front cover of Accidental State
Accidental State
Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan
Hsiao-ting Lin
Harvard University Press, 2016

The existence of two Chinese states—one controlling mainland China, the other controlling the island of Taiwan—is often understood as a seemingly inevitable outcome of the Chinese civil war. Defeated by Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan to establish a rival state, thereby creating the “Two Chinas” dilemma that vexes international diplomacy to this day. Accidental State challenges this conventional narrative to offer a new perspective on the founding of modern Taiwan.

Hsiao-ting Lin marshals extensive research in recently declassified archives to show that the creation of a Taiwanese state in the early 1950s owed more to serendipity than careful geostrategic planning. It was the cumulative outcome of ad hoc half-measures and imperfect compromises, particularly when it came to the Nationalists’ often contentious relationship with the United States.

Taiwan’s political status was fraught from the start. The island had been formally ceded to Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War, and during World War II the Allies promised Chiang that Taiwan would revert to Chinese rule after Japan’s defeat. But as the Chinese civil war turned against the Nationalists, U.S. policymakers reassessed the wisdom of backing Chiang. The idea of placing Taiwan under United Nations trusteeship gained traction. Cold War realities, and the fear of Taiwan falling into Communist hands, led Washington to recalibrate U.S. policy. Yet American support of a Taiwan-based Republic of China remained ambivalent, and Taiwan had to eke out a place for itself in international affairs as a de facto, if not fully sovereign, state.

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Acheson and Empire
The British Accent in American Foreign Policy
John T. McNay
University of Missouri Press, 2001

Acheson and Empire offers a compelling reassessment of Dean Acheson's policies toward the former colonial world during his period as secretary of state from 1949 to 1953. John T. McNay argues that Acheson inherited through his own personal history a way of understanding the world that encouraged imperial-style international relationships. This worldview represented a well-developed belief system rooted in his Ulster Protestant heritage that remained consistent throughout his life.

By exploring relationships of the United States with Britain and countries formerly or then controlled by Britain, such as India, Ireland, Iran, and Egypt, McNay shows the significance of Acheson's beliefs. McNay argues that Acheson's support of existing imperial relationships was so steadfast that it often led other nations to perceive that the United States was nothing more than a front for British interests. He believes this approach to foreign policy damaged American relations with emerging countries and misled the British regarding possibilities of an Anglo-American partnership.

Acheson and Empire contends that the widely accepted view of Acheson as a foreign policy realist is misleading and that historians should acknowledge that his affinity for the British Empire went beyond his clothing and mannerisms. McNay maintains that the widely accepted view of Acheson as one of a group of "wise men" who shaped the Cold War world by basing their decisions on cold calculation of American interests should be reconsidered.

Drawing from extensive research in archival sources, including the Truman Library, the National Archives, the Public Record Office in London, and Acheson's personal papers at Yale, Acheson and Empire offers a fresh look at Dean Acheson that runs counter to previous biographies and many histories of the Cold War.

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American Girls and Global Responsibility
A New Relation to the World during the Early Cold War
Helgren, Jennifer
Rutgers University Press, 2017
American Girls and Global Responsibility brings together insights from Cold War culture studies, girls’ studies, and the history of gender and militarization to shed new light on how age and gender work together to form categories of citizenship.
 
Jennifer Helgren argues that a new internationalist girl citizenship took root in the country in the years following World War II in youth organizations such as Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, YWCA Y-Teens, schools, and even magazines like Seventeen. She shows the particular ways that girls’ identities and roles were configured, and reveals the links between internationalist youth culture, mainstream U.S. educational goals, and the U.S. government in creating and marketing that internationalist girl, thus shaping the girls’ sense of responsibilities as citizens. 
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American Labor and the Cold War
Grassroots Politics and Postwar Political Culture
Cherny, Robert
Rutgers University Press, 2004

The American labor movement seemed poised on the threshold of unparalleled success at the beginning of the post-World War II era. Fourteen million strong in 1946, unions represented thirty five percent of non-agricultural workers. Why then did the gains made between the 1930s and the end of the war produce so few results by the 1960s?

This collection addresses the history of labor in the postwar years by exploring the impact of the global contest between the United States and the Soviet Union on American workers and labor unions. The essays focus on the actual behavior of Americans in their diverse workplaces and communities during the Cold War. Where previous scholarship on labor and the Cold War has overemphasized the importance of the Communist Party, the automobile industry, and Hollywood, this book focuses on politically moderate, conservative workers and union leaders, the medium-sized cities that housed the majority of the population, and the Roman Catholic Church. These are all original essays that draw upon extensive archival research and some upon oral history sources.

