This 1954 drawing shows a butcher knife-wielding Joe McCarthy confronting a frightened President Eisenhower. That he is pulling a feather from a sword’s sheath implies that the president was powerless to stop McCarthy’s crusade. While in Wisconsin during his 1952 presidential campaign, Eisenhower removed from his speech a defense of his mentor, George C. Marshall, for fear that defending the McCarthy target would cost him the state’s electoral votes. McCarthy held Secretary of Defense Marshall responsible for much of China falling into Mao Zedong’s communist rule. Like politicians before him Eisenhower used America’s strong anti-communist sentiment to his advantage, campaigning beside McCarthy en route to his presidential election.
Even after seven republican senators condemned McCarthy’s smear tactics, Eisenhower failed to take a strong stance and continued to speak of “justice and fair play” in fighting communism.