By David K. Johnson
Winner of 3 publication awards, The Lavender Scare masterfully traces the origins of up to date sexual politics to chilly struggle hysteria over nationwide safeguard. Drawing on newly declassified files and interviews with former executive officers, historian David Johnson chronicles how the parable that homosexuals threatened nationwide safety made up our minds executive coverage for many years, ruined hundreds of thousands of lives, and driven many to suicide. As Johnson exhibits, this fantasy not just outlived McCarthy yet, via the Sixties, helped release a brand new civil rights struggle.
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You can’t hardly separate homosexuals from subversives,” he explained. “Mind you, I don’t say every homosexual is a subver- 38 Chapter 1 sive, and I don’t say every subversive is a homosexual. ”45 ★ With the Peurifoy revelation, the alleged danger posed by homosexuals in government emerged as a major political issue in American life. Though initially part of a partisan political strategy to embarrass the Truman administration, it was an issue that clearly resonated with the public. Many politicians saw it as a more potent political weapon than the Communistsin-government issue and pressed McCarthy and others to refocus their efforts.
Intolerance of this kind of deviation increases substantially as you go down the income scale,” Lloyd argued, though he offered no evidence for his claim. ” Aides feared the issue would be raised in the upcoming congressional elections, as well as in the 1952 presidential contest. Newspaper editorials were already suggesting that Republicans would be railing against “queer goings-on in the State Department” in the fall campaign. ” Three aides wrote a joint memorandum to the president in which they highlighted the seriousness of the brewing homosexual scandal.
14 Senator Bridges was not alone in his critique of McCarthy. Other Washington insiders suggested he shift his efforts from “card-carrying” Communists to security risks. “The Senator overstated whatever case he may have and called things by their wrong name,” wrote Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Arthur Krock. ” Attorney and former FBI agent Frederick Ayer, who turned down the role of aide to a Senate committee investigating McCarthy’s charges, concurred. 15 Most important, the desire to refocus McCarthy’s efforts was shared by the Republican Party leadership.