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Truman keen on pushing theodore roosevelts new deal program

Roosevelt to the Presidency of the United States. Stone administered the oath in the White House Cabinet Room. It was the third time since 1900 that a President had died in office, but it was the first wartime accession. For Truman, a hitherto minor national figure with a pedestrian background as a Senator from Missouri, the awesome moment came without his having intimate knowledge of the nation's tremendously intricate war and foreign policies.

These he had to become acquainted with and to deal with instantly, for on him alone, a former haberdasher and politician of unspectacular scale, devolved the Executive power of one of the world's mightiest nations. These events, over which he presided and on which he placed his indelible imprint, were among the most momentous in national and world history, for they took place in the shadow and the hope of the Atomic Age, whose beginning coincided with Truman's accession.

And during his eight years in office, the outlines of the cold war were fashioned.

In war-ravaged Europe in those years, Truman and the United States established peace and held back Soviet expansion and built economic and political stability through the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In the Mideast he recognized the State of Israel. In the Far East the President imposed peace and constitutional democracy on the Japanese enemy, tried valiantly to save China from Communism and chose to wage war in Korea to halt aggression. In the United States, Truman led the nation's conversion from war to peace, while maintaining a stable and prosperous economy.

Summons to Leadership The drama and significance of these accomplishments were, of course, not readily predictable when Truman took office April 12, 1945, as the 33d President, but there was an element of theatricality in the way he was notified that the burden had fallen on him. Writing to his mother and sister a few days later, he said: Roosevelt's study on the second floor.

As he emerged, Mrs. Roosevelt stepped forward and put her arm across his shoulders. Then, fighting off tears, he asked, "Is there anything I can do for you? Roosevelt replied, "Is there anything wecan do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.

The person on whom the Executive power of the United States was so abruptly thrust was, in appearance, not distinctive. He stood 5 feet 8 inches tall. He had broad, square shoulders, an erect carriage, a round, apple-checked face, a long, sharp nose, deep blue eyes that peered through steel-rimmed glasses, and thin gray-white hair that was neatly parted and carefully brushed. Apart from the plain eyeglasses, the most catching feature of Truman's face truman keen on pushing theodore roosevelts new deal program his thin lips, which could be clamped in grimness or parted, over even teeth, in an engaging smile.

Dressed in a conservative double-breasted suit, with a 35th Infantry Division insigne in the left lapel and a white handkerchief peeping out of the breast pocket, Truman looked neat and plain. His only jewelry was a double-band gold Masonic ring on the little finger of his left hand.

Aside from his speech--its flat, clipped, slightly nasal quality pegged him as a Middle Westerner--he seemed a typical small-city businessman, pleasant and substantial, more at home on Main Street than on Pennsylvania Avenue. Certainly he could not have been typecast as a Senator. He was not an orator, nor even a frequent speaker, in his 10 years as a Democratic Senator from Missouri. But when he did speak, he was listened to, closely, for his remarks were coherent, forceful and usually brief.

He was industrious on Senate committees, and he served with distinction and fairness as chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. He was popular "Harry" to everyone and a member of the Senate's inner circle.

He was known for his informal geniality, his homely language and also, on occasion, for his irascibility and brusqueness. Unlike most of his fellow legislators, Truman did not have a college degree or a fixed profession. His formal education had ended with high school, and he had been in business from time to time, but mostly he had been in politics.

He was a county official from 1922 until his election to the Senate in 1934. An inquisitive and retentive mind helped to compensate for Truman's lack of schooling, and he employed it in prodigious, if haphazard, reading, especially in American political history. Although he had been Roosevelt's choice as a ticket mate in 1944 and although the two men were on good terms, Truman was not, even as Vice President, a White House intimate, closely informed on the progress of the war.

He had supported Roosevelt at home and abroad, but his personal inclinations were more conservative. Truman," published this year. His daughter's book quoted a desk-pad memo of 1948 that said "I don't believe the USA wants any more fakers--Teddy and Franklin are enough.

So I'm going to make a common-sense, intellectually honest campaign. But he was aware of his inadequacies. I've got the most terribly responsible job a man ever had. His second decision--to meet with the Cabinet and ask its members to remain on--was also easy. But most of the judgments that followed including Cabinet dismissals were not. He did not fret once his mind was made up.

Simultaneously he had to seek military and political solutions in the war against Japan. Both situations involved Soviet-American relations, and both gave initial shape to decades of strife and conflict between the world's two major powers.

Whereas Roosevelt tended to be flexible in coping with the Russians, Truman held sterner views. This basic attitude prepared him to adopt, from the start of his Presidency, a firm policy. Showdown with Molotov The Polish question epitomized his approach. This thorny matter arose from the Yalta agreements of February, 1945, when the Red Army had driven the Nazis from the plains of Poland. The accord, calling for a truman keen on pushing theodore roosevelts new deal program based Polish regime and eventual free elections, was fuzzily worded.

The Russians took it to mean a pro-Moscow Government; Truman read it to require a Western style of government. I intended to be firm," he said. The President used "words of one syllable" to convey his insistence that Poland be "free and independent. After much pulling and hauling, Poland got a regime that the United States recognized, but not before Truman's dislike of Russian diplomatic in-fighting had hardened. Even so, Truman got along rather well with Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator, whom he met for the first time at the Potsdam Conference in July, 1945.

