Exactly thirty years ago millions of Americans were fascinated by a day-time TV drama featuring the Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy. The Army-McCarthy hearings, called by one writer, “the greatest political show on earth,” were televised by ABC from April 22 to June 17, 1954. For many it was the first opportunity to see the Senator whose name epitomized militant anti-Communism and who since 1950 had attracted more attention than the President of the United States. Few viewers could know, however, that TV's exposure would help destroy McCarthy’s political career and lead to his censure by the Senate later that year.

Note on the Author

David Culver is Associate Professor of History.