Harry S. Truman
By Jacob Carner
The first few months of Truman's presidency were very eventful, as America's war on Japan was taking place at the time, and Truman's involvement in the Potsdam Conference in Germany to end the European front also happened during the summer of 1945. Shortly after, Truman ordered the use of atomic weaponry on mainland Japan in an attempt to end the war completely. Fortunately, the dropping of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" on August 7th and 9th forced the Japanese to surrender just days after. The question that dropping the atomic bombs was the right move was highly debated upon during the time period, and Truman lost a lot of popularity from the American population because of that decision. After the war, the rising threat of communism from the Soviet Union coexed Truman to create the Truman Doctrine, which was made to assist any country faced with the threat of communism from Russia. Another deterrent to communism was the start of the United Nations, which helped unite many nations in North America and Europe. In relation to domestic policies, Truman's "Fair Deal" helped reduce the income gap in the country and the racial inequality issue was also addressed in the policy.
Influential People and Motivation
At the beggining of his presidency, Harry Truman was very popular amongst the people, mostly due to the victory of the European front of WWII. However, towards his second term, Truman lost a lot of support because of belief of corruption in the government, the stalemate of the Korean war and the fact that many believed that Truman was not hard enough on the stop of communism, which was one of the defining ideals of America during the Cold War era.
If Truman were faced with the same decisions during the twenty first century, I believe that the people of America would have been more approving of the atomic bomb droppings because of the sense of security and well-being that Americans have today. Furthermore, Truman's Fair Deal policy would have benefitted many Americans in 2016 because of the large income gap of todays economy. The only thing involving the Fair Deal that would not have as much an effect on society is the push towards racial equality, since America has completely equal rights today for all races and ethnicities.
If I had these skills, I believe that I would have acted like Truman did in the face of adversity. Truman had to make many decisions that he knew would spark a negative outlook from the American people, but he did it for the best of the nation. This shows how he was a true leader of our country and hopefully I could have had the strength to make the same choices that Truman did during his presidency.
Address to the nation after the dropping of the atomic bombs, August 6, 1945
"Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than 2,000 times the blast power of the British “Grand Slam,” which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.
The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid manyfold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production, and even more powerful forms are in development.
It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East."
“Actions are the seeds of fate. Deeds grow into destiny.”
"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."
Truman's decision to drop the atom bomb was one that was not made lightly; there were various factors that he had to take into account when making the approval. The atomic bomb, the creation of the Manhattan Project, was the deadliest weapon in the entire world at the time so the employment of the bombs would surely end the war with Japan. American soldiers were growing tired and fatigued from the war, and even though the US had taken over much of Japan and continued to use firebombs against them, they still had a massive amount of soldiers protecting the mainland. Truman offered Japan a chance to surrender or face mass destruction, but the Japanese declined. The Enola Gay was ordered to drop one of the two atomic bombs on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and it instantly killed approximately 70,000 Japanese citizens and military personnel. More than double eventually passed from radiation sickness and intense burns. Three days later, the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, which accumulated similar death tolls. On august 14th, the Japanese officially surrendered to the allies. Many looked at Truman's choice to drop the atomic bombs as disasterly and savage, and that it led the path to the "Atomic Age" with the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviets and Americans. Also, many claim that Japan was on the brink of surrendering anyways and the use of the bombs were overkill. However, America's use of these nuclear weapons could have sent a message to the Soviet Union that the US would not hesitate to drop Atomic-based bombs on another country to ensure the safety of it's own. Truman was intent on putting and end to the war as soon as possible and he insists that it saved more lives than prolonging the war any further. The author's tone of this article is very professional and factual, and the author makes a point to be unbiased to either side (pro vs. anti atomic bombs). The question of morality of dropping the atomic bombs on Japan still remain in question today and both sides to the arguement will always stand by their sides, but the only thing that we know for sure is that the bombs ended the war between America and Japan, but the new factor of nuclear weaponry in the world still strikes fear in the hearts of every nation to this day.
Modern Campaign Slogan
Truman's Fair Deal policy focused a lot on racial discrimination and the gap between the wealthy and the poor, and the Fair Deal helped bridge that gap between socioeconomic classes and it helped end the Jim Crow laws and gave African Americans more rights and freedom from discrimination in the country.
http://www.ushistory.org/us/51g.asp (secondary source)
"Harry S. Truman." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
"Historical Speeches." Historical Speeches. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
"The Decision to Drop the Bomb." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
"Truman: HST Biography." Truman: HST Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.