of America outlasted the Cold War and remains a US government funded news outlet in far flung parts of the world. It remains a target for criticism by regimes hostile to the United States. The Russian government designated the V O A as a foreign propaganda agent in 2017. However, back in April 2020 just weeks prior to our recording of this episode, the Trump White House criticized the V away for not being critical enough of the Chinese government's handling of the Cove in 19 Pandemic. But we're here to help get your mind off the pandemic. So let's quickly return to 1954 Herring notes in his book, From Colony to Superpower that the V O. A was just one component among many of the US Cold War overseas propaganda efforts. Another broadcast outlet beaming behind the Iron Curtain was Radio Free Europe, which was ostensibly a private media company but actually had covert CIA backing. According to Herring, Radio Free Europe quote used emigre broadcasters to spread bare knuckled propaganda, denouncing the evils of Soviet imperialism, mocking communism through satirical skits and using American popular culture, especially jazz, to subvert Eastern European youth. Close quote. The CIA also created the so called Congress for Cultural Freedom that promoted art exhibits and literary symposia and musical tours around the world to subtly demonstrate the superiority of American capitalist cultural products. Of course, the C. I A. Funding for these efforts was completely secret, Herring writes. The money was essentially laundered through private institutions such as the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the time Life Magazine Corporation. However, at the same time, the C. I A. Was secretly bankrolling creative works that inspire dreams of human freedom among populations in Eastern Europe. Paradoxically, the organization also aspired to gain the capacity to control human consciousness. The impetus for this project was reports of North Korean and slash Chinese torture and psychological manipulation techniques inflicted upon American P. O. W's during the Korean War. The alleged communist capacity to achieve so called mental brainwashing that could turn their American victims against their own country alarmed many U S officials. However, some U. S intelligence agents secretly aspired to develop this power for themselves. In 1953 CIA director Allen Dulles authorized Project M. K Ultra, which journalist Stephen Kinzer calls quote history's most systematic search for techniques of mind control. Close quote. This included experiments with a new psychedelic drug known as LSD. That's right. Long before hippies were experimenting with this hallucinogen was being utilized by the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency, an organization with aims about us far from the anti establishment counterculture as imaginable. According to Kinzer, Project M K ultras experiments during the 19 fifties on sometimes unwitting American citizens led to quote hundreds of people being tormented and many minds being permanently shattered. Close quote. These operations were only revealed to the American public 20 years later, when Idaho Senator Frank Church led a Senate committee in the mid 19 seventies that investigated and publicized prior abuses by various intelligence agencies during the Cold War era. However, during the 19 fifties, the US Senate's investigative power was not being used to reveal shady government activities to the U. S public. Instead, it was being utilized to dig up dirt on any Americans brought under suspicion of disloyalty. As mentioned in Episode eight, Senator Joseph McCarthy continued his Communist hunting investigations into executive agencies during the Eisenhower administration. Biographer Jean Edward Smith notes that resentment between the president and the senator was mutual. McCarthy saw like as quote at best, a dupe for sinister forces in the Eastern establishment. While the president viewed McCarthy as quote a bully who's anti communist fervor was simply an effort to attain notoriety. Close quote. In 1954 Eisenhower was relieved to see McCarthy's political star finally fall back to Earth. Historian James T. Paterson contends that quote, what brought McCarthy down was his ill advised attempt to ferret out subversive activities in, of all places, the United States Army. Close quote. By this time, McCarthy had brought more prosecutorial brainpower into his fold. The Wisconsin senator was a clever man known for being a gifted poker player, and his ability to bluff certainly helped him when he falsely insinuated two suspects that he had documented proof of their disloyalty. But in order to successfully identify and convict actual suspected Communists, which presumably would increase McCarthy standing and popularity with the U. S public, his congressional committee began hiring some more sophisticated and talented attorneys to assist him. The most famous of these was Roy Cohn, the privilege son of a New York State Supreme Court justice and a prodigious student who managed to graduate from Columbia Law and passed the bar exam by age 21. Cohn soon proved himself an aggressive prosecutor of Communists in New