Truman

.. e to political campaigns; established loyalty oaths for union leaders; and allowed court orders to halt strikes that could affect national health or safety. Truman vetoed the bill, but on June 23, 1947, the bill was passed over his veto. Instead of writing anti-inflation legislation, Congress voted a tax-cut bill giving 40 percent of the relief to those with incomes in excess of $5000. The bill became law over Trumans veto. The president once again failed to gather support for his employment, national health, or social security measures.

Foreign Policy Truman Doctrine Although the United States and the USSR had been allies against Germany during the war, this alliance began to dissolve after the end of the war, when Stalin, seeking Soviet security, began using the Soviet Army to control much of Eastern Europe. Truman opposed Stalins moves. Mistrust grew as both sides broke wartime agreements. Stalin failed to honor pledges to hold free elections in Eastern Europe. Truman refused to honor promises to send reparations from the defeated Germany to help rebuild the war-devastated USSR. This hostility became known as the Cold War.

In 1947 British Prime Minister Attlee told Truman that a British financial crisis was forcing Great Britain to end its aid to Greece. At the time the USSR was demanding naval stations on the Bosporus from Turkey, and Greece was engaged in a civil war with Communist-dominated rebels. The president proposed what was called the Truman Doctrine, which had two objectives: to send U.S. aid to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey, and to create a public consensus so Americans would be willing to fight the Cold War. Truman told Congress that”it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Congress fulfilled his request for $250 million for Greece and $150 million for Turkey.

Marshall Plan Trumans trip to Potsdam and reports from former President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), who headed a postwar food commission, gave him an intimate knowledge of the problems of war-torn Europe. With General George C. Marshall, who was now secretary of state, Truman drew up the European Recovery Plan for the economic rehabilitation of free Europe. This act, also known as the Marshall Plan, was designed to rebuild the European market, which would benefit U.S. trade, and to strengthen democratic governments in Western Europe.

The United States wanted to counter the influence of the USSR, which it was beginning to see as its main rival. The U.S. government also believed that West Germany, the zone occupied by U.S., British, and French forces, would have to be rebuilt and integrated into a larger Europe. After careful planning, Marshall announced in June 1947 that if Europe devised a cooperative, long-term rebuilding program, the United States would provide funds. When the USSR learned that the United States insisted on Soviet cooperation with the capitalist societies of Western Europe and an open accounting of how funds were used, the USSR established its own plan to integrate Communist states in Eastern Europe. Under the Marshall Plan, the United States spent more than $12.5 billion over a four-year period.

Berlin Airlift The Marshall Plan and the amazing postwar recovery of West Germany highlighted the Soviet Unions failure to stabilize the economy of the zone it occupied, East Germany. To embarrass the Allies the Soviets closed off all Allied access to the city of Berlin, which was surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany but the western part of which was under Allied control. Truman recognized that an accessible Berlin was vital for European confidence in the United States. On June 26, 1948, he ordered a full-scale airlift of essential products into the city that continued until May 12, 1949, when the blockade was lifted. Israel Since his early days in the White House, Truman supported the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, which had promised the Jews support for a national homeland in Palestine. He sympathized with the Jewish survivors of Nazi Germany, and in November 1947 he supported the UN plan to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.

In the face of sustained pressure from pro-Arab delegations and from those who feared the loss of Arabian oil, Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Presidential Election of 1948 When Truman decided to run for a full term, he was faced with a major split in the Democratic Party. In 1948 Truman had asked for an end to Jim Crow laws, which maintained segregation in the South. He also proposed laws to punish those responsible for the hanging of blacks without trials, called lynching; laws to protect the voting rights of blacks; and a fair employment practices commission to end job discrimination. All of these angered Southern Democrats.

When Northern Democrats inserted these positions into the 1948 Democratic Party platform, a group of Southerners led by Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina left the party and formed the States Rights Democrats, or Dixiecrats. Henry Wallace and his supporters had also left to form the Progressive Party, and in addition, some influential Democrats thought victory would be possible only if the popular General Dwight D. Eisenhower could be drafted. The prospects were dim as Truman and his running mate, Senator Alben W. Barkley, set out on their campaign. Truman received the Democratic Party nomination, and in his acceptance speech, he told the convention he would reconvene Congress on July 26 to give the Republicans a chance to carry out their partys platform pledges.

When the special session ended without passing any important legislation, Truman had his campaign weapon. He embarked on a cross-country whistle-stop tour, defending his record and blasting the”do-nothing Republican 80th Congress.” No one knows who first shouted, “Give em Hell, Harry!” but the phrase became the campaign slogan of 1948. While thousands publicly and privately conceded the election to the Republican candidate, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Truman continued to campaign, making as many as 16 speeches in one day. A few hours after the polls closed on November 2, the Chicago Tribune issued an early edition with the headline DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN, but when the ballots were counted, Truman beat Dewey by more than 2 million votes. Second Term as President Foreign Affairs Trumans inaugural address proposed four points of action.

The first was support of the United Nations, the second was a continuation of the Marshall Plan, the third was collective defense against Communist aggression, and the fourth was aid to underdeveloped countries. North Atlantic Treaty Organization Trumans third point was developed into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a regional defense alliance, created by the North Atlantic Treaty signed on April 4, 1949. NATOs purpose was to enhance the stability, well-being, and freedom of its members by means of a system of collective security. The defense plan was greeted warmly by Western Europe, which saw Stalin tighten the USSRs grip on the countries of Eastern Europe and threaten the rest of Europe. The Senate ratified the treaty, but only after debating it at length.