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Architects of Globalism
Building a New World Order during WWII
Patrick J. Hearden
University of Arkansas Press, 2002
Architects of Globalism provides the first comprehensive analysis of American Blueprints for the reconstruction of the world after the defeat of Hitler and his allies. Working closely with Roosevelt and Truman, State Department officials assumed primary responsibility for drafting these plans. Hearden shows that bitter rivalries frequently divided these officials, but that there was remarkable agreement among them on fundamental principles. These architects of globalism sought to create a liberal capitalist world system, in which foreign markets would absorb the surplus products of American farms and factories so that the United States would be able to maintain high levels of employment without further government intervention in the economy. Hearden shows these men contending with the vital issues of the day: decolonization and the dismantling of empires, relations with the Soviet Union, the formation of the United Nations, the economic reconstruction of war-torn countries, the forging of new relations with Germany and Japan, the twin problems of Palestine and petroleum. Based on extensive new research in primary sources — from policymakers' private letters and personal diaries to official correspondence — this exciting book documents the formation of the postwar world.
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Atomic Diplomacy
Hiroshima and Potsdam
Gar Alperovitz
Pluto Press, 1995

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The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman
Edited with a New Introduction by Robert H. Ferrell
University of Missouri Press, 2002
The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman is a compilation of autobiographical writings composed by Truman between 1934 and 1972. Taken directly from his own manuscript material, the volume presents the thoughts and feelings of the man himself. The book touches on details in Truman’s life from his days as a boy until graduation from Independence High School in 1901 to the vice presidency of the United States and beyond. There is also a memorandum written by Truman about the Pendergast machine in Kansas City telling how it was possible to work with the machine and not be soiled by it. The Autobiography concludes with some of the retired president’s thoughts about politics and the purposes of public life.
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Between East and West
Trieste, the United States, and the Cold War, 1941–1954
Roberto G. Rabel
Duke University Press, 1988
The city of Trieste in the northern Adriatic was the center of long-standing Italo-Yugoslav territorial struggle at the end of World War II. The United States assumed a key role in this dispute by joining Britain in taking on temporary military administration of the city to prevent its occupation by Tito's Yugoslavia until a settlement could be reached at the peace table. This "temporary" Anglo-American control of Trieste lasted nearly a decade, until the sovereignty question was finally resolved in 1954 in favor of Italy.

Rabel explains the causes, significance, and consequences of American involvement in this classic European territorial dispute. The author sees U.S. involvement as closely linked to the larger issues of American participation in World War II and belief in democracy and self-determination, as well as to the subsequent unfolding of the Cold War. After 1945, Rabel asserts, American policy interest shifted to concern for Trieste due to its geographic and symbolic position between the Eastern and Western blocs. U.S. policies toward the Trieste issue were therefore shaped by several factors; a commitment to the principle of self-determination; the exigencies of maintaining stability and effective administration under the occupation; the need for close cooperation with the British; and the larger realities of the Cold War, especially in terms of American perceptions of the changing roles of Italy and Yugoslavia in that conflict. By examining the dynamic interplay of these factors, Between East and West seeks to explain the origins and evolution of U.S. Cold War policy, as well as its impact on the traditional American liberal principles of democracy and self-determination.

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Building the Cold War Consensus
The Political Economy of U.S. National Security Policy, 1949-51
Benjamin O. Fordham
University of Michigan Press, 1998
In 1950, the U.S. military budget more than tripled while plans for a national health care system and other new social welfare programs disappeared from the agenda. At the same time, the official campaign against the influence of radicals in American life reached new heights. Benjamin Fordham suggests that these domestic and foreign policy outcomes are closely related. The Truman administration's efforts to fund its ambitious and expensive foreign policy required it to sacrifice much of its domestic agenda and acquiesce to conservative demands for a campaign against radicals in the labor movement and elsewhere.
Using a statistical analysis of the economic sources of support and opposition to the Truman Administration's foreign policy, and a historical account of the crucial period between the summer of 1949 and the winter of 1951, Fordham integrates the political struggle over NSC 68, the decision to intervene in the Korean War, and congressional debates over the Fair Deal, McCarthyism and military spending. The Truman Administration's policy was politically successful not only because it appealed to internationally oriented sectors of the U.S. economy, but also because it was linked to domestic policies favored by domestically oriented, labor-sensitive sectors that would otherwise have opposed it.
This interpretation of Cold War foreign policy will interest political scientists and historians concerned with the origins of the Cold War, American social welfare policy, McCarthyism, and the Korean War, and the theoretical argument it advances will be of interest broadly to scholars of U.S. foreign policy, American politics, and international relations theory.
Benjamin O. Fordham is Assistant Professor of Political Science, State University of New York at Albany.
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Conflict and Crisis
The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948
Robert J. Donovan
University of Missouri Press, 1996

“It was a quiet on the second floor. The vice-president walked solemnly into Mrs. Roosevelt’s sitting room, where she waited, grave and calm. With her was her daughter, Mrs. Anna Roosevelt Boettiger, her husband, Colonel John Boettiger, and Stephan Early. Truman knew at a glance that his premonition had been true. Mrs. Roosevelt came forward directly and put her arm on his shoulder.

