Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy.jpg
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1908
Date of Death: 1957
Cause of Death: Natural causes - hepatitis (probably alcohol-related)
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Lawyer, Judge, Marine, Politician
Spouse: Jean Kerr McCarthy
Children: Tierney Elizabeth McCarthy
Military Branch: United States Marine Corps (World War II)
Political Party: Republican Party
Political Office(s): United States Senator from Wisconsin
Fictional Appearances:
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away;
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references (direct via radio in BA)
Date of Death: 1952
Cause of Death: Killed in an atomic bombing (World War III)
Political Office(s): United States Senator from Wisconsin
POD: 1949
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference

Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion within the U.S. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere, but providing little in the way of evidence to support these claims. Nonetheless, his tactics, which were used by other U.S. politicians, caused the ruin of several people. 

With the highly publicized Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954, and following the death of Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming by suicide that same year, McCarthy's support and popularity faded. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to censure Senator McCarthy by a vote of 67 to 22, making him one of the few senators ever to be disciplined in this fashion. McCarthy died in Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2, 1957, at the age of 48. The official cause of death was acute hepatitis; it is widely accepted that this was caused, or at least exacerbated, by alcoholism.

The term "McCarthyism", coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.

Joseph McCarthy in The Hot War[]

Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1952) was a vocal opponent of President Harry Truman and the Democratic majority in Congress during the first months of World War III.[1] Truman had initially assumed that McCarthy was a stalking horse for Republican senator Robert Taft, but by May 1951, McCarthy's bombastic approach had surpassed Taft's more subdued one. Truman even wondered if McCarthy was angling for a run at the presidency in 1952. Truman knew that Taft was also positioning himself for a run. And while he disagreed with Taft's isolationist stance, Truman liked him much better than McCarthy, whom Truman suspected of wanting to become some sort of dictator.[2]

In September 1951, McCarthy began to campaign in earnest for the Republican nomination. In a speech, he denounced Truman's failure to root out the Communists and other traitors in the country, and claimed to have a lengthy list of such people. While his message appealed to more bigoted elements in the country, sober-minded citizens were less impressed.[3] However, as 1951 gave way to 1952, McCarthy was starting to pull ahead. In April, he won convention delegates from Robert Taft's home state of Ohio.[4] Privately, Truman continued to be horrified by McCarthy, and was even embarrassed by the fact that so many people in the U.S. could support him.[5]

The course of the war rendered the matter moot: McCarthy among the many killed by the Soviet atomic bombing of Washington, DC in May 1952.[6]

Joseph McCarthy in "Hindsight"[]

Joseph McCarthy publicly criticized Mark Gordian's novel Watergate for undermining the image of the American government. Pete Lundquist thought that McCarthy's outrage spoke well of the novel.[7]


  1. Bombs Away, pg. 91, HC.
  2. Ibid., pg. 389.
  3. Fallout, pgs. 172-174, HC, loc. 2922-2933, ebook.
  4. Ibid, pg. 325, loc. 5535.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., e-book, loc. 6782.
  7. See, e.g., Kaleidoscope, pg. 97, MPB.
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert M. La Follette, Jr.
United States Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
Served alongside: Alexander Wiley
Succeeded by
William Proxmire
Political offices
(The Hot War)
Preceded by
Robert M. La Follette, Jr.
United States Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
Succeeded by