This is up at The Atlantic.
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I actually have a little draft note (in the notepad I keep to jot down blog ideas) where I noted that Beck comment about McCarthy, having intended to use it as a jumping off point for a review of the excellent The Age of Anxiety by Haynes Johnson, but my focus was going to be on how amazing it is that McCarthy is being rehabilitated despite how his rise to prominence was based on an outrageous fabrication.
With respect to McCarthy, the evaluation by Dr. John Earl Haynes has never been improved upon:
” [Harvey] Klehr and I have repeatedly made clear that neither Venona, Moscow archival material, nor Vassiliev’s notebooks provide any meaningful vindication for McCarthy.
First, that there had been significant Soviet espionage and Communist infiltration of key government agencies was not a view originating with McCarthy. That point had been publicly and vigorously advanced years before McCarthy arrived on the scene by, among other, Elizabeth Bentley, Whittaker Chambers, and Louis Budenz. The evidence that has emerged since the early 1990s certainly corroborates and vindicates their charges and the particulars of their testimony.
Second, Joseph McCarthy, however, went beyond them by claiming that the espionage and infiltration occurred with the knowledge and assistance of key Truman administration officials, namely Secretary of Defense and State George Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, both part of McCarthy’s ‘a conspiracy so immense’. There is no support in the new evidence for what was new in McCarthy’s charges or for the particular persons he named such as Acheson and Marshall. When McCarthy was right, he was not original and was only repeating charges made years earlier by others. When he was original, he was wrong.
For my view of McCarthy, see:
http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page58.html and http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2007/12/mccarthy-accord.html
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