President Asks Legion to Fight ‘Scandalmongers’ Trying to Abolish Rights


Strikes at Character Assassins – Senator Promptly Replies With Cry of ‘Smear’

Text of the President’s address will be found on page 12

Special to the New York Times

Washington, Aug 14 – President Truman exhorted all Americans today to “rise up and put a stop” to character assassins and scandalmongers, some of them in Congress, “who are trying to divide us and confuse us and tear up the Bill of Rights.”

Speaking at dedication ceremonies of a $1,000,000 Washington headquarters for the American Legion here, Mr. Truman delivered the strongest denunciation he has yet made of the activities of Senator Joseph R. MacCarthy, Wisconsin Republican, and his associates in the so-called anti-Communist campaign. His speech was carried by all radio networks.

Pointing out that the Legion was formed to foster “100-per-cent Americanism,” the President called upon the veterans organization to take the leadership in the fight against “hysteria” which he said threatened the Government from within just as the armed forces of international communism threaten it from abroad.

Americanism Being ‘Undermined’

Mr. Truman said that Americanism “is being undermined by some people in this country who are loudly proclaiming that they are its chief defenders,” who claim to be “against communism” but who are “chipping away at our basic freedoms just as insidiously and far more effectively than the Communists have ever been able to do.”

The President asserted this group was applying an old Communist trick “in reverse.” Just as people in Russia live in terror of being labelled anti-Communist, he said the “scaremongers and hatemongers” in America, employing character assassination and the doctrine of guilt by association, “have created such a wave of fear and uncertainty that their attacks upon our liberties go almost unchallenged.”


Source: Lawrenece, W. H., "Truman Attacks M’Carthy Attacks as ‘Hysteria’ Spur," New York Times, August 15, 1951

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