tv David Nichols Discusses Ike and Mc Carthy CSPAN July 3, 2017 7:00am-7:49am EDT
first of all, i'm director of the kansas city public library. it was nice to think rainy day books who are here tonight selling david nichols wonderful book on dwight david eisenhower and senator joseph mccarthy and her longtime partner of david nichols' talk will have a question-and-answer session and at the end dwight eisenhower's reputations the rising reputation of the man of the truman and continued to slightly faded.
deserves our thanks for contesting in david nichols' books. the voice of america and the international agency in the books in american libraries abroad, some of which mccarthy wanted removed. the idea that was the convoluted syntax his battles with, eisenhower said when this was suggested by mccarthy, he said this pretty directly, the country's library and are the
protectors of the freedom of inquiry, freedom of stoking the word, exchange of ideas. democracy fearful of ideas would be a dying democracy. and he wouldn't let the books be removed. dwight eisenhower became as i read that this afternoon, one of my biggest heroes. the full story of a eisenhower and is very well told by david nichols and more complicated and more harrowing than the story of the voice of america. it is well to remember in our current unease that it is always the right thing to do to return to the basics, to return to the basic values of our country, basic values like an important word in the eisenhower versus mccarthy, may be an important word today and nowhere does decency.
it is more than decency and we are profoundly grateful for that. ladies and gentlemen, david nichols. [applause] >> already, thank you. it's an honor to be here at the truman forum. they appreciate all of you coming to share with me about this. march 27th seven, 1953, dwight eisenhower won a big victory over senator joseph mccarthy. mike's nominee for ambassador to the soviet union, charles bolan was confirmed by the senate 74-13 and has been fiercely opposed by joseph mccarthy. eisenhower that the only thing that joe mccarthy wanted. they run for the presidency in 1956 the president declared. thanks select it and under the
only reason i would consider running again would be to run against him. knowing eisenhower, he probably punctuated that declaration with a theologically incorrect expletives. you can think about that. flash forward with me to december 7th company teamed 64. on that date, the united states senate from the center joe mccarthy by a vote of 67-22. mccarthy stood up to speak on the senate floor, the chamber was empty. when he sat down with other senators in the senate dining room, his colleagues would make lame excuses and leave. the reporters who had once hung on his every word work on. in late 1955, army council john g adams visited mccarthy at his home in 1955. they said down and poured
six ounces of june. he looked awful hence recalled. he lost about 40 pounds in his team's show. adams describes the man as quote the cadaverous space-age of mccarthyism, standing silently in the shadows slowly dying. indeed, joe mccarthy did die on may 2nd, 1957 at the age of 48. that is a peek into a very complicated story. and if i confuse you in the next few minutes, just remember, randy brooks will appreciate this, the book is better than the speech. in terms that these three stories, on the mystery bus. this is a how done it, not a
whodunit. in a how done it we must follow the clues to figure out who did the crime. in a how done it, we know who did it and the question is how and why. we read a book a generation ago with a whodunit title, who killed joe mccarthy. he walked the was somewhat ambiguous. mine is not. dwight eisenhower did it. mike interested in the clandestine operation designed to wrap a gay lovers in the president's own party in an election year. that is about as big a step as politically ever happens. in the 1950s was a horrendously. just a rumor, not a fact that
someone was gay could cost them their job. it was widely believed that were security risks because people thought the communists could lock meltdown. let's consider for a moment the traditional explanation for joe mccarthy's alcoholic did himself in. he was damaged by a legendary he announced that the television program. during the army mccarthy hearings, television is the lying demagogue he was. this conventional version come the final nail in the political coffin was that center road by the united states senate. those are all legitimate factors. until now, we have not known that dwight eisenhower masterminded a campaign to discredit mccarthy. we have wrongly assumed that his cowardly response to the senator
refusing to use the bully pulpit against him. eisenhower refused to even mention mccarthy's name in public, believing that giving the senate or presidential attention would only enhance his reputation. john adams observed eisenhower is the difference was deceptive. he could be in control. who was joe mccarthy? mccarthy represents what historian richard hofstadter has called the paranoid style in american politics. such aaron joya hofstetter complains bubbles up every generation. once every generation we just get scared. the american people get scared. in the 50s it was communism. now it is terrorism. in any event, mccarthyism became a staple in our political election year.
