Study Guide

John G. Adams in Have You No Sense of Decency?

By Joseph R. McCarthy, Joseph N. Welch, et al.

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John G. Adams

Adams liked the Army. Liked it enough he would have married it if he could.

During World War II, he served as an officer in Africa, France, and Italy, and later kept up as a reservist for thirty years after the end of the war, retiring as a colonel. After this, he served as the general counsel for the Army. Basically, this guy was the Army's lawyer.

If you're wondering why the Army needs a lawyer, your answer is Joe McCarthy.

Initially told to cultivate a respectful relationship with McCarthy, Adams quickly realized the guy was off his rocker. He turned down McCarthy's requests for special treatment for David Schine, and this put the two of them at loggerheads. Though Welch was the man who finally slapped McCarthy down, Adams was the one in the trenches for a long time before Welch arrived.

Adams never wrote about the McCarthy Era until his memoir was published in 1983; he said it was too "repugnant" to think about (source).

Spoiler alert: he didn't like Joe McCarthy very much.

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