Harry S. Truman: Decisive President

In the foreground of Truman's dealings with Stalin at Potsdam and afterward was the atomic-bomb project. Started in the deepest secrecy in the early days of World War II, it was on the verge of producing its first explosive when Truman became President. Although project scientists, some people in the military and a few civilians were aware of the incalculable world importance of an atomic bomb, the President himself had been told nothing.

Not only had the project been kept secret from him as a Senator and as Vice President, but also the immense scientific military, civilian and moral implications of atomic fission had not been presented to him.

Stimson explained the atomic project to him on April 25, 1945--13 days after he had become President--and told him of the then presumed fantastic power of an atomic bomb.

  1. Beset on the home front, Truman was soon fatefully involved again in the Far East.
  2. He took a Turkish bath, ate a ham sandwich, drank a glass of milk and went to bed. Once, in 1945, he had impulsively told Eisenhower he would back him in 1948, but by 1952 the general had been courted by the Republicans.
  3. I believe we should make available to peace-loving people the benefits of our store of technical knowledge, in order to help them realize their aspirations for a better life. He was without fierce enemies, had an excellent reputation, was moderate on civil rights and was a Midwesterner.
  4. I intended to be firm," he said.

Apart from its staggering military potential, what impressed the President almost immediately were its implications for American diplomacy and world peace. At the same time it was assumed by Truman and Stimson and virtually everyone connected with the atomic project that the bomb would be employed as a matter of course to shorten the Japanese war.

The moral implications of its use and the total effect of atomics on United States-Soviet relations, later topics of vigorous debate, were not then publicly raised or widely appreciated. Nevertheless, once an atomic device was tested and its destructiveness confirmed, Truman said in an interview in 1966 for this article that he had given the matter of actually using the bomb "long and careful thought.

The bombs, he maintained, did shorten the war and did save millions of American and Japanese battlefield casualties. With the unconditional surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, a meeting of Truman, Stalin and Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, became necessary to consider Europe's problems and to prepare, in accordance with Yalta, for Soviet entry into the Pacific war. Twice delayed by Truman pending the plutonium-bomb test at Alamogordo, N. It was the President's only meeting with Stalin and his first with Churchill, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.

For all the popular hope that was invested in Potsdam and for all the grinding hours that the statesmen and their aides conferred, few European disputes were settled.

Stalin pledged, however, to invade Japanese-held Manchuria early in August, and he subscribed to a surrender appeal to Japan that implied she could retain a constitutional Emperor. Amid the Potsdam wrangles, Truman, by arrangement with Churchill, offhandedly informed Stalin of the bomb, but not that it was atomic. All he said was that he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make 'good use of it against the Japanese. The victory was sealed on the battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Harbor, when Gen.

The global war, in which the United States had been engaged since 1941, was ended, and a new and different era was emerging. Its citizens, meanwhile, accumulated millions in unspent cash. How to handle this new affluence without touching off a perilous inflation was the major concern of reconversion.

Truman keen on pushing theodore roosevelts new deal program

A President generally friendly to labor he vetoed the Taft-Hartley bill in 1947Truman stoutly refused what he considered exorbitant pay goals.

In April, 1946, he seized the coal mines when John L. Lewis's 400,000 miners struck for more money. And in another strike that November, Lewis and his union were fined. The contest between Truman and Lewis, both stubborn men, captured the headlines, with Lewis insisting that mine seizure by troops was a hollow gesture, because "you can't mine coal with bayonets," and with Truman appealing to the miners' patriotism.

It was Lewis who yielded, as did the railway unions when the President seized the carriers in May, 1946, to avert a walkout. If Truman turned out to be not a pet of labor, neither was he a darling to business and industry. Fair Deal programs met a mixed reaction in Congress, especially after the midterm elections of 1946 gave the Republicans a majority in both the House and the Senate.

Truman proposals for broadening civil rights and for Medicare were shunned.

In both areas he was in advance of his time, but he lived to see himself vindicated. In 1965, when Congress passed the Medicare bill, President Johnson journeyed to Missouri to sign the measure in Truman's presence.

President Truman fared better on unification of the armed forces into a Department of Defense and on establishment of an Atomic Energy Commission. On taxes, price controls and union regulation, his relations with Congress were not uniformly smooth. The Roosevelt Cabinet, save for James V. Forrestal as Secretary of Defense, was dismembered by 1948. Wallace was discharged in the fall of 1946 in an uproar over a speech that seemed to contradict the President's hard Soviet policy.

Wallace had thought his remarks were approved by the White House, but it turned out that Truman had only glanced at the text.

  1. Truman was popular with the Congressional wives and her husband with his colleagues. The new deal party system.
  2. It seemed logical, after all, for a general to want to win a clear-cut victory, and it was obvious to many that it must be frustrating for him to be forbidden the means to do it.
  3. Shunning rough-and-tumble sports, he read fast and furiously.
  4. And to everyone he said he would carry on his domestic program "for the benefit of all the people. Truman lived simply in an apartment with their daughter and only child, Mary Margaret, who was born Feb.
  5. Afterward Truman made elaborate arrangements to acquaint the President-elect with pending problems, but the White House meeting was stiff and unproductive. The committee quickly turned up disquieting evidence of waste in military-camp construction and equipment.

Other appointments brought Gen. Snyder, whose financial acumen the President respected, as Treasury Secretary.

Byrnes served briefly as Secretary of State and was dropped in a personality clash.