february 9, joe mccarthy delivered his speech. the senator announced he had here in my hands the names of 205 communists in the state department. joe mccarthy did not have those names. william ewald writes those that resided over a permanent press conference. lights, cameras, microphones followed him everywhere. in 1953, due to eisenhower's election, he had a new platform for his crusade and captured a one vote majority in the senate and mccarthy became the government operations committee in his and permanent investigative subcommittee. the senator subpoenaed witnesses and killed by association and
obviously communist anyone dare to invoke constitutional protections against self-incrimination. mccarthy hired cohen, a young legal prodigy at the subcommittee ski council. he insisted that mccarthy had g david shyne, the handsome son of a wealthy new york family has been on paid chief consultant. cohn had chimed in infamous relationship eventually triggered 1954 army mccarthy hearings. eisenhower sparred with mccarthy throughout 1953. we don't have time to get into it. the senator repeatedly opposed and held hearings of the voice of america as in the introduction and started removing books from their shelves in the eisenhower
mr. chin was accused of book burning. mccarthy sent roy cohn and gary shyne through europe the scandalized american allies. dwight d. eisenhower in fact heated censorship. on june 14, 1953, he spoke at commencement at dartmouth college. he was so offended by book burning, i'll read just a little bit of the speech for you. i expected the graduates, don't join the book burners. don't think you are going to conceal evidence that they ever existed. don't be afraid to go into your library and read every book as long as the document does not offend our own ideas of decency. how would we defeat communism unless they know what it is and what it teaches and why does it
have such an appeal to men? why are so many people swearing allegiance to it? dwight eisenhower loathed joe mccarthy. still, he adamantly refused to get down in the gutter with mccarthy. the president of the united states cannot afford to name names. nothing would probably please mccarthy more than get the publicity be generated by public repudiation by the president. during 1953, eisenhower had priorities other than joe mccarthy. the nation a civil war war in korea which finally ended in july. the american people still recovering from depression and world war ii. the cold war and the soviet union had created the climate with mccarthyism, especially the fear of subversion. in january, 1954, joe mccarthy's prestige was the
zenith with the gallup poll approval rating at 50% favorable, 29% unfavorable. a 1954, dwight eisenhower had concluded that mccarthy was more than a nuisance. he was a threat to the president's foreign policy goals to his legislative program commits the country's political stability into his party and his own electoral prospects. in july 1953, david shyne was notified that he had been drafted into the army. cohn launched a frantic campaign from the army that would keep shyne in mccarthy's subcommittee and within. cohn constantly harassed to the army and made available but was used euphemistically labeled committee this minute on nights
and weekends and nearby hotels. thwarted at every turn, angrily threatened to wreck the army. in august 1953, at his behest, joe mccarthy launched hearings by communists in the united states army. he outlasted a sense of the five star army general in the white house. mccarthy's first hearing on the army took place in august 1st come in 1863 with quite a bit of the transcript bear that i can only share a tiny bit with you. imagine that you are doris walker's innocent frightened african-american worker on maternity leave, just sworn in and joe mccarthy's first words to you our let me say this.
