Joseph McCarthy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908May 2, 1957) served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period of extreme anti-communist suspicion inspired by the tensions of the Cold War. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. The term "McCarthyism", coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.



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