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Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy


Archivist’s welcome for
Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy
Thursday, April 21, at noon
McGowan Theater, Archives I

Good afternoon. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m delighted to welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives for our program on Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign Against Joseph McCarthy with author David A. Nichols. Whether you are here in the McGowan Theater or watching on YouTube, thank you for coming.

Before we get started, I’d like to tell you about two programs coming up soon in this theater.

As part of our observance of the centennial of World War I, we will welcome award-winning historian Elizabeth Cobbs here on Tuesday, April 25, at noon. She will discuss and sign her latest book, The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers, which tells the story of the 300 remarkable women selected by the U.S. Signal Corps to operate the vital communications network that helped win World War I.

On Wednesday, May 3rd at noon we’ll present a special program—one of several that commemorate the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy. Historian Douglas Brinkley and JFK’s nephew Stephen Kennedy Smith will be here to discuss their book, JFK–A Vision for America, which brings together Kennedy’s greatest speeches alongside essays by America’s top historians, political thinkers, writers, and artists. A book signing will also follow that program.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events in print or online at Archives.gov. There are copies in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet so you can receive it by regular mail or email. You’ll also find brochures about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

The National Archives and Records Administration oversees 14 Presidential Libraries, including the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas. Each library is an unmatched resource for information about and insight into a President, his family, and associates. As scholars burrow deeply into the records, and as more material is released over time, we often see shifts in how a President and the Presidency is perceived.

This is certainly true of Dwight Eisenhower. While he was once regarded as genial but detached, now he is presented as a more complex and involved President.

One major criticism of Eisenhower was that he did not confront Senator Joseph McCarthy during his anti-communist crusade. Today’s guest, David Nichols, having investigated documents in the Eisenhower Library and elsewhere, reveals how Eisenhower worked behind the scenes to engineer McCarthy’s downfall.In his book’s acknowledgments, Nichols graciously thanked the staff at the Eisenhower Library, including former director Karl Weissenbach, his successor Tim Rives, and archivist Christopher Abraham.

While Dr. Nichols was working on this book, he allowed us to print an excerpt in the Fall 2015 issue of Prologue, our quarterly magazine, as part of our commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Eisenhower’s birth.

Since the book came out last month, it has attracted favorable press.

James Ledbetter, writing in the Washington Post, declared that “Nichols has provided a gripping, detailed account of how the executive branch subtly but decisively defeated one of America’s most dangerous demagogues.”

Sam Tanenhaus in The Atlantic wrote, “Ike and McCarthy is a well-researched and sturdily written account of what may be the most important such conflict in modern history: the two years, 1953 and 1954, when Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first Republican president elected since Herbert Hoover, found himself under assault from the demagogic senator who perfected the politics of ideological slander.”

And now I’d like to turn you over to the Executive Director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, Brigadier General Carl Reddel.

General Reddel began work with the Eisenhower Memorial Commission in 2001, while he was Public Service Fellow in the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Before arriving in Gettysburg, he was professor and head of the History Department at the United States Air Force Academy President and then CEO of the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute in Washington, D.C.

As executive director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, General Reddel oversaw securing congressional approval for the location of the memorial, selected after review of 26 sites, and the choice of Frank Gehry as the designer. The Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission approved the design of the memorial in 2015, and the Memorial Commission anticipates groundbreaking this fall and dedication of the memorial in 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Brigadier General Carl Reddel.


Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-eisenhower-worked-stealthily-to-reign-in-joseph-mccarthy/2017/04/14/59ac86a2-f9ee-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html