Thoughts on Harry Truman
Introduction. Harry S. Truman is one of the great figures of the 20th century. His life was complex, exciting and can impress upon readers valuable lessons to live by. A son of a rural past, he had to control the most powerful, progressive nation in the world. Truman came directly from the people. He lived by the Bible and history, proving that anyone could be a president and a human being at the same time. He came through the Great War, financial failure, big party politics, the new deal and the WWII. His life was a part of much of American history during the 20th century. He never complained, he never expected others to follow him blindly, he never required the love of the American people, he did not regard his critics as traitors and he never blamed others for his failures. His character in the office of the President is the archetype. His actions would have major ethical consequences on human history but he was the kind of president that the Founding Fathers would have approved of. Truman had to assume the most powerful nation on Earth after FDR’s death. The weight of that office did not overwelm him because he was trained to take on that difficult task. His responsibilities were more than any president had before him. This is what makes his story so fascinating and meaningful.
Don’t Get Demoralized: there is reason to be optimistic. The US had virtually full employment, national income at its highest ever. Truman strengthened the Anti-Trust laws, national health insurance program, and fair level of return for farmers, aid to soldiers, home construction and new progress for human rights. He advocated a balanced budget, control of nuclear weapons. The country encountered massive housing issues after the war. Truman seemed to believe everything works itself out. Truman called for reasonable pay raises. but every major industry was effected by rail strikes. Truman wanted temporary legislative power to put the strikers into military service but the strike was quickly resolved. Drafting the strikers was accepted by Congress. The Senate was against the proposal so Truman pushed a failed bill but the strike ended shortly there after. Truman showed the backbone of a President. Yet, Republicans won the mid-term elections of 1946. The new deal was officially broken in Washington. Harry Truman was now a minority president. He never let himself get demoralised. Harry Truman stayed focused, and persevered.
Never Believe You Are Beaten (Even If The Media Prints It!): (Presidential Race 1948) Israel is born, the bikini is unveiled, the jet breaks the sound barrier but Truman was going to lose according to Life Magazine to Dewey. Henry Wallace had split from the Democrats. Truman didn’t implement a cohesive campaign strategy: he took to a railway-styled campaign. Truman had big crowds. The people turned out to see Harry Truman. Truman attacked the Republican’s for their coldness. Truman believed that the Republicans were trying to steal from the poor. Truman called bankers “blood suckers of Wall Street”. Truman had solid attack lines. Dewey on the other hand was careful, cruel and controlled. Dewey didn’t want to make mistakes he wanted to ride his poll numbers which were much higher than Truman’s. Truman looked likely to lose despite Dewey’s lazy campaigning. Truman lashed out at the Republican congress, press, and the candidate. Truman did the best he knew how. Dewey had 49.5 to 44.5 for Truman at the end of the campaign. None of the press believed that Truman would win. On Election Night, Truman had the popular vote by 2 million votes but the farm vote had not come in until past 2am. At 10:14am the next morning, Dewey was defeated after many newspapers went to print. Truman was the miracle man. Not one of the polling organizations was accurate. Not one of the newspapers was accurate; the people had made fools of those “in the know”. This event was dubbed: “the great laughter of the public”. The press was dumbfounded. Gallup was completely embarrassed. The fault was not the polls were imperfect but that they were two weeks too late. On the last two weeks of the campaign Gallup did not take anymore polls. There was a massive shift in support in the last two weeks of the campaign. 2/3 of the population of Washington came to welcome Truman for his inauguration in 1948.
Never Expect to Be Loved In High Office: Approval ratings don’t matter to historians. Truman had a 32% approval rating. 43% of Americans believed the Korean War was a mistake. Economic growth was massive but Truman was losing support. The standard of living had gained to an unparalleled level in human history. 62 million American’s had jobs. Farm income and corporate income were at an all time high. The post-war economic collapse didn’t happen. The minimum wage had been increased. Truman was charged with being soft on communism, a man accused of an enemy of private enterprise, a man accused of being the enemy of the new deal ultimately, the man was did more than anyone else to in the opposite of what was believed. Truman gave a flat speech that was characteristic of his style.
Leave The Stage Gracefully: Truman’s final address famously said “I hope and believe we have contributed to the wealth of this nation. When FDR died I thought there were a million man better qualified to take up the presidential task but I had to do it and I have given it everything that was in me. And I did not work alone, that you were with me. The people had supported me.” Truman’s departure was praised on all sides. Eisenhower was elected in 1952. Truman was just plain Mr. Truman: a private citizen again.
Use Drastic Measures to Defeat Your Enemy: Hiroshima was bombed on August 5th. Truman learned of the complete success of the bombing. Truman was very happy and had a broad smile upon the news of mass destruction. A quick end to the war with the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT was only a positive thing for Truman. Truman explained that an atomic bomb harnessed ‘the nature of the universe’. Truman said that Japan would and should be prevented from waging war. Truman promised to destroy BUT many were terrified by the idea of this new kind of horror. Could the world handle the use of such destructiveness? The aftermath resulted in a 60% destruction of Hiroshima. 80,000 civilians were killed instantly with over 50,000 killed in the coming days. People burning into cinder while standing up, birds were ignited in mid-flight.
