America’s Retreat From Victory

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.”

Thorough Research

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

Read McCarthy’s book online

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6 Replies to “America’s Retreat From Victory”

  1. Ed Clark

    I cannot attest the sanity of Joe McCarthy, but growing up I remember hearing his fanatical rantings. I suspect he was trying to copy Richard Nixon’s success with the Chamber’s matter and attain the Presidency. No matter, but to impune the character and patriotsum of General George C. Marshall in this speech is just unconscionable. I suggest a through study of General Marshall before accepting this speech/book as valid. It is apparent that McCarthy did not know of what he spoke and really did not know Marshall. Why do people always want to run to a loud mouth demagog?

  2. Ed Bartley Allen

    Why should Marshall be “sacred”? — especially to the extent of it being “unconscionable” to question him?

    I think it is fine for ANYONE to be questioned. It is clear to me that Marshall worked for the establishment, and that same establishment worked hard to build a friendly relationship with slave-labor-state Communist China, to the point where now America can do virtually nothing without the permission of the Chinese oligarchs who hold our debt. Gee, thanks George! What a great patriot.

  3. Charleston Voice

    Isn’t it amusing that while McCarthy’s enemies and detractors malign him in many ways they can point to no inaccuracies in McCarthy’s claims?

  4. VincentMVNY

    “fanatical rantings”, “impune (sic)”,
    “patriotsum (sic)”,”did not know of what he spoke”. These statements say a lot about this writer. Are we to assume he knows of what he writes?Dare I guess he’s never read this book but can remember that the left always characterizes McCarthy as hysterical and of making “fanatical rantings”. A friend just sent me this book to read and it’s changed my mind about the high regard in which I held Marshall as a result of what I was spoon fed during my whole life. The book is impeccably documented and footnoted with quotes from the memoirs of Marshall’s contemporaries, friends and foes. McCarthy’s stock has risen since the production of the Venona papers after the fall of Communism proved every one of his allegations regarding Communist penetration into the highest offices of both Roosevelt’s and Truman’s administrations WERE TRUE! The Rosenbergs, SPIES, Acheson, TRAITOR, Hiss, TRAITOR, etc., etc. You’d never know this because the left media would rather you continue to think of Joe McCarthy as a “fanatical ranter”. “McCarthyism” should be a badge of honor.

  5. Robert PTC

    McCarthy’s rantings? How about this: “Ironically, a 1997 report by liberal Senator Moynihan’s commission on government secrecy vindicated McCarthy’s claims of Communist infiltration.” I guess he wasn’t so crazy or he wasn’t really ranting after all. Look at the fool who occupies the White House now. If he isn’t the product of Communism then my name is George Washington.

  6. xxcr

    From another review of this book:
    After the fall of China to Communist forces, General Wedemeyer would testify before Congress that while the loss of morale was indeed a cause of the defeat of the Nationalist Chinese forces, the Truman administration’s 1947 decision to discontinue further training and modernizing of Nationalist forces, the U.S.-imposed arms embargo [i.e. Marshall’s policies], and constant anti-Nationalist sentiment expressed by Western journalists and policymakers were primary causes of that loss of morale. In particular, Wedemeyer stressed that if the U.S. had insisted on experienced American military advisers attached at the lower battalion and regimental levels of Nationalist armies [rejected by Marshall] (as it had done with Greek army forces during the Greek Civil War), that aid could have more efficiently been utilized, and that the immediate tactical assistance would have resulted in Nationalist armies performing far better in combat against the Communist Chinese. Vice-Admiral Oscar C. Badger, General Claire Chennault, and Brigadier General Francis Brink also testified that the arms embargo was a significant factor in the loss of China.


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