On February 9, 1950, a little known junior senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, proclaimed that he had a list of 205 Communist Party members who worked in the State Department with the full knowledge of the secretary of state. McCarthy's speech came shortly after the Communist takeover in China, the U.S.S.R.'s successful detonation of an atomic bomb, and suspected spy Alger Hiss's conviction for perjury. For many, McCarthy's charges explained why the West was experiencing setbacks, and made him a formidable political force. It marked the beginning of demagogic red baiting and made the term "McCarthyism" synonymous with hysterical anti-Communism. McCarthy had no evidence for his accusations and was censured by the Senate in 1954; "McCarthyism" would be remembered for its corrosive effect on America's ability to deal effectively with real Communists abroad and at home. Sitting to McCarthy's left is Roy Cohn, lead investigator for McCarthy's Senate subcommittee.