1953 : Edward R. Murrow Stands Up for Michigan Resident Accused of Being A Communist

October 20, 2021 all-day

In 1953, Milo Radulovich, 26, a WWII veteran, was attending the University of Michigan on the GI Bill. He was hoping to get a degree in physics so he could advance in his career as a meteorologist. He lived in Dexter, Mi., with his wife Nancy and their two daughters. He had joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 and became a meteorologist. He was a first lieutenant when he was discharged in 1952. As a weather forecaster, he had top-secret clearance and was required to remain in the reserves. In September 1953 he received a letter informing him he was being dismissed from the reserves as a poor security risk because his continued relationship with his father and sister who were deemed left-wing sympathizers.

To make a long story short, the famous newscaster Edward R. Murrow was looking for a case where an ordinary citizen was being persecuted unfairly because of Senator McCarthy’s Anti-Communist, Red Scare, Campaign. He chose Milo and was able to clear his name. The Detroit News also played a part as well, carrying stories about his plight before the national telecast on CBS.

After dropping out of school, he moved to California, where he became a meteorologist, eventually securing a position with the National Weather Service. He later returned to Michigan to serve as chief meteorologist at Lansing’s Capital City Airport until his retirement in 1994. He lived in Lodi, Calif., until his death.

Years later, after his death, the University of Michigan issues Milo an honorary degree to make up for his dropping out of school because of the Red Scare witchhunt.

In 2005 Academy Award-nominated film “Good Night, and Good Luck” retold the incident.

For the full article, see Julie Morris, “The man who fought McCarthy’s red smear”, Detroit News, May 5, 2004.

For another, see Darryn Fitzgerald, “Student ousted in Red Scare granted honorary degree”, Michigan Daily, November 23, 2008.

For another, see Michael Stoll, “How journalism saved one man, and the rest of us, from McCarthyism”, Grade the News, Feb. 20, 2006.

Jack Lessenberry, “To Strike at a King”, Dome, March 20, 2015: Jack Lessenberry recalls a man of rare personal conviction. Ken Sanborn stood up for Milo, defending him for free against the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Government, aggravating his fellow Republicans, for the cause of democracy. Even though he lost a sham trial, he gained the attention of Edward R. Murrow, who used the case to bring down McCarthy.

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