‘Harry, the President is dead.’”

Robert J. Donovan’s Conflict and Crisis presents a detailed account of Harry S. Truman’s presidency from 1945-1948.

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Dark Days in the Newsroom
McCarthyism Aimed at the Press
Edward Alwood
Temple University Press, 2007

Dark Days in the Newsroom traces how journalists became radicalized during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s. Edward Alwood, a former news correspondent describes this remarkable story of conflict, principle, and personal sacrifice with noticeable élan. He shows how McCarthy's minions pried inside newsrooms thought to be sacrosanct under the First Amendment, and details how journalists mounted a heroic defense of freedom of the press while others secretly enlisted in the government's anti-communist crusade.

Relying on previously undisclosed documents from FBI files, along with personal interviews, Alwood provides a richly informed commentary on one of the most significant moments in the history of American journalism. Arguing that the experiences of the McCarthy years profoundly influenced the practice of journalism, he shows how many of the issues faced by journalists in the 1950s prefigure today's conflicts over the right of journalists to protect their sources.

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The Division of Europe after World War II
1946
By W. W. Rostow
University of Texas Press, 1981

Should the negotiation of the post–World War II peace treaties in Europe have been pursued separately or should they have been approached within the framework of a general European settlement? The debate on this fundamental foreign policy issue, which has left only faint tracks in the documentary record, is fully explored here for the first time.

W. W. Rostow, in his second book in the Ideas and Action Series, describes a meeting that took place on the eve of the departure of Secretary of State James Byrnes for Paris to participate in treaty negotiations. The meeting was probably the only occasion during 1946 when the peace treaty issue as a whole was explicitly addressed at a high level with lucid alternatives on the table. The plan laid before Secretary of State Byrnes by his senior subordinates, Under Secretary Dean Acheson and Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Will Clayton, aimed to halt the movement toward the split of Europe and the emergence of hostile blocs. It outlined an all-European settlement, including economic and security institutions linked to the United Nations. Only one part of the proposal gained Byrnes's support and came to life: the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. But the Acheson-Clayton proposal foreshadowed the Marshall Plan.

The book's larger theme is the process by which the Cold War came about. Rostow's interpretation differs from either conventional or revisionist views, emphasizing as it does the process of incremental deterioration that occurred in 1946 and the role of uncertainty and weakness in American policy.

This second volume in the Ideas and Action Series will interest general readers as well as those with a particular interest in World War II. It should be of special value to political scientists, economists, military historians, and policy makers, and may serve as a case study in a variety of courses.

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The Fear Within
Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial
Martelle, Scott
Rutgers University Press, 2011

Sixty years ago political divisions in the United States ran even deeper than today's name-calling showdowns between the left and right. Back then, to call someone a communist was to threaten that person's career, family, freedom, and, sometimes, life itself. Hysteria about the "red menace" mushroomed as the Soviet Union tightened its grip on Eastern Europe, Mao Zedong rose to power in China, and the atomic arms race accelerated. Spy scandals fanned the flames, and headlines warned of sleeper cells in the nation's midst--just as it does today with the "War on Terror."

In his new book, The Fear Within, Scott Martelle takes dramatic aim at one pivotal moment of that era. On the afternoon of July 20, 1948, FBI agents began rounding up twelve men in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit whom the U.S. government believed posed a grave threat to the nation--the leadership of the Communist Party-USA. After a series of delays, eleven of the twelve "top Reds" went on trial in Manhattan's Foley Square in January 1949.

The proceedings captivated the nation, but the trial quickly dissolved into farce. The eleven defendants were charged under the 1940 Smith Act with conspiring to teach the necessity of overthrowing the U.S. government based on their roles as party leaders and their distribution of books and pamphlets. In essence, they were on trial for their libraries and political beliefs, not for overt acts threatening national security. Despite the clear conflict with the First Amendment, the men were convicted and their appeals denied by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision that gave the green light to federal persecution of Communist Party leaders--a decision the court effectively reversed six years later. But by then, the damage was done. So rancorous was the trial the presiding judge sentenced the defense attorneys to prison terms, too, chilling future defendants' access to qualified counsel.

Martelle's story is a compelling look at how American society, both general and political, reacts to stress and, incongruously, clamps down in times of crisis on the very beliefs it holds dear: the freedoms of speech and political belief. At different points in our history, the executive branch, Congress, and the courts have subtly or more drastically eroded a pillar of American society for the politics of the moment. It is not surprising, then, that The Fear Within takes on added resonance in today's environment of suspicion and the decline of civil rights under the U.S. Patriot Act.

