McCarthy is discredited on nationwide television

Special Senate Investigation on Charges and Countercharges... June 9, 1954

The U.S. Senate historian's office describes this episode in the Army-McCarthy hearings as follows: "In the spring of 1954, McCarthy picked a fight with the U.S. Army, charging lax security at a top-secret army facility. ... The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch's attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy's career: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?" Overnight, McCarthy's immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, forty-eight years old and a broken man."

This 5-page excerpt from that afternoon's hearings begins with Welch interrogating McCarthy's aide, Roy M. Cohn. At the bottom of the same page, Joseph McCarthy himself goes on the offensive by exposing the alleged communist sympathies of Welch's own staff. The exchange between the two continues to page 2430.

Related Topics: World Wars and Conflicts
McCarthyism, Korea and the Cold War
Creator: U.S. Senate
Pub Data: Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954.
Citation: Special Senate Investigation on Charges and Countercharges Involving: Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens, John G. Admas, H. Struve hensel, and Senator Joe McCarthy, Roy M. Cohn, and Francis P. Carr. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954). Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 7/5/2022