John Pryce c777
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: 1) most of the people McCarthy accused actually WERE, at minimum, fellow travelers of Communism or Communists (this was proven by the Venona papers, released in the 90s).
2) Accusations of “witchhunt” require that the accused be doing something that is suspicious but harmless, or that they weren’t actually doing anything. Being a Communist while working for the US government during the Cold War was not harmless. The existence of Moscow-directed saboteurs and spies in the US government has long since been proven, and this penetration is believed to have begun not long after the US formally recognized the USSR in (I believe) 1929. So, no, this was not a witchhunt. It was a molehunt.
3) McCarthy, as a Senator, did not have and did not claim the power to arrest anyone, and his investigations did not and could not have resulted in criminal charges. Being a Communist, per se, was not a crime in the 50s (It could make life difficult, but to be a Communist meant that, on some level, you preferred the victory of a country that wanted to destroy yours). His activities were directed at suspected Communists serving in the US government. The penetration of the US government by Communist spies and activists during and before the Cold War has long since been established.
4) HUAC had nothing to do with McCarthy. HUAC was run out of the House, which does have the constitutional authority to file criminal charges. It also began in the 30s, 20 years before McCarthy was elected.
5) McCarthyism is a smear that was developed by people who wanted the USSR to win the Cold War, and were angry at McCarthy’s barely mildly successful efforts to reverse their ability to sabotage the USA.
And finally 6) If America had actually taken effective action against Communists in government early on (say in 1933 or earlier), not only would China have never fallen to Mao, but half the countries that did fall to Communism would not have done so. The USSR itself might have failed outright if America had not formally recognized it; and if word of the intentional mass starvation of the Kulaks by Stalin had reached the West (and hadn’t been covered up by Duranty), that recognition would never have happened.