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The Good Occupation
American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace
Susan L. Carruthers
Harvard University Press, 2016

Waged for a just cause and culminating in total victory, World War II was America’s “good war.” Yet for millions of GIs overseas, the war did not end with Germany and Japan’s surrender. The Good Occupation chronicles America’s transition from wartime combatant to postwar occupier, by exploring the intimate thoughts and feelings of the ordinary servicemen and women who participated—often reluctantly—in the difficult project of rebuilding nations they had so recently worked to destroy.

When the war ended, most of the seven million Americans in uniform longed to return to civilian life. Yet many remained on active duty, becoming the “after-army” tasked with bringing order and justice to societies ravaged by war. Susan Carruthers shows how American soldiers struggled to deal with unprecedented catastrophe among millions of displaced refugees and concentration camp survivors while negotiating the inevitable tensions that arose between victors and the defeated enemy. Drawing on thousands of unpublished letters, diaries, and memoirs, she reveals the stories service personnel told themselves and their loved ones back home in order to make sense of their disorienting and challenging postwar mission.

The picture Carruthers paints is not the one most Americans recognize today. A venture undertaken by soldiers with little appetite for the task has crystallized, in the retelling, into the “good occupation” of national mythology: emblematic of the United States’ role as a bearer of democracy, progress, and prosperity. In real time, however, “winning the peace” proved a perilous business, fraught with temptation and hazard.

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The Great Melding
War, the Dixiecrat Rebellion, and the Southern Model for America's New Conservatism
Glenn Feldman
University of Alabama Press, 2015
2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Audacious in its scope, subtle in its analysis, and persuasive in its arguments, The Great Melding is the second book in Glenn Feldman’s magisterial recounting of the South’s transformation from a Reconstruction-era citadel of Democratic Party inertia to a cauldron of GOP agitation. In this pioneering study, Feldman shows how the transitional years after World War II, the Dixiecrat episode, and the early 1950s formed a pivotal sequence of events that altered America’s political landscape in profound, fundamental, and unexpected ways.
 
Feldman’s landmark work The Irony of the Solid South dismantled the myth of the New Deal consensus, proving it to be only a fleeting alliance of fissiparous factions; The Great Melding further examines how the South broke away from that consensus. Exploring issues of race and white supremacy, Feldman documents and explains the roles of economics, religion, and emotive appeals to patriotism in southern voting patterns. His probing and original analysis includes a discussion of the limits of southern liberalism and a fresh examination of the Dixiecrat Revolt of 1948.
 
Feldman convincingly argues that the Dixiecrats—often dismissed as a transitory footnote in American politics—served as a template for the modern conservative movement. Now a predictable Republican stronghold, Alabama at the time was viewed by national political strategists as a battleground and bellwether. Masterfully synthesizing a vast range of sources, Feldman shows that Alabama was then one of the few states where voters made unpredictable choices between the competing ideologies of the Democrats, Republicans, and Dixiecrats.
 
Writing in his lively and provocative style, Feldman demonstrates that the events he recounts in Alabama between 1942 and Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 election encapsulate a rare moment of fluidity in American politics, one in which the New Deal consensus shattered and the Democratic and Republican parties fought off a third-party revolt only to find themselves irrevocably altered by their success. The Great Melding will fascinate historians, political scientists, political strategists, and readers of political nonfiction.
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Harry S. Truman and the Cold War Revisionists
Robert H. Ferrell
University of Missouri Press, 2006
The idea of revising what is known of the past constitutes an essential procedure in historical scholarship, but revisionists are often hasty and argumentative in their judgments. Such, argues Robert H. Ferrell, has been the case with assessments of the presidency of Harry S. Truman, who was targeted by historians and political scientists in the 1960s and ’70s for numerous failings in both domestic and foreign policy, including launching the cold war—perceptions that persist to the present day.
Widely acknowledged as today’s foremost Truman scholar, Ferrell turns the tables on the revisionists in this collection of classic essays. He goes below the surface appearances of history to examine how situations actually developed and how Truman performed sensibly—even courageously—in the face of unforeseen crises.
While some revisionists see Truman as consumed by a blind hatred of the Soviet Union and adopting an unrestrainedly militant stance, Ferrell convincingly shows that Truman wished to get along with the Soviets and was often bewildered by their actions. He interprets policies such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and support for NATO as prudent responses to perceived threats and credits the Truman administration for the ways in which it dealt with unprecedented problems.
What emerges most vividly from Ferrell’s essays is a sense of how weak a hand the United States held from 1945 to1950, with its conventional forces depleted by the return of veterans to civil pursuits after the war and with its capacity for delivery of nuclear weapons in a sorry state. He shows that Truman regarded the atomic bomb as a weapon of last resort, not an instrument of policy, and that he took America into a war in Korea for the good of the United States and its allies. Although Truman has been vindicated on many of these issues, there still remains a lingering controversy over the use of atomic weapons in Japan—a decision that Ferrell argues is understandable in light of what Truman faced at the start of his presidency.
Ferrell argues that the revisionists who attacked Truman understood neither the times nor the man—one of the most clearheaded, farsighted presidents ever to occupy the Oval Office. Harry S. Truman and the Cold War Revisionists shows us that Truman’s was indeed a remarkable presidency, as it cautions historians against too quickly appraising the very recent past.
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Harry S. Truman and the News Media
Contentious Relations, Belated Respect
Franklin D. Mitchell
University of Missouri Press, 1998

