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Harry S. Truman

Geburtstag: 8. Mai 1884
Todesdatum: 26. Dezember 1972
Andere Namen:Harry Spencer Truman

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Harry S. Truman war ein US-amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei und von 1945 bis 1953 der 33. Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten. Zuvor war er 1945 kurzzeitig Vizepräsident und vertrat zwischen 1935 und 1945 den Bundesstaat Missouri im US-Senat.

Truman stammte aus sehr einfachen Verhältnissen und trat erst relativ spät in die aktive Politik ein. Zunächst als Farmer tätig, nahm er 1918/19 freiwillig am Ersten Weltkrieg teil. Nach dem Scheitern seiner geschäftlichen Aktivitäten als Mitinhaber eines Herrenausstatters Anfang der 1920er ging der Demokrat Truman auf Betreiben des lokalen Parteiführers Tom Pendergast in die regionale Politik, wo er ab 1927 Leiter der County-Verwaltung war. Auf Pendergasts Betreiben gelang ihm 1934 der Sprung in den US-Senat, dem er nach einer Wiederwahl 1940 noch bis Anfang 1945 angehörte. Durch den Vorsitz des Ausschusses für die Rüstungsproduktion während des Zweiten Weltkrieges wurde er überregional bekannt, was ihm den Weg zur demokratischen Vizepräsidentschaftskandidatur bei der Wahl 1944 an der Seite Franklin D. Roosevelts ebnete. Allerdings amtierte er nur zwischen Januar und April 1945 als Vizepräsident; nach dem Tod Roosevelts musste er selbst die Präsidentschaft übernehmen.

Während das Deutsche Reich wenige Wochen nach seinem Amtsantritt kapitulierte, wurde der Pazifikkrieg erst nach den bis heute umstrittenen Atombombenabwürfen auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki beendet. Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges nahmen schon bald die politischen Spannungen mit der Sowjetunion zu, was zu einer Teilung Europas führte und den Kalten Krieg begründete. Truman begegnete dieser neuen Weltlage mit der Truman-Doktrin von 1947, die eine „Eindämmung“ des Kommunismus forderte . Ab 1948 leisteten die USA mit dem Marshallplan umfassende ökonomische Hilfen für weite Teile Europas. Währenddessen wurde die Weiterentwicklung der Nuklearwaffen vorangetrieben.

Obwohl im Vorfeld der Präsidentschaftswahl 1948 mit Trumans Niederlage gerechnet wurde, konnte er sich überraschend gegen seinen republikanischen Widersacher Thomas E. Dewey durchsetzen. Nach seiner Wiederwahl nahmen die politischen Verwerfungen mit dem Ostblock zu. Der Koreakrieg wurde der erste Stellvertreterkrieg im Ost-West-Konflikt. Nach der unter US-Führung erfolgten Intervention mit UN-Mandat gelang es nicht, den verlustreichen Krieg noch während Trumans Amtszeit zu beenden. Innenpolitisch trat Truman mit seinem Fair Deal für eine Fortsetzung des New Deals und eine progressive Politik ein. Seine Vorhaben, die unter anderem eine Ausweitung des Sozialstaates vorsahen, wurden aber wegen des Widerstands von konservativen Kräften im Kongress nur bedingt umgesetzt. Wegweisend war jedoch sein Eintreten für die Rechte von Afroamerikanern, indem er 1948 mit dem Abbau der Rassentrennung in den Streitkräften begann. Für die Wahl 1952 verzichtete Truman auf eine weitere Kandidatur und schied im Januar 1953 aus dem Präsidentenamt aus. Danach zog er sich bis zu seinem Tod 1972 ins Privatleben zurück.

Obwohl Truman während seiner Präsidentschaft als äußerst unpopulär galt, gehört er im 21. Jahrhundert bei Umfragen unter Amerikanern zu den beliebtesten US-Präsidenten. Auch die meisten Historiker bewerten seine Amtszeit heute überwiegend sehr positiv.

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Zitate Harry S. Truman

„It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit“

—  Harry Truman
This is attributed to Truman in some sources, but a similar saying is recorded as early as 1909 https://books.google.com/books?id=bidJAAAAIAAJ&dq=how%20much%20%22care%20who%20gets%20the%20credit%22&pg=PA26#v=onepage&q=how%20much%20%22care%20who%20gets%20the%20credit%22&f=false.

„It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.

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„I've been in politics thirty-five years and everything that could be said about a human being has been said about me. But my wife has never been in politics. She has always conducted herself in a circumspect manner and no one has a right to make derogatory remarks about here. Now your wife has said many unkind and untrue things about Mrs. Truman. And as long as I am in residence here, she'll not be a guest in the White House.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Mr. Luce, you've asked a fair question and I'll give you a fair answer. I've been in politics thirty-five years and everything that could be said about a human being has been said about me. But my wife has never been in politics. She has always conducted herself in a circumspect manner and no one has a right to make derogatory remarks about here. Now your wife has said many unkind and untrue things about Mrs. Truman. And as long as I am in residence here, she'll not be a guest in the White House. Letter to Henry Luce (1945); as quoted in Good Old Harry

„It is not enough to yearn for peace. We must work, and if necessary, fight for it. The task of creating a sound international organization is complicated and difficult. Yet, without such organization, the rights of man on earth cannot be protected.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: It is not enough to yearn for peace. We must work, and if necessary, fight for it. The task of creating a sound international organization is complicated and difficult. Yet, without such organization, the rights of man on earth cannot be protected. Machinery for the just settlement of international differences must be found. Without such machinery, the entire world will have to remain an armed camp. The world will be doomed to deadly conflict, devoid of hope for real peace.

