Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Vol. One (9)

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman. Vol. One: Year of Decisions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1955. (9).

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.

“ ‘Bob,’ Roosevelt said, ‘have you got that fellow [HST} lined up for the Vice-presidency yet?’; ‘No,’ Bob replied. ‘He is the contrariest Missouri mule I’ve ever dealt with,’ ” p.192. ………. “…if the Vice-President maintains good relations with the members of the Senate, he can have considerable power behind the scenes.” p. 197. ………. “The Vice-President is not an officer of the executive branch of the government  and therefore does not attend Cabinet sessions except at the invitation of the President.” p. 197. ………. “Hitler’s monstrous assault on civilization cost the lives of fifteen million people, and he and his regime left countless others maimed in body and soul.” p. 203. ………. “Just what does the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Japan mean for the Japanese people? It means the end of the war. It means the termination of the influence of the military leaders who brought Japan to the present brink of disaster. It means provision for the return of soldiers and sailors to their families, their farms, and their jobs. And it means not prolonging the present agony and suffering of the Japanese in the vain hope of victory. Unconditional surrender does not mean the extermination or enslavement of the Japanese people.” p. 207. ………. “The military is always subordinate to the government.” p. 210. ………. “Churchill, ever fearful of the Soviets, wanted the U.S. to occupy Czechoslovakia. Eisenhower said that his goal was to destroy the German army. A move into Czechoslovakia would not accomplish this goal. HST agreed with him.” p. 216.

To be continued.

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