Based upon extensive research in the papers of President Harry S. Truman and in several journalistic collections, Harry S. Truman and the News Media recounts the story of a once unpopular chief executive who overcame the censure of the news media to ultimately win both the public's and the press's affirmation of his personal and presidential greatness.

Franklin D. Mitchell traces the major contours of journalism during the lifetime and presidency of Truman. Although newspapers and newsmagazines are given the most emphasis, reporters and columnists of the Washington news corps also figure prominently for their role in the president's news conferences and their continuing coverage of Truman and his family. Broadcast journalism's expanding coverage of the president is also explored through chapters dealing with radio and television.

President Truman's advocacy of a liberal Fair Deal for all Americans and a prudent and visible role for the nation in world affairs drew fire from the anti-administration news media, particularly the publishing empire of William Randolph Hearst, the McCormick-Patterson newspapers, the Scripps-Howard chain, and the Time-Life newsmagazines of Henry R. Luce. Despite press opposition and the almost universal prediction of defeat in the 1948 election, Truman was victorious in the greatest miscalled presidential election in journalistic history.

During his full term, Truman's relations with the news media became contentious over such matters as national security in the Cold War, the conduct of the Korean War, and the continuing charges of communism and corruption in the administration. Although Truman's career in politics was based on honesty and the welfare of the people, his early political alliance with Thomas Pendergast, Kansas City's notorious political boss, provided the opportunity for a portion of the press to charge Truman with subservience to Pendergast's own agenda of corrupt government.

The history and the dynamics of the Truman presidency and the American news media, combined with biographical and institutional sketches of key individuals and news organizations, make Harry S. Truman and the News Media a captivating and original investigation of an American president. Well written and researched, this book will be of great value to Truman scholars, journalists, and anyone interested in American history or presidential studies.

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Harry's Farewell
Interpreting and Teaching the Truman Presidency
Edited & Intro by Richard S. Kirkendall
University of Missouri Press, 2004
Harry’s Farewell confronts the biggest issue of Truman historiography: the historical significance of Harry S. Truman’s presidency. Exploring the subject from the point of view of Truman’s Farewell Address of January 15, 1953, the book begins by describing the preparation of the address itself by the president and his closest advisers. In it, they challenged the negative view of his presidency that prevailed as he prepared to leave the White House. The book goes on to appraise the presidency in terms of the topics included in the address: the president and the people, the economy, civil rights, the bomb, Containment, Korea, and the end of the Cold War. Four essays follow that cover key topics that Truman did not mention in his speech: the Red Scare, women’s rights, ethnicity, and the environment. The book ends with essays by two major Truman biographers who present their own interpretations of his historical significance.
In addition to interpreting the Truman presidency, the book also deals with the needs of teachers who must bring this subject into their classrooms. Reflecting the importance of education for the Truman Library’s mission, Harry’s Farewell began as a conference at the library that brought researchers and teachers together for four days of conversation about interpretation and teaching. As a result, this book offers documents that teachers can use in their classes and includes an essay, based on the conversations, on ways of teaching the Truman presidency. In addition to being of great value to researchers and teachers, this book provides the general reader with a clearly focused collection of informative and provocative essays on Harry Truman, a man now widely regarded as a great American president.
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HST
Memories of the Truman Years
Edited by Steve Neal. Foreword by Clifton Truman Daniel
Southern Illinois University Press, 2003

Believing that Americans should understand their leadership, Harry Truman was the first American president to authorize an oral history of his life and times. In that vein, almost forty years ago, the Truman Library in the president’s native Independence, Missouri, began the daunting task of compiling the words of Truman’s contemporaries, including his senior aides, foreign policy and military advisors, political strategists, and close friends. Longtime Chicago journalist Steve Neal has edited twenty of these remarkable interviews for HST: Memories of the Truman Years

Candid and insightful, the recollections include those of statesmen Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman; soldiers Omar Bradley and Lucius Clay; Truman’s best friend Thomas Evans; associates Clark Clifford and Matt Connelly; 1948 Republican vice-presidential nominee Earl Warren; artist Thomas Hart Benton; West German leader Konrad Adnauer; former New Dealers Sam Rosenman and James Rowe; journalist Richard L. Strout; and many others.

