Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman. Vol. 1 (1)

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  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.

“Very few are ever authorized to speak for the President. No one can make decisions for him. No one can know all the processes and stages of his thinking in making important decisions.” p. ix. ……….. “…the one purpose that dominated me in everything I thought and did was to prevent a third world war.” p. x. ………. HST to Eleanor Roosevelt on learning of the death of FDR from her: “Is there anything I can do for you?” Eleanor Roosevelt: “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.” p. 5. ………. “I spoke to the Cabinet…. It was my intention…to continue both the foreign and domestic policies of the Roosevelt Administrations. I made it clear, however, that I would be President in my own right and that I would assume full responsibility for such decisions as had to be made. I told them that I hoped they would not hesitate to give me their advice—that I would be glad to listen to them. I left them in no doubt that they could differ with me if they felt it necessary but that all final policy decisions would be mine. I added that once such decisions had been made, I expected them to support me.” p. 9.

To be continued.

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