Section One

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March 7, 1954: “Relax—He Hasn’t Got To You Yet”
Washington Post

Herblock first targeted Senator Joseph McCarthy on March 29, 1950, coining the term “McCarthyism” to describe the senator’s charges that the State Department contained known Communists. This cartoon referenced McCarthy’s allegation that the U.S. Army allowed Communists in its ranks. In hearings, McCarthy berated a general who had served with President Eisenhower in World War II, declaring the officer “not fit to wear a uniform.”

Those who knew of Ike’s private dislike of the senator expected a presidential rebuke; instead Ike mildly responded that government witnesses should be treated with “respect and courtesy.” Many, like Herblock, judged Ike a weakling. However, the president, as he often did, worked behind the scenes to televise the hearings, believing that when Americans saw McCarthy they would turn against him. In the end, Ike’s strategy worked, and the hearings were the beginning of the end for McCarthy.