Description: As the Cold War kicked off in the late 1940s, America was rocked by revelations that hundreds of Soviet spies had somehow entrenched themselves in the highest levels of the government. When Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy took the lead in exposing them, he kicked a hornet's nest that soon swarmed and overwhelmed him. The period known as the "Red Scare" is a complex time in American history, and Senator McCarthy was a complex man with ambivalent personal motivations. Unfortunately, the hornets he agitated included the political press and academic establishment, who for decades worked to wash away the complexities of the man and the era.
The popular political cartoonist Jules Feiffer once wrote that "the secret to good cartooning is hate." Not personal hate, he clarified, but professional hate: "the intensity of conviction that comes to a craftsman's work when he has made the decision to kill, the decision to shun all political and behavioral complexities, so that the subject becomes, purely and simply, a demon."