we have information of communist party membership on your part. i still get a cold chill when i read the transcript. however, eisenhower was active high and the scenes. about the same time that david shyne got his draft notice, ike called ike seton in nebraska. this family coming from in hot, the town down the road they considered kind of the suburb of manhattan. anyway. manhattan just down the road from eisenhower. his father had been a secretary to senator joseph bristow who have endorsed ike's application to west point. in 1837, fred moved to nebraska to become the publisher of the hastings daily tribune. at honda republican senator in 1851, the governor appointed
seton to that seat for just a year. in the senate, developed a relationship with joe mccarthy so july 1953, ike called him and asked him to take a redesigned assistant secretary position in the defense department. he would service the pentagon liaison with congress, but among other things he was to manage matters related to joe mccarthy. i told charlie wilson, secretary of defense, but he always looked as a reserve division, ready to go into action. mccarthy's hearings into alleged communists continued for months. eisenhower wrote in his memoirs by january 1954, joe mccarthy was quote, riding high. then came the turning point. january 21st come in 1854,
ike's top aides convened in the office and during that meeting, army count of john adams provided the details of mccarthy and cohn's repeated attempts to secure special privileges for david shyne. german patterns to prepare a report. the army council had sent the white house a stack of documents in mid february. shortly thereafter the white house returned the document to the pentagon and the secret presidential orders to edit them into a report for publication. meanwhile, mccarthy continued hearings on the army. he harassed who had invoked his constitutional rights rather than answer whether he's ever been a member of the communist party. booker t. granted a communist and subpoenaed commanding
general ralph w.'s liquor for testimony. ralph flickr was one of his boys. a true hero of the war in europe. february 18th, 1954, joe mccarthy savagely confronted general's liquor. again and again, mccarthy pressed for details, got promoted and honorably discharged. finally, mccarthy delivered the ultimate insult to his war hero. zwicker was quote, not said to wear the uniform of the united states army. eisenhower on vacation was incensed when he heard about the attack. but as usual, he said nothing to the press. when ike returned to washington on february 24th, he did not note the army secretary robert
events that very day had not easily agreed to a secret luncheon meeting with joe mccarthy and the other republicans on his subcommittee. stevens went to that meeting to confront mccarthy and how he treated zwicker and other army personnel and instead talk stevens into signing an agreement that the newspaper quickly labeled you surrender. stevens arrived back at the pentagon that afternoon and bluntly told him, bob, you've been had. the next morning "the new york times" had a devastating photograph of mccarthy whispering and stephen fear. newspapers also settled on another false conclusion that because eisenhower had arrived back at the white house the same day as stephen's infamous lunch with mccarthy, they must still orders stevens to surrender.
in his diary, press secretary advocate describes the president is very mad and getting fed up. he's eisenhower's age and take all the profanity out. we know enough that there is plenty of it. that states it mildly. dwight eisenhower was having a full-blown presidential temper tantrum. this was the president wondered about his army. this can mccarthy is going to get into trouble over this come he growled. i'm not going to take this one laying down. my friends tell me it won't be long in this army staff before mccarthy starts using my name instead of stevens. he's ambitious. he wants to be president. he's the last guy in the world who will ever get to if i have anything to say. eisenhower went to the house
with fred -- drafted to repudiating that agreement. himself admitted for 30 minutes and no date, made it stronger. stevens read the statement to the press with the generals military language. i shall never -- try again. i shall never exceed to the abuse of army personnel under any circumstance is. i shall never be browbeaten or humiliated. when stevens finished, jim haggerty roads and said, on behalf of the president, he has been the statement been the statement. he approves and endorses that 100%. from that moment on, the political war was on.
fred seek another key pentagon people intensified their work, writing the report of mccarthy , cohn and shine. they covertly exported to important events. march 9, 1954, republican senator ralph flanders of vermont attack joe mccarthy on the floor of the united states senate. did the white house recruit flanders? probably. lenders have matched the previous week but is very good friend white house chief of staff and former new hampshire governor, sherman adams. flanders in the speech asked about joe mccarthy. to a party does he belong? the vermont senator said that his is a one-man party and its name is mccarthyism.
flinders concluded his speech with a rift on mccarthy's persecution of irving perez. he goes into his war groups. he goes forth to battle and proudly returns with the scalp of a pink army, unquote. flanders saturday sent a copy of his remarks to eisenhower who publicly commended them. edward r. murrow, eloquently condemned to mccarthy on his vietnam television program. he included quotations from the flanders speech. the senator as a one-man committee who had demoralized the president state state department and level charges of conspiracy against the army, including declaring the general ralph snookered was signed to serve.
moral argued that the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine line in the junior senator was from wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. devastating eloquence. eloquent that would speak even to our time. we will not walk in fear. we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. it is no time, moral concluded, that people who oppose senator mccarthy's message to keep silent. we cannot, he declared, defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. two days later, march 11th, released the 34 page shine report on behalf of the army.
