Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Vol. One (4)

Year of Decisions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1955.

Why Read It? Truman had to end the war, decide on the atomic bomb and then shift to a peacetime economy in which he had to fight a Cold War with the Soviets, fight the Korean War, battle through labor troubles and to remind everyone of the necessity to maintain civilian control of the military through relieving MacArthur of his command. Although he appeared to be a normal U.S. citizen, he was anything but. His character was almost the ideal of a U.S. President. His decisions were well thought out and decisive. He was well known for his plain spokenness.

“Molotov: “I Have never been talked to like that in my life.” HST: “Carry out your agreements and you won’t get talked to like that.” P. 82. ………. “Stimson…seemed at least as much concerned with the role of the atomic bomb in the shaping of history as in its capacity to shorten the war.” p. 87. ………. “From the time I first sat down in the President’s chair, I found myself part of an immense administrative operation. There had been a change of executives, but the machinery kept going on in its customary routine manner….” p. 87. ………. “…and I had to find time to read the urgent messages in between visitors.” p. 88. ………. “The essence of our problem here, is to provide sensible machinery for the settlement of disputes among nations.” p. 95. ……….”Labor-management relations had grown tense and explosive because of the wage and price controls of the war years….” p. 96. ………. “It is terrible—and I mean terrible—nuisance to be kin to the President of the United States…. A guard has to go with Bess and Margaret everywhere they go—and they don’t like it. They both spend a lot of time figuring how to beat the game, but it just can’t be done. In a country as big as this one there are necessarily a lot of nuts and people with peculiar ides. The seem to focus on the White House and the President’s kin.” p. 107.

To be continued.

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