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1908 Joseph McCarthy is born on a farm in Outagamie County, Wisconsin.
1927 McCarthy enters high school for the first time at age 19. He receives his diploma after just one year.
1928 McCarthy enters Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When McCarthy leaves Marquette he has a law degree. He goes into private practice, and in four years time he becomes a judge in Wisconsin District Court.
1930s These years marked the beginning of governmental inquiry into what was seen as "the Communist problem." The Dies Committee and the State of California Joint Fact-finding Committee on Un-American Activities become the precursors to HUAC.
1942 McCarthy leaves the bench to join the Marines as first lieutenant. While in the Marines he breaks his leg at a shipboard party, but he later claimed that he received the injury in combat.
1944 McCarthy is honorably discharged from the Marines and unsuccessfully runs against Alexander Wiley in Wisconsin for the United States Senate.
1946 McCarthy makes his second senatorial bid. This time he is able to narrowly defeat incumbent Robert LaFollette, Jr. in the primary. From there he breezes to election in November, winning by a 2 to 1 margin over his Democratic opponent.
1947 The first wave of hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) occur. During this time novelist Ayn Rand testifies regarding the pro-communist slant of the film Song of Russia (1944). It is in these hearings that the "Hollywood Ten" are blacklisted and sentenced to prison terms for contempt of Congress. McCarthy does not participate in these hearings.
1947-1949 McCarthy accepts kickbacks from Pepsi Cola totaling $20,000 in exchange for helping Pepsi to circumvent the post-war sugar rationing. He also gets another $10,000 from entrepreneurs in the pre-fabricated housing industry. Shortly thereafter, McCarthy joins the Senate Housing Committee and goes on the road to speak out against public housing for veterans, extolling the benefits of the pre-fabricated home and offering it as an alternative.
1950 On February 9th in Wheeling, West Virginia, McCarthy gives his first public speech against communism. He opens with the sentence, "I have in my hand a list of 205 cases of individuals who appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party.
1950 On February 20th McCarthy gives a six hour speech on the floor of the Senate that lasts until midnight. However, he now claims to have evidence of only 81 communists working in the State Department.
1950 The McCarran Act, or Internal Security Act of 1950, is passes. Among other things, it authorizes the creation of concentration camps "for emergency situations." Though Truman originally vetoes the legislation, the Senate overrides him by a vote of 89-11.
1951 The second wave of HUAC hearings begins with McCarthy leading the charge. Over the next three years McCarthy is a mainstay in the public eye, and he subpoenas some of the most prominent entertainers of the era (e.g. Orson Welles, Lucille Ball, Dashielle Hammett, and Lillian Hellman) before HUAC, demanding "the naming of names."
1952 McCarthy re-elected to the Senate.
1953 Arthur Miller's play The Crucible premieres at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York on January 22.
1954 After a confrontation with Secretary of the Army, Robert Stevens, McCarthy soon afterward convenes the Army-McCarthy hearings to investigate communism in the Army. With the help of President Eisenhower and Edward Murrow's unedited footage of the hearings, the Army is vindicated and the true nature of McCarthyism is becomes evident to the American public.
1954 On December 2, the Senate votes 67-22 to censure McCarthy for "conduct contrary to Senatorial tradition." It is only the third time in the Senate's history that such a censure is issued.
1957 On May 2, McCarthy dies at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland from a condition related to his cirrhotic liver. He is forty-eight.
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