In 1993, the Pulitzer Prize was awarded to David McCullough for his 1992 biography of the 33rd president of the United States of America. Truman is the telling of the country upbringing of Harry S. Truman of western Missouri, who ascended to the presidency following a term in the United States Senate before being named to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt ticket before the death of the 32nd US President in office.
(David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize winner for the book Truman).
The late-blooming Harry S. Truman became president in April 1945 following the death in office of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died after winning an unprecedented fourth term as President of the United States. The United States was embroiled in World War Two. V-E Day would come in May 1945 with Truman as president, as would V-J Day in September of that same year.
(Hirohito is Japan’s longest reigning emporer).
Hirohito was controversial within Japanese circles for surrendering Japan’s interests in continuing to fight the Allied Forces in World War Two following Truman’s ordering of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and then a second atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. The description of these events in Truman were concise, graphic, and of a chilling nature that seemingly cannot the horror and destructive quality of the act that ended the war.
The Truman biography, of course, gets into some of the family history of the 33rd president, including some unflattering thoughts the in-laws of the president had before and even during the presidency. We get a sense in the biography that Truman was the kind of man envisioned by the founders of the United States, a man of the people rather than of the ruling or business elite classes. This argument is made with an awareness that Harry S. Truman had served in the United States Senate.
(A painting of former U.S. president Harry S. Truman).
Truman the man and president was immensely popular after forcing the end of World War Two. America was as strong an economic force as it had ever been from the perspectives of employment, wage growth, and growing political prestige in the world. The Truman Doctrine of offering political, military and economic assistance democracies threatened by external or internal authoritarian forces, was soon followed by the Marshall Plan for restoring Western Europe after the war.
(The famous photo of Harry S. Truman holding a Chicago Daily Tribune headline that incorrectly proclaimed Thomas E. Dewey the 34rd US President).
The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were just plans that mostly won the public’s support. Rising tensions in Korea would prompt a police action with drafted United States troops, ostensibly backed by the United Nations. The draft was unpopular for it represented, at least to the citizens of the United States. New York Governor and candidate Thomas E. Dewey had been assumed by the media that to win. A whistle stop campaign by train was taken upon by the 33rd president has been chipping away at the lead by the Republican Dewey. The infamously wrong headline by the Chicago Daily Tribune would be extolled by the reelected president.
(General Douglas MacArthur commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre during World War Two while enjoying popularity among the US citizens back in the United States).
The conflict in Korea, which persists into the present day with the two countries of North Korea and South Korea. The presence of war along with a willful personality in the form of General Douglas MacArthur. Insubordination of a provocative nature to the president Harry S. Truman forced the president to progressively seek to increase punishment. Ultimately, Truman fired MacArthur due to it being correct. Eventually the public came to dial back the negative responses to the president. This firing, combined with keeping the handling of the atomic bomb in the hands of civilians, were strong outcomes of the Harry S. Truman presidency.
Harry S. Truman comes across as late to the political scene of Washington, DC. yet in attuned to the needs of the public. The reading for me was quick if not a bit plodding. Overall, my rating is 3.75-stars out of 5.
Matt – Saturday, December 15, 2018