An honest portrait of Truman emerges from the twenty firsthand accounts of those who knew him best. HST: Memories of the Truman Years spans Truman’s rise to the presidency and his responses to the challenges of World War II, the Soviet blockade of Berlin, the rebuilding of postwar Europe, the 1948 campaign, his controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur, and his courageous leadership on civil rights.

“The goal of these histories,” explains Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, in the foreword, “in keeping with Grandpa’s stated desire that the [Truman Library] be about his presidency, not a monument to him, was to preserve forever the perspective of those who had shared his life and times and, in many cases, helped him shape the world.”

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The Irony of American History
Reinhold Niebuhr
University of Chicago Press, 2008
“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama
 
Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace.

 “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times

“Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society
 
Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction
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Mapping the End of Empire
Aiyaz Husain
Harvard University Press, 2014

By the end of World War II, strategists in Washington and London looked ahead to a new era in which the United States shouldered global responsibilities and Britain concentrated its regional interests more narrowly. The two powers also viewed the Muslim world through very different lenses. Mapping the End of Empire reveals how Anglo–American perceptions of geography shaped postcolonial futures from the Middle East to South Asia.

Aiyaz Husain shows that American and British postwar strategy drew on popular notions of geography as well as academic and military knowledge. Once codified in maps and memoranda, these perspectives became foundations of foreign policy. In South Asia, American officials envisioned an independent Pakistan blocking Soviet influence, an objective that outweighed other considerations in the contested Kashmir region. Shoring up Pakistan meshed perfectly with British hopes for a quiescent Indian subcontinent once partition became inevitable. But serious differences with Britain arose over America’s support for the new state of Israel. Viewing the Mediterranean as a European lake of sorts, U.S. officials—even in parts of the State Department—linked Palestine with Europe, deeming it a perfectly logical destination for Jewish refugees. But British strategists feared that the installation of a Jewish state in Palestine could incite Muslim ire from one corner of the Islamic world to the other.

As Husain makes clear, these perspectives also influenced the Dumbarton Oaks Conference and blueprints for the UN Security Council and shaped French and Dutch colonial fortunes in the Levant and the East Indies.

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The Memoirs of Ambassador Henry F. Grady
From the Great War to the Cold War
Edited & Intro by John T. McNay
University of Missouri Press, 2009

When Henry Grady died in 1957, one obituary called him “America’s top diplomatic soldier” for a critical period of the Cold War, and over a long career he was deeply involved in events that changed our role in the world. Even so, this self-described “soft” cold warrior has been largely overlooked by historians. His memoirs, left to languish with his other papers, are now published for the first time, offering new insight into the origins and implementation of American trade and development policies—and into the tumult that was the Cold War.

A specialist in international economic policy, Grady helped create the system of reciprocal trade established under FDR during the depression. Progressing in his career through his abilities rather than through political connections, he was sent to India during World War II to spark its production for the war effort, then to Italy to help jump-start its economy once German forces were driven out. After the war, he was the first American ambassador to an independent India, then served as ambassador to Greece and Iran—where he was embroiled in the oil industry crisis that eventually led to the CIA’s overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

Grady’s memoirs are an intriguing and informative account of early Cold War diplomacy in significant and turbulent regions of the Third World, embellished by his thoughts about the changing nature of American economic policies and his role as a representative of that system abroad. It offers new perspectives on the crisis in Iran in the early 1950s, where Grady was especially critical of Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s support for the remnants of British imperialism in Iran—and paid for his criticism with his job. Editor John McNay’s introduction and comments shed light on Grady’s thinking and his role in the policy-making process.

More than a chronicle of a wide-ranging career—one that reflects the emergence of the United States as the world’s leading economic power—Grady’s memoirs are a trenchant critique of U.S. foreign policy in the first half of the twentieth century. They provide modern readers an opportunity to reconsider the conflict between realism and idealism in foreign relations during the Cold War years.

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The Memoirs of Harry S. Truman
A Reader's Edition
Edited by Raymond H. Geselbracht
University of Missouri Press, 2019
This new “Reader’s Edition” of Harry Truman’s memoirs removes the overload of detail and reproduced historical documents, reduces the bloated cast of characters, clarifies the often confusing balance between chronological and thematic presentation, and corrects some important problems of presentation that made the two volumes of Truman’s memoirs, published in 1955 and 1956, difficult to read and enjoy.  This new edition, reduced to half the length of the original text, offers a new generation of readers the thrill of hearing the unique and authentic voice of Harry S. Truman, probably the most important president of the last seventy-five years, telling the story of his life, his presidency, and some of the most important years in American history.
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Miracle of '48
Harry Truman's Major Campaign Speeches & Selected Whistle -Stops
Edited by Steve Neal. Foreword by Robert V. Remini
Southern Illinois University Press, 2003

Miracle of ’48: Harry Truman’s Major Campaign Speeches and Selected Whistle-stopsis the first published collection of the public addresses Harry Truman made as he crisscrossed the United States from New York City to Los Angeles to Independence, Missouri in 1948. Edited by veteran political journalist Steve Neal, and complemented by a foreword from presidential historian Robert V. Remini, this volume captures the infectious spirit and determination of Truman’s message to the American people.

