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Harry Truman at U.N. Groundbreaking

Harry Truman at U.N. Groundbreaking



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On October 24, 1949, the cornerstone of the permanent United Nations headquarters was laid in New York City. President Harry Truman delivers a speech emphasizing the need to make the common good a top priority.


In the midst of a Greek Civil War which pitted free Greek forces against a Communist insurgency, President Harry Truman addressed Congress on March 12, 1947, to define an historic policy to contain and control the spread of Soviet communism. The policy would soon become known worldwide as the Truman Doctrine, and pledged that the United States would “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Truman's new doctrine was a groundbreaking departure from a century and half of American isolationism. Ultimately, the Truman Doctrine would signal the beginning of a new American role that would ultimately guarantee the freedom of Western Europe, and witness the rise of the "American Century", a historical period of American strength that would result in the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. [1]

Though initially considered "timid", and known to many even in his own party as the ‘Missouri Compromise,’ Democrats and nations worldwide would soon learn "there was steel in the man from the Midwest." Scarborough heaps lavish praise on the Truman Doctrine as “a profound transformation of America’s conception of itself and its role in the world” and as a policy that would make Harry Truman “the greatest foreign policy president of the postwar era.” Despite its eventual success, initial opposition to the plan was strong from traditionally isolationist Republicans on the right, and liberal Democrats on the left, who were critical of a plan that would send aid to Greece, a country headed by a President many viewed as autocratic. [2]

The novel chronicles and approves of Truman's controversial but bold decisions to pursue the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended WWII. Scarborough praised Truman's success in forcing the Soviets to eventually withdraw their support for Communist insurgencies in both Turkey and Greece when Great Britain could no longer afford to provide financial assistance to support the military efforts of the two nations. Scarborough's chapter, Eleven Minutes, details Truman's support of Israel in an era when anti-Semitism was still present and a Jewish state was a questionable prospect. Demonstrating strong leadership, despite considerable opposition from Congress and the State department headed by George Marshall, Truman made the strong move to become one of the first countries to support the new state of Israel in May 1948. [3]

Equally important was Truman's decision to defend South Korea from the Communist aggression of the North, a move consistent with the intent of the Truman Doctrine. [4] In a bold move in 1948, he submitted the first comprehensive legislation on civil rights, issuing Executive Order 9981 to start racial integration in the military and federal agencies. [5]

The book review website Book Marks impressively offers four positive and one rave accounting of Scarborough's book. I personally expected a historical narrative of a nearly forgotten president's foreign policy to be somewhat dull, but found it to be easy and riveting reading containing fresh, timely, and invigorating insights. [5]

Washington Post Edit

A. J. Baime of the Washington Post gives special credit to Scarborough for being one of the first historians to reveal the underlying constructs of the Truman Doctrine, how it was made to be successful on the bloody battlefields of Greece's civil war and how it became "the backbone of America’s ideological fight against the Soviets for fifty years." One remarkable and timely side story is how, in the highly partisan era of the emerging Cold War, Democrats and Republicans, by approving the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), worked in unison, presented a united front to the rest of the world, and illustrated how American political divisions end at the nation's borders. Unhampered by the contentious political divides of today's political climate, Baime's review noted that Americans and Congress demonstrated under Truman that loyalty to country could precede loyalty to party or personal agendas. [2]

New York Times Book Review Edit

John Gans of the New York Times Book Review gave a positive review and noted that Scarborough, as a former congressman himself, recognized the great success Truman had as a politician in achieving the “greatest selling job” of any president. As Scarborough noted, Truman persuaded a skeptical and untrusting Republican Congress and millions of exhausted, cautious and wary Americans to support not just foreign aid, but the Marshall Plan and NATO alliance which respectively funded the rebuilding of Western Europe after the catastrophic damage of WWII, and helped to confine the territorial ambitions of Russia. [5]


Harry S. Truman and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

Harry S. Truman explicitly tried to tie Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence to the events and crusades of his own day. He saw the Declaration of Independence as an international document, belonging to all peoples yearning for freedom.

