Skip to comments.Harry Truman's Forgotten Diary
Posted on 07/11/2003 6:39:01 AM PDT by alloysteelEdited on 07/11/2003 6:45:45 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
"The Jews, I find are very, very selfish," President Harry S. Truman wrote in a 1947 diary that was recently discovered on the shelves of the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., and released by the National Archives yesterday.
Written sporadically during a turbulent year of Truman's presidency, the diary contains about 5,500 words on topics ranging from the death of his mother to comic banter with a British aristocrat. But the most surprising comments were Truman's remarks on Jews, written on July 21, 1947, after the president had a conversation with Henry Morgenthau, the Jewish former treasury secretary. Morgenthau called to talk about a Jewish ship in Palestine -- possibly the Exodus, the legendary ship carrying 4,500 Jewish refugees who were refused entry into Palestine by the British, then rulers of that land.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Harry S Truman reportedly joined the Klan for a short time in 1922, also, his defenders contend, for political reasons. Truman reportedly sought Klan backing in his race for a judgeship in Jackson County, Missouri. In Hooded Americanism: The First Century of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1965, author David M. Chalmers writes: "Truman's own story was that when he was told to promise not to give any jobs to Catholics he angrily withdrew and got his money back." Another version cited by Chalmers "was that the future President did go through with his initiation although he was never an active member."
FDR was pro-soviet; he actually planned Soviet domination of Europe. And wanted us to fight in WWII for that very purpose. No miracle at all that the government was loaded with commies; "liberals" were fellow-travelers then as now.
McCarthy was the one who pointed out that that was a problem. And, per Ann Coulter, saved our Constitution--or what remains of it . . .
WASHINGTON - In a newly found 1947 diary, then-President Harry S. Truman records a dramatic offer to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
He would step down to serve as Eisenhower's vice president on the Democratic ticket the following year if it appeared Gen. Douglas MacArthur was heading for the Republican presidential nomination.
Truman made the suggestion in a July White House meeting while serving out the term of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt and earning bad reviews from the public.
Eisenhower, who was wildly popular, would not run for president until 1952 -- and then as a Republican.
Historians have long believed Truman would have done almost anything to thwart MacArthur, but the new diary, revealed at a National Archives press conference in Washington on Thursday, appears to confirm it. According to the diary, the two men agreed to keep the conversation secret.
A research aide at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence discovered the diary earlier this year.
"This is probably the most important document the Truman Library has opened in 20 years," said Director Michael J. Devine.
Perhaps the most unsettling entry is dated July 21, 1947. Treasury Secretary Henry Morganthau, who was Jewish, had called Truman to talk about a Jewish ship in Palestine -- possibly the Exodus, which carried 4,500 Jewish refugees who were refused entry into Palestine by the British, who then ruled that land.
"He'd no business, whatever to call me," Truman wrote. "The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement on world affairs...The Jews, I find are very, very selfish...Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes."
On Thursday, several scholars expressed surprise. They noted that Truman is known for acting to help Jews in postwar Europe and for supporting recognition of Israel in 1948, when his State Department opposed it.
Sara Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, said: "Truman's sympathy for the plight of Jews was very apparent." But his comments were "typical of a sort of cultural anti-Semitism that was common at that time in all parts of American society," Bloomfield said.
John Lewis Gaddis, a professor of history at Yale University and a Cold War scholar, said: "Truman was often critical, sometimes hyper-critical, of Jews in his diary entries and in his correspondences, but this doesn't make him an anti-Semite. Anyone who played the role he did in creating the state of Israel can hardly be regarded in that way."
Several Truman scholars said the most historically important of the diary's 42 entries is the account of the July 25 session with Eisenhower. The general was about to leave as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to become president of Columbia University in New York City.
"I don't think there was much doubt that during the Potsdam Conference in 1945, Truman told Ike that he would do anything he could for him politically, including the presidency," said Truman biographer Robert Ferrell, "But this seems to be clear evidence that he was also thinking of Eisenhower in 1947."
Truman disliked MacArthur, who at the time was the commander of the Allied occupation in Japan. It would not be until four years later, during the Korean War, that he sacked the aging general. Truman later soured on Eisenhower, as well.
The candidate that Truman would face and beat in 1948 was New York Gov. Thomas Dewey.
The year 1947 saw the Truman Doctrine, which provided foreign aid to challenge Soviet expansion, and the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. Richard Kirkendall of the University of Washington expressed disappointment that the diary mentioned neither.
History aside, the diary reveals a colorful, witty, introspective and irreverent president outspoken in his disdain for life in the White House.
On Jan. 6, he wrote that "the great white jail is a hell of place to be alone." He called the White House a "ghostly place" where his predecessors haunt the corridors and "the floors pop and crack all night long."
Clifton Truman Daniel said his grandfather must have been listening to "the whole second floor falling apart."
After former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited him on Jan. 3, 1947, to apologize for her sons' criticism of Truman in print, the then-president wrote, "It's a pity a great man has to have progeny! Look at Churchill's. Remember Lincoln's and Grant's... and Teddy Roosevelt's are terrible."
Truman also recorded entries about appearing on a balcony before a teeming crowd and imagining how Napoleon must have felt, and of weeping in the privacy of his study after the death of his mother.
"I can shed tears as I please -- no one's looking," he wrote.
The diary sat on a shelf in the Truman Library's stacks, untouched and unread for 38 years, since the day in 1965 when the former president's office staff transferred it, among other books and materials, to the library's collection.
While Truman was an inveterate diarist, he usually kept his accounts on loose sheets of papers and rarely used bound volumes.
