Harry Truman on Controversy

By | October 2, 2020

[October 2, 2020]  Now that we are entering into the last few weeks before a major presidential election in the United States, it is a good idea to look at another contentious election.  Harry Truman was a great leader but one that stirred controversy and divisiveness when the nation was trying to heal from World War II and later as it fought a war in Korea.  His 1948 opponent was Republican Thomas Dewey and favored to win the election in a landslide.

A famous photograph of Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Daily Tribune’s front page says, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”  This election was not unlike the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump election in 2016 when several news magazines had “Hillary Wins” on the front cover. Pundits predicted Clinton would win “one hundred million to one.”

“All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who  spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.” – Harry S. Truman

Any person who thinks that Post-War America had it good and that there were few severe problems is blind to that time’s propaganda.  Worldwide, it was a challenging economic and political recovery from the war, passions still ran high, and large swaths of cities had been utterly destroyed.  The physical infrastructure rebirth was only eclipsed by the social rebirth that threatened world peace once again.

President Truman’s tenure was dotted with many now-famous events that plagued him:

  1. The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan
  2. Establishment of the CIA
  3. The Civil Rights Movement
  4. Immigration in Post-War America
  5. The invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union
  6. Control of Nuclear Weapons
  7. Japanese-American Internment
  8. Justice at Nuremberg
  9. Recognition of Israel
  10. Steel Strike of 1952
  11. The Blockade of Berlin by the Soviets
  12. The firing of General Douglas MacArthur
  13. The Marshall Plan
  14. Beginning of the Cold War
  15. The Korean War

As well, Truman had to deal with the bloated bureaucracy that had sprung up in Washington, D.C., created by President Franklin Roosevelt to help run the war.  Peace was upon the nation, but there was plenty of political fighting that remained when the military fighting was done.

I end this article with the words, again, of Harry Truman, “It sure is hell to be president.”

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Harry Truman on Controversy

  1. Tracey Brockman

    Great article on Pres Truman. Thanks Gen. Satterfield. If you could write something like this on another President like John Adams, it would be great.

  2. Joe Omerrod

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield, I’d forgotten about many of these. Today we have far fewer real problems so we have to invent a few. Too bad that the Democratic Party has gone over to the socialist-PC ideology and Marxist methods of controlling folks.

      1. Kenny Foster

        No, the Marxist ideas that continue to pull people in are real and very addictive because they put you – falsely – on a higher moral plain and take away all responsibility on your part. That way you can destroy and kill without remorse. Leftists adhering to this ideology are like crack addicts; they cannot ween themselves off it.

  3. Yusaf from Texas

    Excellent article today, Gen. Satterfield. Keep ’em coming. I recently asked one of my new bosses at work to read your blog and he like it. I hope he continues to like reading the forums also. Shout out to Mr. Bill Simms; originally from Abilene, Tx.

    1. William DeSanto

      Yes, let’s hope he reads your comment too, Yusaf. I also share this blog with others and they consistently love it as well.

  4. JT Patterson

    Wow, that is a big list of controversial events. Today we study them and read a bit about them and yet think nothing of it but Pres Truman had to deal with it and it’s not like he just “thinks” about it and the job is done (kind of like Pres Obama just thinking of it and tadda, it’s done). Work and effort is required. There are great risks of failure. Fortunately we cam out of these times intact.

    1. ARay Pittman

      Yes, and that is why Truman is one of our greatest presidents.

    2. Max Foster

      Yes, easily overlooked as well for us today who are caught up in a bunch of “systemic racism” nonsense. If someone can even properly define systemic racism, I would like to hear it. Then we can argue. But if we cannot even agree upon a definition, talking about it doesn’t make any sense. Now, President Truman’s issue were REAL and DANGEROUS. Now there it takes a real leader to fix.

      1. old warrior

        Kick them in the balls. Reality does set in eventually. ha ha ha ha……..

  5. Army Captain

    Truman, great President and good, decent man. I’m glad he was elected president at the time, he needed to be in charge after WWII for the betterment of our nation.

    1. Eric Coda

      — and, I might add, his taking over the Presidency after Roosevelt’s death and eventual election in 1948 also helped the world. His policies during the Korean War (get us out now idea) were not so good, however, IMHO.

      1. Randy Goodman

        Yes, good points and who knows how much destruction Communist/Socialist ideologies would have done if we had not allowed a stalemate in Korea.

        1. Jonnie the Bart

          Interesting discussion guys. Would Gen. Satterfield like to write more on this topic? I’m sure most of us would like to read his thinking on this topic about Korea. I know in the past he has said he served in Korea (well after the war).

          1. Wendy Holmes

            Maybe, but maybe we should find some good analysis on this topic and post it here. It is also up to us to make a good argument as well, not just to Gen. Satterfield. 😊

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