„We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. F.B.I. is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandles [sic] and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals. They also have a habit of sneering at local law enforcement officers.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. F. B. I. is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandles [sic] and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals. They also have a habit of sneering at local law enforcement officers. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, May 12, 1945. https://trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/trumanpapers/psf/longhand/index.php?documentVersion=both&documentid=hst-psf_naid735219-01&pagenumber=2

„It reflects a reversion to the old idea that the tree can be fertilized at the top instead of at the bottom — the old trickle-down theory.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: On tight money: It reflects a reversion to the old idea that the tree can be fertilized at the top instead of at the bottom — the old trickle-down theory. Harry Truman at the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Convention, Atlantic City (May 13, 1954), Good Old Harry

„We won the race of discovery against the Germans.
Having found the bomb we have used it.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb. Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government. But we knew that our enemies were on the search for it. We know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this Nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first. That is why we felt compelled to undertake the long and uncertain and costly labor of discovery and production. We won the race of discovery against the Germans. Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.

„If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war. It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

„We know now that the basic proposition of the worth and dignity of man is not a sentimental aspiration or a vain hope or a piece of rhetoric. It is the strongest, most creative force now present in this world.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: We know now that the basic proposition of the worth and dignity of man is not a sentimental aspiration or a vain hope or a piece of rhetoric. It is the strongest, most creative force now present in this world. Now let us use that force and all our resources and all our skills in the great cause of a just and lasting peace! The Three Great Powers are now more closely than ever bound together in determination to achieve that kind of peace. From Teheran, and the Crimea, from San Francisco and Berlin — we shall continue to march together to a lasting peace and a happy world!

„I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb. Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb. Its production and its use were not lightly undertaken by this Government. But we knew that our enemies were on the search for it. We know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this Nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first. That is why we felt compelled to undertake the long and uncertain and costly labor of discovery and production. We won the race of discovery against the Germans. Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us.

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„Today, America has become one of the most powerful forces for good on earth. We must keep it so.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Today, America has become one of the most powerful forces for good on earth. We must keep it so. We have achieved a world leadership which does not depend solely upon our military and naval might. We have learned to fight with other nations in common defense of our freedom. We must now learn to live with other nations for our mutual good. We must learn to trade more with other nations so that there may be — for our mutual advantage — increased production, increased employment and better standards of living throughout the world. May we Americans all live up to our glorious heritage. In that way, America may well lead the world to peace and prosperity.

„If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible“

—  Harry Truman
Context: If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word. As quoted in The New York Times (24 June 1941); also in TIME magazine (2 July 1951) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,815031,00.html)

„They are trying to make an elder statesmen of me, but they will never succeed.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Student: Some people suggest that you are getting mellowed and less militant. Is that so? Truman: Not in the slightest degree. They are trying to make an elder statesmen of me, but they will never succeed. Mr. Citizen, Harry Truman (1960)

„Of course, there are dangers in religious freedom and freedom of opinion. But to deny these rights is worse than dangerous, it is absolutely fatal to liberty.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Of course, there are dangers in religious freedom and freedom of opinion. But to deny these rights is worse than dangerous, it is absolutely fatal to liberty. The external threat to liberty should not drive us into suppressing liberty at home. Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination. All freedom-loving nations, not the United States alone, are facing a stern challenge from the Communist tyranny. In the circumstances, alarm is justified. The man who isn't alarmed simply doesn't understand the situation — or he is crazy. But alarm is one thing, and hysteria is another. Hysteria impels people to destroy the very thing they are struggling to preserve. Invasion and conquest by Communist armies would be a horror beyond our capacity to imagine. But invasion and conquest by Communist ideas of right and wrong would be just as bad. For us to embrace the methods and morals of communism in order to defeat Communist aggression would be a moral disaster worse than any physical catastrophe. If that should come to pass, then the Constitution and the Declaration would be utterly dead and what we are doing today would be the gloomiest burial in the history of the world. Address at the National Archives dedicating a shrine for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (15 December 1952) https://trumanlibrary.org/calendar/viewpapers.php?pid=2102

„Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Of course, there are dangers in religious freedom and freedom of opinion. But to deny these rights is worse than dangerous, it is absolutely fatal to liberty. The external threat to liberty should not drive us into suppressing liberty at home. Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination. All freedom-loving nations, not the United States alone, are facing a stern challenge from the Communist tyranny. In the circumstances, alarm is justified. The man who isn't alarmed simply doesn't understand the situation — or he is crazy. But alarm is one thing, and hysteria is another. Hysteria impels people to destroy the very thing they are struggling to preserve. Invasion and conquest by Communist armies would be a horror beyond our capacity to imagine. But invasion and conquest by Communist ideas of right and wrong would be just as bad. For us to embrace the methods and morals of communism in order to defeat Communist aggression would be a moral disaster worse than any physical catastrophe. If that should come to pass, then the Constitution and the Declaration would be utterly dead and what we are doing today would be the gloomiest burial in the history of the world. Address at the National Archives dedicating a shrine for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (15 December 1952) https://trumanlibrary.org/calendar/viewpapers.php?pid=2102

„The atomic bomb is too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: The atomic bomb is too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world. That is why Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, who have the secret of its production, do not intend to reveal that secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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