Joseph McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 in Appleton Wisconsin.1 McCarthy later attended Marquette university for law school, graduating in 1935. Shortly after his graduation, McCarthy was elected to serve as Wisconsin’s youngest circuit judge.2 McCarthy began his work with the US government in 1946 when he was elected to the Republican Senate.3 During his time in the Senate, McCarthy claimed to know the identities of many communist traitors in the government. He launched investigation into this “Communist conspiracy” in 1953.4 Following his claims, public hearings were held questioning the loyalty of members of the US State Department, government, and military. These hearings were broadcast on television for the viewing of the American public, creating a strong sense of fear and beginning the “McCarthyism” era.5

This period in the United States was particularly important for the success of the United Fruit Company. Due to the fear created by McCarthy’s claims of communist intruders, the United Fruit Company was able to cast itself as an ally in the war against Communism in the Americas. Thanks to McCarthyism in the US, the United Fruit Company was able to characterize any regime unfriendly to their economic and political influence as “Communist”.6 This allowed the United Fruit Company to gain the support of the CIA and US Military in overthrowing governments that advocated or even considered moves such as raising taxes on the UFC or allowing workers to unionize.

However, following Joseph McCarthy’s fall from grace and censure by the Senate in late 1954, the United Fruit Company lost a key ally. McCarthy died from a failing liver and hepatitis in 1957.7

1 “Joseph McCarthy Biography”, September 25, 2014. Accessed May 3, 2020.

2 Ibid.

3 “Joseph R. McCarthy: A Featured Biography” United States Senate. Accessed May 2, 2020.

4 Ibid.

5 “McCarthyism and the Red Scare” UVA Miller Center. Accessed May 1, 2020.

6 Scheinman, Andrew, “Yes, We Have Bananas” Contemporary Food Lab. Accessed May 2, 2020.

7 “Joseph McCarthy Biography”