Zitate von Harry S. Truman

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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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„At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one. One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms. I believe 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. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. Speech to a joint session of the US Congress (12 March 1947), outlining what became known as The Truman Doctrine

„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.

„We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city.“

—  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.

„If wars in the future are to be prevented the nations must be united in their determination to keep the peace under law.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: If wars in the future are to be prevented the nations must be united in their determination to keep the peace under law. Nothing is more essential to the future peace of the world than continued cooperation of the nations which had to muster the force necessary to defeat the conspiracy of the Axis powers to dominate the world. While these great states have a special responsibility to enforce the peace, their responsibility is based upon the obligations resting upon all states, large and small, not to use force in international relations except in the defense of law. The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world.

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„I believe 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.
I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one. One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms. I believe 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. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. Speech to a joint session of the US Congress (12 March 1947), outlining what became known as The Truman Doctrine

„The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.

„Our victory in Europe was more than a victory of arms.
It was a victory of one way of life over another. It was a victory of an ideal founded on the rights of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, on the conception of the State as the servant — and not the master — of its people.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Our victory in Europe was more than a victory of arms. It was a victory of one way of life over another. It was a victory of an ideal founded on the rights of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, on the conception of the State as the servant — and not the master — of its people. A free people showed that it was able to defeat professional soldiers whose only moral arms were obedience and the worship of force. We tell ourselves that we have emerged from this war the most powerful nation in the world — the most powerful nation, perhaps, in all history. That is true, but not in the sense some of us believe it to be true. The war has shown us that we have tremendous resources to make all the materials for war. It has shown us that we have skillful workers and managers and able generals, and a brave people capable of bearing arms. All these things we knew before. The new thing — the thing which we had not known — the thing we have learned now and should never forget, is this: that a society of self-governing men is more powerful, more enduring, more creative than any other kind of society, however disciplined, however centralized.

„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.

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„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.“

—  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.

„We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we shall pay the price of war.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: The recommendations I have made represent the most urgent steps toward securing the peace and preventing war. We must be ready to take every wise and necessary step to carry out this great purpose. This will require assistance to other nations. It will require an adequate and balanced military strength. We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we shall pay the price of war. We in the United States remain determined to seek peace by every possible means, a just and honorable basis for the settlement of international issues.

„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

„Any man who sees Europe now must realize that victory in a great war is not something you win once and for all, like victory in a ball game. Victory in a great war is something that must be won and kept won.“

—  Harry Truman
Context: Any man who sees Europe now must realize that victory in a great war is not something you win once and for all, like victory in a ball game. Victory in a great war is something that must be won and kept won. It can be lost after you have won it — if you are careless or negligent or indifferent. Europe today is hungry. I am not talking about Germans. I am talking about the people of the countries which were overrun and devastated by the Germans, and particularly about the people of Western Europe. Many of them lack clothes and fuel and tools and shelter and raw materials. They lack the means to restore their cities and their factories. As the winter comes on, the distress will increase. Unless we do what we can to help, we may lose next winter what we won at such terrible cost last spring. Desperate men are liable to destroy the structure of their society to find in the wreckage some substitute for hope. If we let Europe go cold and hungry, we may lose some of the foundations of order on which the hope for worldwide peace must rest. We must help to the limits of our strength. And we will.

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