Probably the most notorious character from the Communist Scare that occurred in the United States in the middle years of the last century is Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.
Part of McCarthy's legacy is that his name has come to symbolize the hunt for Communists and disloyal Americans. McCarthyism has come to mean the casting of accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason, with little or no regard to the validity or accuracy of the accusation.
Joseph McCarthy served as a Republican Senator from 1947 until his death in 1957. He would be the most visible public face and voice during a period of rising Cold War tensions. McCarthy came to national attention after a Lincoln Day, 1950, speech to the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia. During the speech the Senator produced a piece of paper which he claimed listed the names of known Communist working in the State Department. (The exact number is a matter of debate, no audio recording of the speech has survived.)
McCarthy would continue to exploit the National fear of Communism to rise to power and notoriety. His methods and recklessness would create both fear and scorn among those who became his enemies. McCarthy would use the term McCarthyism to describe "Americanism with its sleeves rolled." For others it would symbolize demagoguery and baseless defamation.
Those who would eventually come under McCarthy's accusations would include individual members of the State Department, the Voice of America radio network, President Harry Truman, and the United States Army. His actions would ultimately lead to censure from the Senate.