Best known for warning of a growing “military-industrial complex,” President Dwight Eisenhower also played a central role in stopping the anti-Communist witch hunt called McCarthyism.
By 1954, Sen. Joseph McCarthy had frightened the nation by conducting secret investigations, smear campaigns and public hearings that ruined many careers.
The president made no secret of his concern over McCarthyism, even inviting entertainers to dinner at the White House after McCarthy had questioned their patriotism.
Finally, when McCarthy went after the military, Eisenhower had had enough. He ordered that anyone advising him on official matters was not to disclose their advice to McCarthy’s subcommittee, or they “won’t be working for me that night.”
Ike refused to call out McCarthy publicly, but shared his disgust in private discussions with business leaders, politicians and the media, quietly cutting off McCarthy from sources of support. Within weeks, the senator’s star began to fade.
— Adapted from Eisenhower: The White House Years, Jim Newton, Doubleday.