i emphasize that. not the white house. the army. eisenhower in his memoirs never acknowledged writing that the army, not the white house moved over. i could not mention who in fact was operating under his direct orders. jim haggerty called the report a paid. he said it shows constant pressure by cohen to get a soft army job in another threats. hagerty believed the report should cut things wide open. it did. the result was a firestorm of controversy dating to the televised army mccarthy hearings. for two solid months, member only three major networks for two months. the american public watchtowers everyday as they announced mccarthy as the noxious bully.
i can cite only two episodes for the hearings, but there's much more in the book. in may, interrupted by both parties for testimony about the january 21st meeting. if you're still with me, remember the media which the eisenhower had first examined the mccarthy cohn and shine relationship. ike refused his to be subpoena and unmask his own involvement. on may 17th, eisenhower invoked the executive privilege for us historic precedent for the residential at visors. in response, mccarthy challenged government employees to disobey their superiors and report directly to him because their oath to protect and defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, there is a commitment that cowers far above secrecy
directive. eisenhower shot down mccarthy's tirade with the statement issued under the attorney general's name. again, not his name, never to mention mccarthy. he vented his rage as they complete eric is mccarthy, pacing behind his desk, eisenhower funded the challenge to federal employees to disobey their superiors amounts to nothing for the wholesale subversion of public service. mccarthy he barked is making exactly the same loyalty to him than hitler made to the german people. both tried to set a personal loyalty within the government while using the pretense of fighting communism. mccarthy is trying deliberately to subvert the people we have in government. people sworn to obey the law, the constitution in their
offices. i think this is the most disloyal act we have ever had by anyone in the government of the united states. unquote. attorney general walsh's statement confrontation to place on june 9, 1954 and the hearings have been going on since april 27th. occur at the charge during that session in his law firm a young man named fred fisher who had once been accused -- been associated with an allegedly procommunist organization. a hutch fell over the room and heard old the accusation. he sat with his head in his hands staring at the table. then he addressed the hearing chairman. mr. chairman, under the circumstances, i must have something approaching a personal privilege.
mccarthy was pacing about, ordering to retrieve his files on fred fisher. as they try to get mccarthy's attention without success, finally he declared until this moment, senator, i think i never really gauged your cruelty. fred fisher is starting what is going to be a brief career with us. you would be so reckless and cruel to do an injury. i fear he shall always bear the scar needlessly inflicted by you. i like to think that i am a gentle man. but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. mccarthy resumed his attacks on fisher and directed in a commanding voice. let us not assassinate this further. you have done enough.
censure process. that was more than joe mccarthy could take. on december 7th he walked into the first hearing of the subcommittee in months and openly apologized to the american people for supporting dwight eisenhower for president. but the struggle was over. in a june 1955 meeting with legislative leaders, eisenhower repeated a joke that was making the rounds in washington. quote: it's no longer mccarthyism, the president said, it's mccarthy-wasm. [laughter] eisenhower emerged publicly from his science on mccarthy just prior to his death. ike, using pencil, edited out his harshest criticisms of mccarthy. still, he could not resist a hint of what he really did. quote: what a lot of people today, even today don't know is
that behind the scenes i was doing all i could to assist those who were wrongly accused. and in many cases, my efforts were effective. eisenhower recalled once the struggle with mccarthy was over, a former critic of his approach to mccarthy said to him, by gosh, mr. president, you were right about mccarthy. and a smiling eisenhower responded, sometimes i am. [laughter] dwight d. eisenhower died on march 28, 1969. his article, quote, we must avoid the perils of extremism, was parished the following -- published the following month. for all his editing, dwight eisenhower had finally publicly denounced joe mccarthy. thank you, and i welcome any questions. [applause]
>> okay, folks, there's no such thing as a dumb question in my classroom. there may be dumb answers. i don't know everything, but i welcome -- i can't see you too well out there, so we have mics? okay, great. yes, sir. >> yeah. i was wondering, i was going to discuss mccarthy's alcoholism, which i suspect was there to begin with and gradually got worse. would you think that if mccarthy had been a tee totallier, if he'd been a healthy, sober, vigorous person with all the charactereddistics he had otherwise, do you think a sober mccarthy would have been more of a threat to eisenhower and the country and everything else? >> it's an interesting thought. queue don't know. you know -- you don't know. you know, in the '50s rehab services weren't as available as they are now, and he's a tragic figure, certainly.
