Class Notes

During WWII an interesting relationship occurred that would have an effect on American political history as well as possibly altering history as we know it today.  During the War, a young marine officer and future senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, became friends with a young naval officer and future senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy. They saw in each other a similar drive. Later in 1952, McCarthy was at the height of his power and popularity and his campaigning was one of the reasons credited with Republicans reclaiming the Senate. He campaigned in every state that had a Senate election except one, Massachusetts, where his Democratic friend was able to win the position. Later when the Senate voted to censure McCarthy every Democrat voted against McCarthy except for JFK.

The history alternating event came when McCarthy was setting up his House Un-American Activities trials and chose as his lead attorney Roy Cohen.  As his assistant council he chose the younger brother of his friend, Bobby Kennedy. After just a few weeks in Bobby became upset that he was the assistant and not the lead, so he resigned his position. If Bobby had his way the McCarthy hearings would have been McCarthy and Kennedy instead of McCarthy and Cohen.  If that were the case the stain of McCarthyism would have been all over JFK and probably would have made his presidential run more difficult, possibly changing the course of history.

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