Book review: America’s Retreat From Victory by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy
by F.C. Etier
“Glenn Beck attacks Sandra Bullock over donations to Haiti and New Orleans…” Can you imagine the fallout from a headline like that?
A nationally popular activist/commentator attacking an acknowledged hero that recently won major awards would raise eyebrows in each of their camps — and stir up a mushroom cloud of controversy.
Senator Joseph R. McCarthy delivered a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1950 in which he attacked Secretary of Defense, author of the Marshall Plan, and eventual Noble Peace Prize recipient, George Catlett Marshall. McCarthy’s speech was published in book form in 1951 as America’s Retreat From Victory. The subtitle was The Story of George Catlett Marshall. It only seems logical that if you’re going after someone with the stature of a Sandra Bullock or a George C. Marshall, you better have your ducks in a row. Certainly the analogy with Beck and Bullock was fictitious, but McCarthy’s attack was not.
McCarthy’s speech revealed little known — and well documented — facts about the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Marshall’s Secret Past
According to McCarthy, a friend warned, “Don’t do it, McCarthy. Marshall has been built into such a great hero in the eyes of the people that you will destroy yourself politically if you lay hands on the laurels of this great man.” Did the senator throw caution to the winds? His reply, “The reason the world is in such a tragic state today is that too many politicians have been doing only that which they consider politically wise — only that which is safe for their own political fortunes.” McCarthy pressed ahead, encouraged by a 1943 article in the New York Times magazine by Sidney Shalett. Shalett quotes Marshall as having said, “No publicity will do me no harm, but some publicity will do me no good.” McCarthy says in the book/speech, “This perhaps is why Marshall stands alone among the wartime leaders in that he has never [as of June 1951] written his own memoirs or allowed anyone else to write his story for him.”
Throughout America’s Retreat From Victory the reader will notice that McCarthy makes most of his more noteworthy (alarming/controversial) points by quoting other authors. Under the heading of “Source Material”, Appendix A lists more than two dozen bibliographical references from such authors as Winston Churchill, General Omar Bradley and General Claire Chennault….
Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune (later to become president of the White House Correspondent’s Association) published a story in the American Mercury titled, “The Tragedy of George Marshall.” According to Trohan’s story, in 1933, Marshall, a captain at the time, via an intercession of General Pershing, asked Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur if he could be “fast-tracked.” Marshall’s record lacked sufficient time with troops so he was put in charge of one of the Army’s finest regiments (the Eighth; Fort Screven, GA) to prove himself. In less than a year under Marshall’s command, the Eighth Regiment dropped to one of the worst in the army, making promotion impossible. Six years later, President Roosevelt placed George C. Marshall in command of the entire United States Army….
Consistently quoting credible sources and using documented research to make his points, McCarthy leads the reader through a series of events managed or strongly influenced by Marshall to assure the fall of Eastern Europe and China to Stalin and the communists. The situation reached a terminal point in Tehran where Marshall and Stalin defeated a stubborn Churchill in what McCarthy describes as “the most significant decision of the war in Europe,” “…to concentrate on France and leave the whole of Eastern Europe to the Red armies.”
McCarthy chronicles Marshall’s efforts through the Yalta and Potsdam meetings and the post war “Marshall Plan” to diminish American influence. McCarthy details a complicated and far-reaching conspiracy, naming names…. In the end, Marshall finished his career as Secretary of State, won a Nobel Peace Prize and died a hero. McCarthy was censured by the U.S.Senate and died in Bethesda Hospital supposedly of liver complications from long-term alcoholism. In the seventies, stories surfaced that the “power elite” had taken McCarthy to Bethesda to “get rid of him,” prompting his supporters to advise avoiding Bethesda.
Ironically, a 1997 report by liberal Senator Moynihan’s commission on government secrecy vindicated McCarthy’s claims of Communist infiltration.
Read the full article at F.C. Etier’s site