In an era when policy issues were paramount and televised debates were a thing of the future, Truman boldly stated his case directly to the American people, and they responded. “Senator Barkley and I will win this election and make these Republicans like it,” he declared in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “Don’t you forget that. We will do that because they are wrong and we are right.”

From the start of his “non-political” western tour in Crestline, Ohio, through his victory celebration in his hometown of Independence, the plainspoken Truman waged the good fight against all odds, never mixing his words or apologizing for his aggressively honest tactics. In blaming the GOP for a decline in farm prices, he alleged that the 80th Congress had “stuck a pitchfork in the farmer’s backs.” Truman is now regarded as among our greatest presidents and the populist message of his ’48 campaign is still as compelling and relevant today as it was over half a century ago.

“The political history of the United States reveals many unusual developments,” General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote Truman after the 1948 election, “but certainly at no point does it record a greater accomplishment than yours, that can be traced so clearly to the stark courage and fighting heart of one man.”

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The Politics of Fear
Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate
Robert W. Griffith
University of Massachusetts Press, 1987
Describes the career of Senator McCarthy and explains how he was able to gain so much influence over the U.S. Senate.
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Truman and Korea
The Political Culture of the Early Cold War
Paul G. Pierpaoli, Jr.
University of Missouri Press, 1999

Detailing for the first time the story of America's homefront during the Korean War, Truman and Korea fills an important gap in the historical scholarship of the postwar era. Paul Pierpaoli analyzes the political, economic, social, and international ramifications of America's first war of Soviet containment, never losing sight of the larger context of the cold war. He focuses on how and why the Truman administration undertook a bloody, inconclusive war on the Korean peninsula while permanently placing the nation on a war footing.

Truman and Korea illuminates the importance of the Korean conflict as a critical turning point in the cold war by examining both the immediate and the long-term domestic and foreign policy effects of the conflict. Pierpaoli addresses such important topics as presidential war powers and debates concerning the Defense Production Act; the inner workings of the many war mobilization agencies; the operations and politics of nationwide price and wage controls; questions concerning cold war tax policies and fiscal and monetary policies; and the evolution of national security policy.

Pierpaoli shows that President Truman's decision to intervene in the Korean War quickly became subsumed by larger cold war concerns. By the autumn of 1950 the Korean mobilization program had become the nation's de facto cold war preparedness program, which would come to span nearly forty years and eight presidential administrations. After 1950 the cold war not only continued to significantly shape political and ideological discourse in the United States but also began to reshape aggregate economic policy. By doing so, it altered the nation's industrial and economic contours, giving birth to the concept of an institutionalized "national security state," which in turn spawned the cold war military-industrial-scientific complex.

Based upon extensive research in the papers and official presidential files of Harry S. Truman, as well as many manuscript collections and records of wartime and government agencies, Truman and Korea offers a new perspective on the Korean War era and its inextricable ties to broader cold war decision making.

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Truman, Franco's Spain, and the Cold War
Wayne H Bowen
University of Missouri Press, 2017
Well-deployed primary sources and brisk writing by Wayne H. Bowen make this an excellent framework for understanding the evolution of U.S. policy toward Spain, and thus how a nation facing a global threat develops strategic relationships over time.

President Harry S. Truman harbored an abiding disdain for Spain and its government. During his presidency (1945–1953), the State Department and the Department of Defense lobbied Truman to form an alliance with Spain to leverage that nation’s geostrategic position, despite Francisco Franco’s authoritarian dictatorship. The eventual alliance between the two countries came only after years of argument for such a shift by nearly the entire U.S. diplomatic and military establishment. This delay increased the financial cost of the 1953 defense agreements with Spain, undermined U.S. planning for the defense of Europe, and caused dysfunction over foreign policy at the height of the Cold War.
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Truman in the White House
The Diary of Eben A. Ayers
Edited & Commentaries by Robert H. Ferrell
University of Missouri Press, 1991

As assistant press secretary to President Harry S. Truman, Eben A. Ayers brought with him twenty-six years of experience as a newspaperman.  He knew when he had a good story and knew how to record it.  His private diary, which he kept unbeknownst to his associates, tells the inside story of the Truman White House clearly, colorfully, and with an acute sense of history.

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The Truman Scandals and the Politics of Morality
Andrew J. Dunar
University of Missouri Press, 1997

The Truman Scandals and the Politics of Morality is a thoroughly researched effort offering an excellent historical narrative of the scandals and accusations of scandal that bedeviled Harry Truman throughout his political career. The book is particularly significant in light of the connections the author establishes between Truman's early political experiences and his subsequent difficulties as president.

