To his cost McCarthy discovered that what Providence suddenly bestows with one hand it just as suddenly removes with the other, the other hand of Providence being again the Cold War and its influence on domestic politics. As we saw, McCarthy's fantastic rise coincided with the national trauma that had set in by the time he delivered his Wheeling speech. But when he was at the height of his power during the Korean War, when, chairing his own investigative subcommittee, he still made headlines at will and when the Eisenhower administration bent over backward to appease him--it was then, in the spring and summer of 1953, the the Cold War took another major turn. Stalin died in March and five months later the Korean War ended. No longer were American boys dying in battle and soon after they would no longer be drafted. Eisenhower was making good on his implied Republican promise to bring the nation peace and quiet after twenty years of depression and wars and high taxes and government controls under Democratic rule.
It was a situation hardly conducive to McCarthy's political well-being. The endemic sense of crisis guaranteed him his public, and to the degree that the sense of crisis gave way to peace and quiet so his public was bound to diminish. But he was hardly the kind of man who, perceiving the change, would draw back, restrain himself, bide his time. One can only conclude that his fame had intoxicated him, that he depended on it more and more to keep his psychic balance. His biographers tell us of the toll his