Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy (1909-1957) was an American right-wing Republican politician, whose unsubstantiated claim in 1950 that the State Department had been infiltrated by Communists started a wave of anticommunist hysteria, wild accusations, and blacklists, which continued until he was discredited in 1954.
A lawyer, McCarthy became senator for his native Wisconsin in 1946, and in February 1950 caused a sensation by claiming to hold a list of about 200 Communist Party members working in the State Department. This was in part inspired by the Hiss case.
McCarthy continued a witch-hunting campaign until 1954, when he turned his attention to the army, and it was shown that he and his aides had been falsifying evidence. By this time, however, many thousands of people in pubhc life and the arts had been unofficially blacklisted as suspected Communists or fellow travellers (communist sympathizers). He gave his name to the practice of McCarthyism (making unsupported accusations).
Why is Joseph McCarthy famous?
Joseph McCarthy served as a Republican U.S. Senator from 1947 until his death in 1957.