it didn't help him. joe couldn't get started in the day without a big belt pretty early in the morning. and all day long just putting it away. i don't know. that would be peculation. i'm not -- speculation i'm not qualified to indulge in, but it's an interesting thought, sir. >> richard nixon developed quite a reputation as an anti-communist. as eisenhower's vice president, what was his role, if any, in the eisenhower/mccarthy intrigue? >> well, he was involved. the big thing in the book that we talk about is that richard nixon does a speech in response to a speech by adlai stevenson accusing the administration of being half eisenhower, half mccarthy. and nixon does that response very effectively. dick nixon was a political adviser to eisenhower including on things mccarthy. he was not directly involved with the operation that finally tied this gala of scandal around
his neck, but nixon was a particularly important adviser especially after taft died. we're all afflicted with richard nixon because of the way he lived his presidency. but actually, he's a most interesting -- the irwin yellman, my colleague, has written a great book on ike and nixon on the vice presidency that i commend to you. stronger than mine. let's see, who's next? i cannot -- okay, sir. >> thank you for coming. i've noticed over the last century about every 30 years the fascists of 1920, mccarthy and communism in '54, reagan tore down the wall and the china revolution, and now it's another 30 years, and it looks like the
united states, china and russia are aligning -- >> except we're going to put up a wall now. >> and we have a russian first lady. so what's the possibility for the new world order now? >> oh, i don't know that i'm qualified to answer that question, sir. do you have a thought? >> well, it looks like america might end up being communist since we're lining up with russia and china -- [laughter] and, you know, we're getting in bed with them pretty hard. >> as i said, the american people get scared about every generation, really, really scared. but i'm guardedly confident that there's some resilience in our body politic from those frightening times, but they are dangerous. they are dangerous. and i don't minimize that, and you're alluded to that certainly. thank you. >> what is the rationale for
eisenhower not stepping up and helping all the artists that were persecuted under mccarthyism? people didn't work for 20 yearses, some people died. it took 50 years before some writers who wrote wonderful academy award-winning movies to be recognized for their work. why would you keep quiet when these people suffered greatly? >> yeah. i think it's a legitimate question. eisenhower, though, i would point out that most of the artists and writers, hollywood people particularly were attacked by the house on american activities committee. mccarthy went after communists in government more. but nevertheless, eisenhower did not speak out about it. and a legitimate criticism of eisenhower is he didn't take on the role of being the public educator. but i'll swear to you i can
prove, and i don't use that word lightly, i'm not a pundit. i'm not a journalist. it isn't in a document or if there isn't compelling circumstantial evidence, eisenhower believed doing him in politically was the best way to do. that i can't dispute that. eisenhower's not a saint. he's the man of action, not a man of words. he's not won an award by making speeches, you know? and that's not who he was. on civil rights he did -- his actions were so much better than his rhetoric, and that is ike. i can't excuse it. and i don't. and we modern people want the bully pulpit to be used so much. we want it, but i will say to you that there's more the presidents do than talk. and sometimes talking can get them into trouble. indeed. [laughter] thank you, ma'am. yes. >> yes. is it the case, and i think i
read this years ago, and if it's not the case -- that joseph welch baited mccarthy, sort of baited him into the confrontation that led to the have you no sense of decency, that he had reason the know mccarthy was going to get into the thing about fred fisher and kind of led him down the road into that, or is that not accurate? >> you know, that's at least partially true. when they found out, when they first met at the pentagon, joe welch had his two young attorneys come down from boston. and fisher was one of them. and he asked them anything in your background that's going to to haunt you, and fisher said, yes, i belong to this lawyers' guild that have been accused of communist leaning, but i got out of it. and welch said, well, you can't go on and be part of the team. but they knew that mccarthy probably knew about it, it would come up. they planned even in their
talking then that he would get outraged if that came up, that he would plan his attack if he did. having said that, it's a little complicated in the book because welch had actually made a deal with roy cohn not to bring up roy cohn's lack of service and volunteering in the army if he didn't bring up this thing with fisher. but mccarthy violated that and brought it up, and i think roughly you correct, that welch was ready. >> and then a follow up, is it also the case that welch would sprinkle in what would be considered anti-gay innuendo in certain questions, sort of throwing it out there, like there's a back and forth about how many -- there's something about fairies or something like that that welch said that was sort of understood put this out there. >> yeah. mccarthy brought in a letter that he said was from j. edgar hoover. it was really a portion of a memorandum that he shouldn't have had.
