Harry Truman and Civil Rights Citation:
Print this page What sort of statesman? Harry S Truman became President of the United States on 12 Aprilamidst profound concern about his capacity for national or world leadership. He was untutored in foreign affairs, and knew nothing about the complex diplomacy of his predecessor, Franklin D Roosevelt.
At the same time the expedient Anglo-American-Soviet alliance - formed in opposition to Nazi Germany during World War Two - was growing strained over Russian actions in eastern Europe, and over Allied policy differences towards a soon-to-be defeated Germany.
After seven years in office, in his last year in the White House, Republicans would charge that Truman's administration had surrendered 15 countries and million people to Communism, and sent 20, Americans to their deaths in Korea.
But the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, would tell the US President that on the contrary it was he, more than anyone else, who had 'saved western civilisation' from Soviet aggression. And Truman's biographers, such as the prominent Labour MP Roy Jenkins, subsequently hailed him as a provincial politician who became a 'world statesman', and credited his administration with forging the containment policy that ultimately brought the demise of the Soviet Union and Communism.
Undoubtedly, Truman profoundly shaped US foreign policy duringand had great success regarding postwar reconstruction in Europe and Japan. But growing acclaim for his policies has overlooked the way in which his parochial and nationalist outlook infused his policy-making, intensified Soviet-American conflict and division in Europe, and led to tragic interventions in Asian civil wars that made America's Cold War 'victory' exceedingly costly.
This instilled in him the belief that 'punishment always follows transgression', a maxim he would apply to his deliberations over North Korea and the People's Republic of China PRC.
His self-tutelage in history, based on didactic Victorian biographies, instilled a belief that current events had precise historical analogues, and this led him to apply inexact analogies about s appeasement to postwar disputes with the Soviet Union.
Thus the man who became US President in was less an incipient statesman than an intense nationalist During World War One Truman bravely commanded troops in France, but he deplored European politics and social mores, and vowed never to leave 'God's country' again. His internationalism, however, rested heavily on military preparedness, he too quickly blamed international conflict on 'outlaws' and 'totalitarians', and he hoped that Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in would lead to mutual destruction, although he opposed a Nazi victory.
Furthermore, he likened Russian leaders to Hitler and Al Capone, and inveighed against the 'twin blights' of Atheism and Communism. Thus the man who became US President in was less an incipient statesman than an intense nationalist, overly fearful that appeasement, lack of preparedness, and enemies at home and abroad would thwart America's mission 'God's will' to win the post World War Two peace on its own terms.
But his desire to appear decisive and tough spurred his belief that he could get 85 per cent of his own way out of every deal with the Russians, and that if not, they could 'go to hell'.
Truman went to the Potsdam Conference in July to advance only American interests 'win, lose, or draw - and we must win'and believed that the atomic bomb was his 'ace-in-the hole'.
Truman viewed the US as the world's trustee for atomic power This denied the Soviets access to the industrial Ruhr, but zonal reparations also augured economic-political division of Germany.
American use of atomic bombs against Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August was intended to shorten the war and save lives. But Truman believed as well that the bombs would cause Japan to 'fold up' before the Soviets entered the Pacific War, which would assure exclusive US occupation of Japan, and a chance to negate concessions due the Russians in Manchuria.
In effect, the prospect of political gain in Europe and Asia precluded serious US thought of not using atomic bombs against Japan. Truman viewed the US as the world's trustee for atomic power, sided with Cabinet advisers who thought America's technological genius assured its supremacy in an arms race, and proved as resistant in many ways as Joseph Stalin, who sought atomic parity, to international control of atomic energy.
The Russians understood only an iron fist, Truman said, and he was tired of babying them. Top Tough on Russia Truman began his 'get tough' policy in with strong protests against Russian troops in Iran, and denial of Soviet claims to share control of the Turkish Straits.
This was a series of questionable worst-case scenarios, which suggested there was a Soviet desire for global conquest by subversion and force. Soon Great Britain announced that it was halting aid to Greece and Turkey - aid that had long been afforded these countries, in order to protect vital British interests in the Mediterranean region.
The Truman Doctrine may have been intended to rouse the public and Congress to national security expenditures, but it ignored the complexity of Greece's civil war, vastly overstated the global-ideological aspects of Soviet-American conflict, and set an unfortunate precedent for subsequent US interventions in conflicts across the globe.President Harry S.
Truman confronted unprecedented challenges in international affairs during his nearly eight years in office.
Truman guided the United States through the end of World War II, the beginning of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the dawning of the atomic age. Harry S. Truman, (born May 8, , Lamar, Missouri, U.S.—died December 26, , Kansas City, Missouri), 33rd president of the United States (–53), who led his country through the final stages of World War II and through the early years of the Cold War, vigorously opposing Soviet expansionism in Europe and sending U.S.
forces to . When Harry S. Truman left the presidency in January , he was one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States.
The Korean War, accusations of corruption in his administration, and the anticommunist red-baiting of McCarthy and his allies had all contributed to .
Expand your knowledge of presidential history with our Harry S. Truman facts and biography. Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, was born on May 8, in Lamar, Missouri. In , the year the Little White House was built, the Truman's moved to Independence, Missouri.
In , President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and gave the first two Medicare cards to Truman and his wife Bess to honor the former president's fight for government health care while in office.
Watch video · Harry S. Truman was born in Missouri on May 8, He was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vice president for just 82 days before Roosevelt died and Truman became the 33rd president.