Expect Resistance When In the Shadows Of Greatness: Truman had a nightmare during the campaign in 1944 that he would be president. It came true…but it wasn’t a nightmare per say. On April 12th, 1945, Truman ran to the White House after hearing that Roosevelt had died. Truman was in big trouble. With the news of Roosevelt’s death, veteran ‘new dealers’ and millions of Americans overseas where shocked that Harry Truman would be president. People feared that the war would drag on longer because of FDR’s death and Truman’s succession. BUT once you’re president, the country will back you. Truman’s acceptance speech made it clear that he was going to work hard. Truman asked to be only a great servant for his people. Truman had a Midwest Accent. People appreciated Truman’s accent. Others wanted to see him succeed. Republican’s did not want to rock the boat because it would be considered unpatriotic during a time of war. Stalin believed that America was now soft. Stalin wanted to invade Europe. Potsdam Conference created the result that Stalin would attack Japan. However, Stalin refused to relinquish territory gained in the USSR’s march across Europe. Churchill was defeated and Atlee was the new PM in Britain during the Potsdam Conference. Potsdam Conference was not a success. Stalin later told Khrushchev that Truman was “worthless”.
Achieve Something Tremendous in Your Early and Mid-Twenties: Truman was the captain of a battalion of 195 soldiers in Civil War. A Military Career Trains You For Leadership: Truman joined the National Guard in 1905. Truman was “21 years old and could do as [Harry] pleased”. Harry was well known in camp since he ran a canteen. Jacobson ran the canteen but Harry built a reputation. Their business venture was tremendously successful. Truman went to England for training as a Captain in March 1918. Harry had to lead Dizzy D Battalion (Irish Catholics from Kansas), he was a Mason. Harry was fearful but led them well. Harry loved his new sense of influence. His judgement was key in taking 195 men into the frontlines. Harry built up the battlion from one of the worst to one of the best. Harry called his men “everything he knew” while under fire when Battery D ran into Germans which surprised them because Harry was so proper. During a major American offensive planned by George C Marshall, Harry disobeyed orders to fire on sight but waited until the Germans were in range to maximize effect: he was almost courtmarshaled if not for the fact that he saved lives. On November 11, 1918 the armistice agreement was signed. Harry was seen as lucky. His men admired him greatly. The war made him a somebody and Bessie married him, as mentioned below.
Love Writing & If You Want Someone/Something Be Persistent: Truman wrote to his love Bessie endlessly while he was working on his farm. He clearly loved her, sending romantic verbose letters of adulation frequently. His letters revealed his belief in Jeffersonian democracy based on independent farmers: “Farmers make better citizens. Industrialization causes class struggles.” Truman wrote over 200 hundred letters to Bessie and began to love writing. Fortunately, Bessie saved these letters. Harry wrote “I would never make love to women for the fun of it, on account of [Bessie]. I have never met a girl in my life who I didn’t compare to you to see wherein she was lacking and she always was….I’ve always been more idealist than practical.” According to Truman, politicians don’t ultimately matter; they believe that they have reached the highest pinnacle of success. Politicians are egoists or fools. Vile ambition political or monetary was not Harry’s ambition. Harry proposed to Bessie via mail. She refused but finally after the Great War, they married. Bessie married a president.
Thoughts on Harry Truman
A Political Analysis
Harry S. Truman is one of the great figures of the 20th century. His life was complex, exciting and can impress upon readers valuable lessons to live by. A son of a rural past, he had to control the most powerful, progressive nation in the world. Truman came directly from the people. He lived by the Bible and history, proving that anyone could be a president and a human being. He came through the Great War, financial failure, big party politics, the new deal and the WWII. His life was a part of much of American history during the 20th century. He never complained, he never expected others to follow him blindly, he never required the love of the American people, he did not regard his critics as traitors and he never blamed others for his failures. His character in the office of the President is the archetype. His actions would have major ethical consequences on human history but he was the kind of president that the Founding Fathers would have approved of. Truman had to assume the most powerful nation on Earth after FDR’s death. The weight of that office did not overwelm him because he was trained to take on that difficult task. His responsibilities were more than any president had before him. This is what makes his story so fascinating and meaningful.
Never Complain & Work Hard: Truman’s ancestors were stubborn Scot/Irish folk. Truman’s grandmother was such a true grit that during an Indian raid, she pretended she was dead and made no sound or movement while an Indian scalped her alive. Trumans traditionally never complain about anything publicly. Even if you have many troubles, it is a mistake to let others know that you are suffering at all. The Truman’s were taught to believe that being cheerful and hopeful was a healing state of being. Missouri is where Truman’s ancestors moved to during the trek west that so many settlers had tried. Jackson County was just west of Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City was site of the Civil war disputes. During the Union “general order 11” where all people were to leave from their places of residence. The union stole whatever was left behind. Truman’s family was allowed to take one wagon. They left for the Confederate side of Kansas City. None of the Truman’s had any money before John Truman (Harry’s father). His mother didn’t scare easily. They did have ambition however. Harry Truman was nearly blind as a child. He never held a grudge as a child. Harry did not win any awards in graduation from Independence High school. Harry applied for WestPoint who was rejected. John Truman wanted to get rich by investing in stocks BUT he lost everything when he was 51 years old. John had been forced to sell their houses. He never complained, as he took on a job as night watchmen for pay comparable to a farm hand. Harry Truman worked with poor construction workers (hobos) and got along well with them gaining a down to earth education. Truman worked tirelessly on his father’s farm once John had enough to invest in farming again. Harry read up on farming and was able to increase crop value per hectare by 35%. John ran a road cleaning political position, Harry disliked is father’s ambition. John Truman worked himself to death. Throughout his life, Harry never complained or felt sorry for himself.