Segments descriptions
      American Presidents Series
Hot War, Cold War, Part 1     

               Description: Truman

Hot War, Cold War, Part 1   
                sampler  3’12”    (87’ lecture).

What is the argument, which has profound moral
implications, that President Truman used the atomic
bombs against Japan for other than military reasons?

                                 Play sampler



33.  Harry S. Truman.

Change in attitude toward Russia.  He completes FDR's term from April, 1945.   An abrupt change in view of Russia from that of FDR.  He is concerned about Russian ambitions to expand communism.  The background to Russia invading Manchuria days after the atomic bomb is dropped on Japan.



Issues of using the atom bomb.  There are the moral issues of using the atom bomb against Japan. 



The Cold War:  It originates from the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan, based on the U.S. perspective and Russia’s perspective and the supporting facts of that time.  The benefits of the economic needs of a war economy are duplicated by the threat of war.  The Cold War starts with the Loyalty Oath program under Truman.  There is mass public hysteria fanned by the Alger Hiss case and Sen. Eugene McCarthy.  Truman becomes one if its victims.



Upset victory.  Although an underdog in the 1948 election, Truman wins an upset victory.  Truman is blamed for the loss of China.  Russia gets the Bomb, adding to public insecurity and fear. 



Korea:  Korea is divided at the 38th parallel.  Declared not militarily significant by the U.S., we intervene in 1950.  After the Inchon landing the North is pushed back to the 38th parallel.  The war could be ended here but Truman has the U.S. push further despite China’s warning.  China intervenes resulting in a terrible American retreat back to the original line.  The U.S. could end the war now but with no victory.  The war continues for another 2 years until Dwight Eisenhower ends the war in 1953 after his election in 1952. 



Accomplishments.  He is now considered popular because he continued the progressiveness of the New Deal, enacted the GI Bill, the housing rights for vets, and the Full Employment Act.   He desegregated the American forces.  But he also sustained a war economy with a war not winnable.  The Taft-Hartley Act took away some labor gains.  His slogan, “The Buck Stops Here,” is considered admirable.  Truman has a mixed legacy.



34.  Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Elected 1952, recognized for his military charisma and administrative ability of the Normandy invasion.  He shows a lack of moral courage by not defending George Marshal when attacked by Sen. McCarthy. 



Civil Rights.  In an economic boom time he builds an interstate highway system.  During the birth of the modern civil rights movement he is reluctant to intervene in the Little Rock resistance to school integration.  Yet he does send troops to enforce the law as a fulfillment of his duty.  .



The Cold War.  John Foster Dulles, a zealot, is his secretary of state who approaches the Cold War with brinkmanship.  When there begins to be a sense of bringing opposing forces together to solve problems, the U2 spy plane episode undermines peace attempts.  The U2 spy plane flights over Russia had been undertaken without Ike’s knowledge. 



Vietnam.  Ike refuses to commit U.S. troops to Vietnam.  He warns of the military-industrial complex.  He serves 2 terms.