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Memoirs by Harry S. Truman: Year of Decisions
Memoirs by Harry S Truman Year of Decisions Author:Harry S. Truman Volume One of Memoirs by Harry S. Truman — Harry S. Truman was thrust into a job he neither sought nor wanted by a hurried call to the White House. There he received from Mrs. Roosevelt the quiet and shocking announcement of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death. Two hours later, with little formality or protocol, he was sworn into office. “I had com... more »e to see the President,” Mr. Truman recalls. “Now, having repeated that simply worded oath, I myself was President.”
This volume and Volume Two, Years of Trial and Hope, are an invaluable record of the former President's tumultuous years in office, his early days in Missouri, and his rise in local and national politics. There are delightful glimpses of his family life, striking appraisals of world leaders, and candid disclosures about the background of national and international events. But overshadowing all is the story of the glorious task of bringing a war to an end, of working for an enduring peace and leading the free world into a new age.
No Chief Executive ever fell heir to such a tremendous burden on such short notice. The immediate problems were how to end the war in Europe and how to shift vast armies to the Pacific without allowing England or France to feel “abandoned.” In addition, there were the uncompleted arrangements for the forthcoming United Nations Conference in San Francisco; an impending interview with Molotov; the problem of striking labor unions; and the disturbing national tendency to let up with half a war yet to be won. And there was the most dreadful and immense decision of all-whether or not to drop the atomic bomb.
The Memoirs are filled with engaging and informal glimpses of great and famous men--Churchill struggling humanly with a bad transatlantic telephone connection; Stalin being stubborn at Potsdam; Chiang feuding with Churchill over Hong Kong; De Gaulle trying to land-grab in Italy and Germany.
The former President as a man is most charmingly revealed in the letters he wrote home every week he was in office. In the crush of events of the highest magnitude, Harry Truman wrote such disarming notes as this to his mother and sister in Missouri:
Dear Momma and Mary--It is just two months last night since I took the oath of office-and what a two months! The next two years can't hold any more. I don't dare think of facing the next two months let alone two years . . .
I am having breakfast with Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Davies, and Admiral Leahy this morning to discuss Russian, German, Italian and British affairs. It ought to be an interesting breakfast and maybe a headache-you never can tell . . .
I've moved my desk between the windows, and they've put up the drapes in my bedroom and Bess' bedroom. When we get all straightened up, you'll have to come and see us again.