Truman then placed Eisenhower in command of the defense organization. Korea At the end of World War II Korea was divided, and a Communist regime was established in North Korea and an anti-Communist one in the South. Considerable civil strife in the South and growing opposition to South Koreas president, Syngman Rhee, persuaded the North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung, that he would be welcomed by many South Koreans as a liberator intent on reuniting the two Koreas. At the same time, Kim would also undermine ongoing opposition to his own regime in North Korea. A war began on June 25, 1950, when the North Korean army, equipped mainly by the USSR, crossed the border and invaded South Korea.

The United States immediately sent supplies to Korea and quickly broadened its commitment in the conflict. On June 27 the UN Security Council, with the Soviet Union voluntarily absent, passed a resolution sponsored by the United States calling for military sanctions against North Korea. Three days later, President Truman ordered U.S. troops stationed in Japan to Korea. American forces, those of South Korea, and, ultimately, combat contingents from 15 other nations were placed under United Nations command.

The action was unique because neither the UN, nor its predecessor, the League of Nations, had ever used military measures to repel an aggressor. The UN forces were commanded by the U.S. commander in chief in East Asia, General Douglas MacArthur. Although the official policy of the United States and the United Nations was to limit the war to Korea to prevent the entrance of the USSR, early sucA war began on June 25, 1950, when the North Korean army, equipped mainly by the USSR, crossed the border and invaded South Korea. The United States immediately sent supplies to cesses persuaded Truman to move troops into North Korea. As UN soldiers approached the Chinese border, however, China, after several warnings to the United States, crossed into North Korea and began driving UN forces back toward the South.

In response, MacArthur publicly requested an extension of the war into Communist China itself, but now Truman abandoned the idea of reunifying Korea by force and returned to the original goal of stopping the invasion of South Korea. When MacArthur then publicly attacked this policy, Truman relieved MacArthur of his command in April 1951 and replaced him with Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway. Until July 1953 UN forces mostly engaged in a series of probing actions known as the active defense. Point Four Trumans Point Fouraid to underdeveloped countriesstemmed from his belief “that we should make available to peace-loving peoples the benefits of our store of technical knowledge in order to help them realize their aspirations for a better life.” Congress debated Point Four for nearly 18 months before approving it on June 5, 1950. By offering technical and scientific aid to those who requested it, Point Four helped reduce famine, disease, and the economic hardships of 35 African and Asian nations by 1953.

Domestic Affairs Fair Deal Although he had a Democratic Congress, Trumans Fair Deal domestic program again met stiff opposition. Congress approved his public housing bill, expanded social security coverage, increased minimum wages and passed stronger farm price support bills, as well as flood-control, rural electrification, and public power measures. However, the legislators rejected his request to have the Taft-Hartley Act repealed, his plans for agricultural stabilization, for construction of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and for the creation of public hydroelectric companies in the Missouri Valley and Columbia Valley. They also rejected his civil rights proposals. However, he strengthened the civil rights section of the Justice Department by executive orders, and he appointed blacks to a few high offices. Cold War at Home There was also a Cold War at home.

Some of Trumans opponents considered MacArthurs removal to be evidence that the administration was lenient on Communism. This was despite the fact that Truman had begun investigating applicants for government jobs in 1946; that he had led the fight to aid Greece and Turkey when the British could no longer do so; and that Truman had used that issue to create new security and intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council. Some Republicans nevertheless believed that Truman had not done enough. In 1948 American writer and editor Whittaker Chambers testified before Representative Richard Nixon and the House Committee on Un-American Activities that he had been a Communist in the 1920s and 1930s and a courier in transmitting secret information to Soviet agents. He charged that State Department member Alger Hiss was also a Communist, and that he had turned classified documents over to Chambers to be sent to the Soviet Union.

Hiss denied the charges but Chambers produced microfilm copies of documents that were later identified as classified papers belonging to the Departments of State, Navy, and War, some apparently annotated by Hiss in his own handwriting. The Department of Justice conducted its own investigation, and Hiss was indicted for perjury, or lying under oath. The jury failed to reach a verdict, but Hiss was convicted after a second trial in January 1950 (see Hiss Case). In China the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, which had been supported by the United States, was unable to withstand the advance of Communist forces under Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung). By the end of 1949 government troops had been overwhelmingly defeated, and Chiang led his forces into exile on Taiwan.

The triumphant Mao formed the Peoples Republic of China. Truman critics charged that the administration had failed to support Chiang Kai-shek against the Communists. Many people were also alarmed in September 1949, when Truman announced that the USSR had developed an atomic bomb. In February 1950 Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy charged in a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, that the State Department knowingly employed 205 Communists. He later reduced the number to 57, and after an investigation all of the charges were found to be false.

McCarthy continued to accuse other officials of Communist sympathies. Without any evidence, he was eventually discredited, and the word McCarthyism came to refer to accusations of subversive activities without any evidence. These incidents and others convinced Congress to pass the Internal Security Act of 1950, called the McCarran Act, over Trumans veto. The act forced the registration of all Communist organizations, allowed the government to intern Communists during any national emergencies, and prohibited Communists from doing any defense work. The act also prohibited the entrance into the United States of anyone who was a member of a “totalitarian” organization.

Seizure of the Steel Mills Despite the administrations efforts to prevent a strike that would close the countrys steel mills, a strike date was set for early April 9, 1952. Just hours before the scheduled strike, before a nationwide radio audience, Truman directed Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer to seize the mills to ensure their production to support the war efforts. However, on June 2, 1952, the Supreme Court of the United States in a 6 to 3 decision on Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer declared the seizure unconstitutional.

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