The history department at Southwestern College will host a book event with local author David Nichols on Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in Deets Memorial Library. Admission is free and the public is invited. Light refreshments will be served and copies of the Nichols’ “Ike and McCarthy” will be available for purchase and signing.
The former academic dean at SC, Nichols has written three books on President Dwight D. Eisenhower and is currently on a national press tour for the launch of his latest book, “Ike and McCarthy,” published by Simon & Schuster. The new book has won rave reviews in such periodicals as the “Wall Street Journal,” “The Atlantic,” and most recently, “The Washington Post.”
“Ike and McCarthy” is the first book to rigorously document, using declassified and ignored sources, Dwight Eisenhower’s secret campaign to destroy Joseph McCarthy’s political influence. Dwight Eisenhower shrewdly deployed trusted subordinates in a clandestine operation that ruined McCarthy and “Ike and McCarthy” is the first book to fully authenticate that fact, says SC history professor Stephen Woodburn.
“David Nichols has remained a good friend of Southwestern College,” Woodburn says, “and has done great things in his research on Eisenhower. This book represents incredible findings and tells a great story as well.”
For decades, Eisenhower’s detractors have depicted him as cowardly in refusing to use his bully puppet to assault the senator’s anti-communist witch hunt. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower loathed McCarthy, but he was more a man of action than words, Nichols’ book says. Believing that giving McCarthy presidential attention would only enhance his prestige, Ike refused to use the senator’s name in public. During 1953, Eisenhower was preoccupied with ending the Korean War and otherwise prosecuting the Cold War – not McCarthy.
However, when McCarthy went after Communists in the U.S. Army, Eisenhower took it as a direct challenge—and an opportunity, the book says. In early 1954, he and his team investigated the privileges Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s chief counsel, had recklessly sought for Private G. David Schine. The White House decided to exploit this scandal to damage McCarthy. On Ike’s secret orders, the Army produced a report in March 1954 that generated a political firestorm.
The Army’s narrative prompted the 1954 televised Army-McCarthy hearings, lasting two months, and watched by millions. Television was unkind to McCarthy and his poll numbers plummeted. In early 1954, Joe McCarthy had been one of the most powerful members of the United States Senate. By year’s end, he had been formally censured by his colleagues. His political reputation never recovered.