York. He helped persuade the federal Criminal Justice Courts to issue a death sentence for both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after their espionage related convictions during the early 19 fifties. See Episode four for details about their case, Roy Cohn enthusiastically supported a red baiting movement that often disproportionately accused Jews and homosexuals. Despite his being both Jewish and a closeted gay man himself, Cohn became McCarthy's right hand man who helped him investigate, implicate and intimidate people throughout the U. S. Government. Almost everyone feared McCarthy's influence and knew he had become quite politically powerful. Even officers in the U. S military. Cohn managed to use this fear of being tarred by investigations and allegations in order to blackmail Army officers into giving special treatment for an Army private named David Schein, who was cones close friend, also rumored to be his lover. Cohn, securing of special privileges such as lighter duties and more leave time for David Shine would eventually be revealed by the Army. In retaliation for the intense scrutiny that McCarthy and Cohn were subjecting their organization to the so called Army McCarthy hearings went on for over a month and drew large audiences on the growing medium of television. McCarthy had been a master of working the press to publicize his red baiting crusade, but by this time the increased media attention began to backfire. In his book Grand Expectations, historian James T. Paterson observes that quote. Edward R. Murrow a widely respected investigative reporter, ran a series of programs concerning McCarthy on See It Now, a CBS network production. For the most part, Murrow let McCarthy's bullying words and truculent actions speak for themselves. Close quote. But then, at the conclusion of his program, Murrow stated in a legendary monologue quote, The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind as between the internal and external threats of communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends on evidence and due process of law. Close quote. Paterson notes that Murrow's program on the Wisconsin senator quote did attract a great deal of attention and critical praise at the time, and it legitimated rising criticism of McCarthy from other media Close quote. Joseph McCarthy was already a heavy drinker, and his increased negative media coverage grew. His dependency upon alcohol increased. Observers reported that McCarthy's tendency to drink during lunchtime led to shaky performances. In afternoon investigative hearings. Paterson reports that quote he often slept in his office and showed up looking unkempt and unshaven on black and white television, he resembled a heavy from central casting close quote. His attempts to subpoena more and more figures within the Army began to meet with serious resistance. Dwight Eisenhower had privately long resented McCarthy's actions, but the president had been president to publicly criticize a man who was popular with the conservative base of his own party. See Episode eight. However, like, was now ready to draw a line, he told Senate Majority Leader William Knowland quote. I will not allow people around me to be subpoenaed, and you might just as well no, it now close quote. He told his defense secretary to withhold sensitive information from McCarthy's committee. In June 1954 Public opinion turned against McCarthy for good after his conflict during a televised congressional hearing with Joseph Welch, a special legal counsel defending the United States Army. Welch was soft spoken and genteel in his mannerisms, but quick witted and defiant in his rhetoric. Paterson reports that McCarthy quote began accusing Welch's law firm of harboring a leftist lawyer named Fred Fischer. Welch then explained that he had earlier removed Fisher from the hearings because Fisher had briefly belonged to the pro Communist National Lawyers Guild. Close quote. Smith suggests that despite his membership in this left wing legal organization while in college, Fisher was by this point a corporate business lawyer and the secretary of a local young Republicans organization hardly a dangerous radical. In a private meeting before the hearings, McCarthy told Joseph Welch that he knew about his young colleague Fisher's past association, and Welsh insisted that it was immaterial to the matter at hand. McCarthy was supposed to be investigating the Army, not Welch's law firm. After all, McCarthy reluctantly promised not to bring up Fisher's past left wing affiliation. But during the hearing, McCarthy was angered by Welsh is unusual degree of skill. In pushing back against Roy Cohn's pointed questions, the Wisconsin senator tried to pin down the Army legal counsel by breaking his word and painting. Welch's colleague, Fisher, as a red well said firmly but sadly, quote little. Did I dream that you could be so cruel is to do an injury to that lad. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last close quote at this point, applause broke out in the room where the nationally televised hearing was taking place. Welch was hardly the first witness to try to stand up to McCarthy's grilling, but his televised defiance finally resonated with the public and turned the tide of national opinion Paterson a pines that McCarthy quote had destroyed himself on national television. Soon afterward, a Republican senator demanded that the Senate censure McCarthy for his belligerent conduct and his misuse of the congressional investigative power to conduct witch hunts. The GOP Senate leadership instead opted to approve an investigation of the Wisconsin Republican by a congressional subcommittee. The tables had been turned, and now the Senate's most famous investigator was himself being investigated. The congressional subcommittee issued a report a few months later finding that McCarthy had indeed engaged in misconduct. It concluded that he had wasted Senate Resource is on a wild goose chase for alleged communists based upon insufficient evidence. In December 1954 the Senate passed a resolution that condemned the behaviour of Senator Joe McCarthy. Paterson reports that quote. All 44 Democrats voting favored the resolution, as did the one independent, while the 44 Republican senators voting divided evenly 22 to 22. Close quote. McCarthy must have been shocked by how quickly his once ascendant power and fame had crashed back to Earth over just a few months during 1954. From that point on, the Congress refused to authorize future investigations, and the press largely ignored further allegations from McCarthy. Paterson describes an incident during the 1956 presidential campaign when Vice President Richard Nixon visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Quote. Senator McCarthy sidled up to a seat next to him, and Nixon aide asked him to leave. And he did, as asked a reporter than found him weeping, Close quote. Having gone from a national anti Communist hero to a discredited figure among all but a few far right cranks, McCarthy despaired and sank deeper into his alcoholism. In May 1957 Joe McCarthy died of liver failure. He was just 48 was still a sitting U. S Senator McCarthy Sidekick Roy Cohn, on the other hand, would remain a highly successful attorney in New York for decades afterward. During the 19 seventies cones, prominent clients included ascendant real estate tycoon Donald Trump, whom he defended against charges of violating the Fair Housing Act. However, Cones career in the law came to an abrupt end when he was disbarred for misappropriating client funds during the mid 19 eighties. Roy Cohn died of complications from AIDS at age 59. Soon afterward, during the early 19 fifties, the political right had grown stronger amid the global battle against communism and the domestic red scare. However, after the end of the Korean War abroad, and that Klein of McCarthyism at home, the nation seemed ready to return toward the political center. Many social programs first established as part of the New Deal remained quite popular, and Congress found it politically profitable to expand them. President Eisenhower went along with this effort, according to Professor James T. Paterson in 54 x signed quote, a broadening of Social Security. He also sought to extend the minimum wage, which had covered fewer than half the wage workers in the United States. Social welfare expenditures during Eisenhower's presidency rose slowly but steadily as a percentage of GNP, or gross national product, from 7.6% in 1952 to 11.5%. When Eisenhower left office in 1961. Close quote generally this broadening of the social safety net was accomplished through the means of expanding existing programs because a booming economy meant that there was not a major demand for new social programs or major legislative reforms. Despite Eisenhower's efforts to appeal to the political center, the New Deal coalition reasserted itself among the American electorate. And during the 1954 midterm congressional elections, the Democrats obtained modest gains that allowed them to recapture both houses of Congress, which the GOP had previously controlled by a razor thin margin. Eisenhower biographer Jean Edward Smith calls this Democratic takeover of Congress a blessing in disguise for the president, who had often clashed with GOP congressional leaders. Smith notes that quote. The Democrats generally supported Ike down the line and foreign affairs and, unlike the Republicans, have little interest in returning to the era of Calvin Coolidge domestically and were not clamoring to investigate the executive branch. Close quote in conclusion Despite the sometimes unstable international situation during the mid fifties, US domestic politics, economics and society were experiencing something of a return to normalcy after the traumatic years of the Korean War and the red scare in our next full length episode focusing upon the year 1955. We'll move away from geopolitics to examine the social, cultural and domestic sphere as we try to understand how everyday life in the fifties shaped the baby boomers. Childhoods from Boomers to Millennials is produced by Aaron Rodgers. Logo designed by K Me Shaffer and Aaron Rodgers. Written and narrated by Logan Rogers, please subscribe to our podcast rather than downloading individual episodes. 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