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Ike and McCarthy

Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy

IKE & McCarthy is the first book to rigorously document, using declassified and ignored sources, Dwight Eisenhower’s secret campaign to destroy Joseph McCarthy’s political influence.

For decades, Eisenhower’s detractors have depicted him as cowardly in refusing to use “the bully pulpit” to assault the senator’s anti-communist witch hunt. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower loathed McCarthy, but he was more a man of action than words. Believing that giving McCarthy presidential attention would only enhance his prestige, Ike refused to use the senator’s name in public. During 1953, Eisenhower was preoccupied with ending the Korean war and otherwise prosecuting the Cold War – not McCarthy.

However, when McCarthy went after communists in the U.S. Army, Eisenhower took it as a direct challenge—and an opportunity. In early 1954, he and his team investigated the privileges Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s chief counsel, had so recklessly sought for Private G. David Schine. The White House decided to exploit this scandal to damage McCarthy. On Ike’s secret orders, the Army produced a report in March 1954 that generated a political firestorm.

The Army’s narrative prompted the 1954 televised Army-McCarthy hearings, lasting two months, and watched by millions. Television was unkind to McCarthy and his poll numbers plummeted. In early 1954, Joe McCarthy had been one of the most powerful members of the United States Senate. By year’s end, he had been formally censured by his colleagues. His political reputation never recovered.

Dwight Eisenhower shrewdly deployed trusted subordinates in a clandestine operation that ruined McCarthy. IKE & McCarthy is the first book to fully authenticate that fact.

Published on the the 60th anniversary of McCarthy’s death.

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 3, 1952. Eisenhower is unable to avoid shaking hands with the man he detested, Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 3, 1952. Eisenhower tries but is unable to avoid shaking hands with the man he detested, Senator Joseph McCarthy.