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On January 30, 1954, army captain Dr. Irving Peress appeared before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Peress had been drafted into the army in October 1952, and was promoted automatically through the provisions of the Doctor Draft Law in November 1953. Peress had not signed a loyalty oath and had been recommended for discharge, but somehow, nothing was done. McCarthy investigated Peress' promotion on December 5 and called for an immediate discharge. When Peress appeared before the committee he refused to answer McCarthy's questions by claiming his Fifth Amendment rights. McCarthy then sent a message to Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens demanding that Peress be court-martialed. At the same time Peress requested that he be discharged from the Army immediately, and the next day, Brigadier General Ralph Zwicker, the commanding officer at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, gave Peress an honorable discharge. Zwicker was summoned to appear before the committee on February 18, and on the advice of counsel, refused to answer all of the questions McCarthy asked. McCarthy accused Zwicker of perjury and said that he had the brains of a "five year old" and was "not fit to wear the uniform." Secretary Stevens ordered General Zwicker not to return to the hearing. Stevens then agreed to meet with Senators McCarthy, Dirkson, Mundt and some other Republians over lunch, where he signed a memorandum of understanding, in which he agreed to most of McCarthy's demands. McCarthy told a reporter that Stevens "could not have given in more abjectly if he had got down on his knees." This whole incident lead to the Army-McCarthy hearings which were televised live by ABC and an estimated 80 million people watched part of them. These hearings were largely responsible for McCarthy's fall from popularity. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted by a two-thirds majority to censure him.


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"Stevens May Resign If He Does Not Receive Support From Eisenhower" article from Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder-Gazette
date   Feb 25, 1954
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   1.5"
height   22.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.068

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See Also...

"Committee Recommends Senate Censure McCarthy, Charges He Treated Group Contemptuously" article from Greenfield Recorder-Gazette

Editorial on "Sen. Joseph McCarthy" from the Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"High Court Bars Alien Deportation" article in Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

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