Study Guide

Robert T. Stevens in Have You No Sense of Decency?

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

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Robert T. Stevens

Stevens, who worked for 50 years in his family's textile business, was tapped by President Roosevelt to be the director of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. He served in WWII at the level of Colonel, and was chosen by President Eisenhower to be Secretary of the Army, a position he held from 1953-1955. (Source)

Soft-spoken and dignified, Secretary Stevens was not prepared for Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy. Stevens considered McCarthy just a punk kid, and initially even told Army personnel to ignore the Senator's subpoenas. But after McCarthy insulted a highly-decorated general, Stevens felt he had no choice but to confront him. (Source)

As important as Stevens was to the hearing itself (he testified twice a day for two weeks), as he was at once both plaintiff and defendant, he wasn't a very active participant in their resolution. Really, that was always going to come down to the Joes, McCarthy and Welch.

Stevens was along for the ride.

The hearings did some damage to his career as well, or at the very least damage to his desire for government work. He served out his term until 1955, where he returned to the private sector. He ran the textile business until he retired at age 70.

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