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Tumultuous Years
The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
Robert J. Donovan
University of Missouri Press, 1996
“In January of 1949 the aftershocks of the Second World War were still jarring large parts of the globe, although they had greatly diminished in the United States. In Asia, however, turbulence continued to rise as a result of the collapse of Japan, the tottering of the European empires after the war, and the combustion produced by nationalism mixed with communism. Because a segment of American opinion, generally represented in the more conservative wing of the Republican party, was very sensitive to events in Asia, the tremors in the Far East came as harbingers of disturbing political conflict in the United States.”
Robert J. Donovan’s Tumultuous Years presents a detailed account of Harry S. Truman’s presidency from 1949-1953.
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UNITED STATES EUROPEAN RIGHT
1945-1955
DEBORAH KISATSKY
The Ohio State University Press, 2005

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Whatever Happened to Party Government?
Controversies in American Political Science
Mark Wickham-Jones
University of Michigan Press, 2018

In 1950, the Committee on Political Parties of the American Political Science Association (APSA) published its much-anticipated report, Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System. Highly critical of the existing state of affairs, the report became extremely controversial: before publication, scholars attacked the committee’s draft and suggested it should be suppressed. When released it received a barrage of criticisms. Most academics concluded it was an ill-conceived and mistaken initiative.

Mark Wickham-Jones provides the first full, archival-based assessment of the arguments within APSA about political parties and the 1950 report. He details the report’s failure to generate wider discussion between media, politicians, and the White House. He examines whether it was dominated by a dogmatic attachment to “party government,” and charts the relationship between behavioralists and institutionalists. He also discusses the political dimension to research during the McCarthyite years, and reflects on the nature of American political science in the years after 1945, the period in which behavioralism (which privileges the influence of individuals over institutions) became dominant.

Detailing APSA’s most direct and significant intervention in the political process, Wickham-Jones makes an important contribution to debates that remain in the forefront of discussions about American politics.

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Whistle Stop
How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman
Philip White
University Press of New England, 2015
President Harry Truman was a disappointment to the Democrats, and a godsend to the Republicans. Every attempt to paint Truman with the grace, charm, and grandeur of Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been a dismal failure: Truman’s virtues were simpler, plainer, more direct. The challenges he faced—stirrings of civil rights and southern resentment at home, and communist aggression and brinkmanship abroad—could not have been more critical. By the summer of 1948 the prospects of a second term for Truman looked bleak. Newspapers and popular opinion nationwide had all but anointed as president Thomas Dewey, the Republican New York Governor. Truman could not even be certain of his own party’s nomination: the Democrats, still in mourning for FDR, were deeply riven, with Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond leading breakaway Progressive and Dixiecrat factions. Finally, with ingenuity born of desperation, Truman’s aides hit upon a plan: get the president in front of as many regular voters as possible, preferably in intimate settings, all across the country. To the surprise of everyone but Harry Truman, it worked. Whistle Stop is the first book of its kind: a micro-history of the summer and fall of 1948 when Truman took to the rails, crisscrossing the country from June right up to Election Day in November. The tour and the campaign culminated with the iconic image of a grinning, victorious Truman holding aloft the famous Chicago Tribune headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”
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Who Killed George Polk?
The Press Covers Up a Death in the Family
Elias Vlanton
Temple University Press, 1996

Just weeks after CBS correspondent George Polk was murdered in Greece in 1948, his peers created the "George Polk Award" to honor the best in American journalism. Polk would have been bitterly disappointed, however, had he known that the "best in American journalism" accepted, largely without protest, an investigation into his death in which evidence was not only ignored but manufactured to convict innocent men—an investigation in which politics played a bigger role than the truth.

Reconstructing the murder, investigation, trial, and aftermath, Who Killed George Polk? offers a penetrating analysis of the willingness of the American media—including CBS and a committee of prominent journalists headed by Walter Lippmann—to accept the government's version of events despite numerous inconsistencies. The book also explores the fate of the handful of journalists who had questioned the original coverup and shows that even when additional developments turned the official version on its head, they were no longer in a position to press for a new investigation. All had become victims of anticommunist witchhunts.

Arguing that this mainstream media and the U.S. government were so blinded by cold war political considerations that they overlooked the most obvious culprits for the Polk murder, Elias Vlanton proves that Polk was likely killed neither by the communists, as originally charged, nor by corrupt Greek government officials, as claimed by a recent book and in a CBS "Sixty Minutes" broadcast. Instead, based on evidence uncovered during Vlanton's 19-year investigation, the author presents the only plausible scenario of how and why Polk was murdered.

At its core, this perceptive interrogation explores how the press served U.S. national interests at the expense of the truth and journalistic integrity.

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