and to to it was partly -- and so it was partly fraudulent, part any lot. -- partly not. welch quizzed one of mccarthy's aides about, well, where did it come from? did a pixie give it to you? he knew very well that roy cohn ghei it to him. gave it to him. and then mccarthy chimes in, it's kind of strange, and says, well, what's a pixie? to welch. he said, well, something like a fairy. [laughter] now, if you know the '50s, some of you are old enough. a fairy was a homosexual slur in those days. and so the interesting thing is they didn't talk openly about homosexuality. you don't find any works anywhere about this being a bay lovers' scandal. -- a gay lovers' scandal. so we've been reluctant to talk about it. i worry when i talk about with people like you about it because, oh, goodness, i'll get
in trouble if i say some of my best friends are in gay marriages. but anyway, it was that era where you didn't talk about it. it was all innuendo and whisper. but they all knew what they were whispering about. and at that moment i think it came out, yes. >> and mccarthy would have known what he was talking about at that moment. >> i would assume so. well, there have been allegations for decades about mccarthy being gay. one of the unanswered questions, so i can't answer for the book, is why joe mccarthy didn't fire roy cohn and get rid of this problem. and he did. no -- and he did not. and i asked a "newsweek" journalist who was in his 90s at the time. i interviewed him, he's now gone. and i said to him, what do you think roy cohn had on joe mccarthy? and he said we all thought he was gay, they just wouldn't let us write about him. i'm not sure that's the case. the case is a little mixed -- i
don't think it's mixed about roy cohn. we knew he was gay. he died of aids in 1986 although he never came out of the closet. so i'm not sure about that on mccarthy, but that's what that journalist said to me, and he was a reputable "newsweek" journalist at the time. >> thank you. >> with all the documentation and research, has there ever been any evidence that mccarthy had a list? was the list ever found? >> no. finish -- no, not to my knowledge. you know, one of the things we have to say in fairness to joe mccarthy, there were spies. there were spies in the government. that's been well documented. and no question. and there were spies in -- and eisenhower knew that. eisenhower had pretty tough procedures for bringing people into the government. after all, he had allowed the execution of ethel rosenberg to go ahead each when they had small children.
he went ahead. he was very conflicted about it. so there were spies. having said that, there's no ed joe mccarthy ever identified one. >> what ever happened to david shine? >> david shine, that's an interesting story. david shine, a couple of years after this was all over married a miss universe candidate -- [laughter] and had six children. and so that confuses people. it's one reason i've talked about this relationship. but you know, all i i can say to you is we don't know, but the lgbt, the b stands for something, you know? [laughter] and some people are bisexual. i just don't know. having said that, you know, gay men in those days and still up to this time get married and have children. and so it's a very complicated life for them. and i know some of them have gone through that, and it's
tough. so, but i'm satisfied at minimum, at absolute minimum roy cohn was infatuated with dave shine. and i have some evidence in my book that goes beyond infatuation. >> so if there are no more questions -- >> [inaudible] >> oh, there is a question. >> oh, i just wanted to make a comment. [inaudible] >> yeah, i wouldn't be sure. now that you ask me, i forget -- he died in a car -- plane crash, and i forget exactly when. >> yeah. that was -- [inaudible] >> thank you. so the french connection was produced by -- [inaudible] >> okay, thank you. i learned something tonight. good, thank you. >> let's thank david nichols. [applause]
>> the book and one of his other books, i think about the suez crisis, is for sale by rainy day in the hall, and david nichols sign your book up here if you could line up over here. [inaudible conversations] >> this is tom mccall waterfront park here in portland, oregon, named after former oregon number tom mccall who was known for his strong environmental policies. right now we hear from author richard clucas about the complexities of oregon politics. >> the name of the book is "oregon politics and government."