So there was little reason for anyone at the library to suspect that the dark blue volume with the innocuous title, "1947 Diary and Manual of the Real Estate Board of New York, Inc." -- a Christmas gift in 1946 from Matthew G. Ely, the board's president -- was anything but what it appeared to be. The first 160 pages contained information about the board, a roster of its officers and members, and advertisements.
Earlier this year it was among books deemed insignificant and selected for storage at the Library of Congress.
As she always did, Liz Safly, who works in research at the library, flipped through the pages of the books to be shipped off to Washington. Safly, who has worked at the library for 41 years, knows Truman's penmanship as well as anyone. She discovered the pages of his legible, sturdy script in dark blue ink.
As National Archivist John Carlin said: "This finding is a clear reminder there is no final draft of history."
Some excerpts from President Truman's newfound 1947 diary: (Spellings are reproduced as they are in the diary.)
"This great white jail is a hell of a place in which to be alone. While I work from early morning until late at night, it is a ghostly place. The floors pop and crack all night long. Anyone with imagination can see old Jim Buchanan walking up and down worrying about conditions not of his making. Then there's Van Buren who inherited a terrible mess from his predecessor as did poor old James Madison. Of course Andrew Johnson was the worst mistreated of any of them. But they all walk up and down the halls of this place and moan about what they should have done and didn't... the tortured souls who were and are misrepresented in history are the ones who come back. It's a hell of a place."
March 4 (on a trip to Mexico and a visit with that country's president)
"Never saw such crowds -- such enthusiasm...Shake hands with some two or three thousand. The President & I go out upon a balcony with a rug over the railing and wave to a sea of people -- thousands so they say. Have seen pictures of (emperors) Franz Joseph, Marcus Aurelius & Napoleon doing it. But it's my first time."
July 4 (after a reception at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home)
"Mrs. Astor -- Lady Astor came to the car just before we started from Monticello to say to me that she liked my policies as President but that she thought I had become rather too much "Yankee."
I couldn't help telling her that my purported "Yankee" tendencies were not half so bad as her ultra conservative British leanings. She almost had a stroke."
"At 1:30 Washington time recieved message my mother has passed on. Terrible shock. No one knew it. Arrived in Grandview about 3:30 CST went to the house and met sister & brother. Went to Belton with them and picked a casket. A terrible ordeal. Back to Grandview and then to Independence with Bess & Margie...Spent Sunday morning and afternoon at Grandview. Mamma had been placed in casket we had decided upon and returned to her cottage. I couldn't look at her dead. I wanted to remember (her) alive when she was at her best."
"Have all sorts of things facing me."
"Went over to Walter Reed (hospital) from Bethesda and went through the bed fast wards with Dr. Graham, my doctor & the CO of the hospital. Met forty or fifty patients most of whom were war wounded. They were happy and optimistic. Makes a person ashamed to be gloomy even if world affairs are mixed up. Went down to the WH garage to see the tree and then ate a tall dinner gained a pound and a half and the doctor says I should take it off!"
Yes. It is the WP. We will have to wait till the NYT verifies it.
From the pen of one of the most famous underdogs in U.S. electoral history. Interesting.
Well, as for fighting Communism, he stood by while numerous nations of Eastern Europe were swallowed up by Russia. He lost China. He fought Korea to a rousing stalemate. He fired McArthur and replaced Patton. Truman fought Communism like a girl. In fact, he was a little bitch.
At the time Communism was greatly expanding, the Republicans were outraged. The RATS and their lap dogs in the media were just fine with it. I would hardly call Truman a right wing extremist during the time of his Presidency.
Wait a minute hear, what the Liberals Demi-god, FDR and his comments re Jews circa WWII?
Wait a minute here, what about the Liberals Demi-god, FDR and his comments re Jews circa WWII?
"The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes."Basicly, he's acting surprised that people would be more interested in the welfare of their own "group" than in people who are not part of their "group"
He'd no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement [sic] on world affairs. Henry brought a thousand Jews to New York on a supposedly temporary basis and they stayed."
Put an underdog on top
very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes is a bit humorous in the context of 4,500 homeless refugees bobbing about the ocean.
During certain periods of the 20th century--in the 1920s and again in the 1950s--the KKK's active membership swelled to massive proportions, not just in the South but in rural areas of the North as well. In the 1920s Klan members held posts in the highest levels of the government--including two former presidents who were Klan members. In 1921 Warren G Harding was initiated as a Klan member at the White House, and Harry Truman paid dues as a Klan member in the 1920s, years before he was elected president.
What a great sense of humor you have!
(On New York) "K*ketown." -- Harry Truman in a personal letter "I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's not a n*gger or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a White man from dust, a nigger from mud, then He threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman. He does hate Chinese and Japs. So do I. It is race prejudice, I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, Yellow men in Asia and White men in Europe and America." Harry Truman (1911) in a letter to his future wife Bess
I wasn't around during the Civil War but I believe the North won it. I dunno, maybe it is just some hack who told me the North won.
MI>"When war broke out in Korea, Truman made an understandable mistake : he appointed "Emperor Mac Arthur" to defend Korea-to the great joy of Mac Arthur's many admirers."
Then the stupid ass made a bigger mistake by firing McArthur instead of letting him win the war outright. Truman should have been impeached.
"Did he do a pretty good job in spite of his limitations
"Did he hate the Communists and their "Liberal" fellow-travelers with a passion ? Again, yes; and no amount of revisionism will change that in my memory."
Well, since you so passionately try to revise history, here is Truman in his own words to Henry Wallace in 1946 (From the book "Treason") - "Stalin was a fine man who wanted to do the right thing." Further, according to Coulter, he later wrote in his diary that the Russians "have always been our friends and I can't see any reason why they shouldn't be."
Truman liked to refer to Stalin as "Uncle Joe" BTW. Your revisionist view of Truman the Commie loving RAT is sick.
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