When the first copy of the first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Julian P. Boyd, it was given to President Harry S. Truman, who received it gratefully.[1] Indeed, for better or worse, Truman referenced Jefferson frequently, and he seemed to believe he held a special relationship with the third president. “Throughout his life Jefferson waged an uncompromising fight against tyranny,” Truman said, accepting the first copy. “The search for human liberty was a goal which he pursued with burning zeal. The spirit of democracy shines through everything he ever wrote.”[2] Yet, Truman continued, the world had changed dramatically since the day of Jefferson, and his words, once meant for the citizens of the United States, must now extend to the citizens of the world. “Our stage is larger—our struggle must be waged over the whole world, not merely in our own country.”[3] The new Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Truman hoped, would encourage new generations of women and men to find “hope and faith” in the workings of liberty and democracy. Such had defeated the National Socialists, but the International Socialists—the Soviet Union—remained. “At a time when democracy is meeting the greatest challenge in its history, we need to turn to the sources of our own democratic faith for new inspiration and new strength.”[4]

While some contemporaries thought that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—and its founding documents—best reflected an international version of the Declaration of Independence, Truman and his allies saw the greatest reflection in the United Nations and especially in its Declaration of Human Rights.[5] “After two and a half years of labor and bitter ideological disputes, the Social Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted a document which is unique in man’s age-old struggle for liberty and human dignity. This document, which must still be approved by the Assembly itself, is a Declaration of Human Rights which not only embraces but goes beyond all previous declarations of that kind, including Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, the Rights of Man, and the Bill of Rights—all indispensable parts of every modern Constitution.”[6] America, its proponents claimed, had created an American Idea or an American Credo through the Declaration of Independence. It, taken together with the letters and arguments of early American statesmen and women, had created what could only be known as a “Bible of America,” Horace M. Kallen of the New School of Social Research argued in 1953.[7]

The American Idea, in sum, is the idea of equal liberty for all persons everywhere to move, to inquire, to think, to believe, to speak, to write, to read, to listen, to labor, to venture, by themselves alone or with companions, at their own risk, under the equal protection of the laws. The American who believes in the American Idea pledges his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to its support, at home and abroad. The pledge establishes him a free citizen of an open society.[8]

Naturally, such high-minded ideals would attract the corrupt to fight against it, seeing in it the death-knell of its own beliefs. The Loyalists in the American Revolution and the Confederates in the American Civil War had revealed themselves as diabolic forces against the progress of humankind. They are succeeded, one scholar claimed, by the National Socialists and the Communists. “Today this Totalitarianism, now incarnate in communazi Soviet Russia, has forced a cold war upon them and is threatening a third and hot world war. It is of record that totalitarianisms have always had their advocates and conspirators among the peoples of America, from the tories and royalists of the Revolution to the totalitarians of our own day. All invoke the American principle of equal liberty for the different as warrant for activities which ultimately would abolish the principle and subvert the liberty.”[9]

Of all American Cold Warriors, though, Truman most explicitly tried to tie Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence to the events and crusades of his own day. For Truman, 1776 began all of the revolutionary events of the modern world, beginning first with inspiring the French Revolution and then all of the revolutions of Latin America. Today, “these ideas have stirred the peoples of the Middle East and Asia to create free governments, dedicated to the welfare of the people. The ideas of the American Revolution are still on the march.”[10] Given its own history and the revolutions it inspired, the Declaration of Independence must now be seen—at least in the twentieth century—as an international document, belonging to all peoples yearning for freedom. Such a guarantee cannot be made without an international organization to enforce it. That, of course, would be the job of the United Nations.

There is another way in which our situation today is much like that of the Americans of 1776. Now, once more, we are engaged in launching a new idea—one that has been talked about for centuries, but never successfully put into effect. In those earlier days, we were launching a new kind of national government. This time we are creating a new kind of international organization. We have joined in setting up the United Nations to prevent war and to safeguard peace and freedom. We believe in the United Nations. We believe it is based on the right ideas, as our own country is. We believe it can grow to be strong and accomplish its high purposes.[11]

Just as the Declaration of Independence had to be defended in violent struggle, so the Declaration of Human Rights would have to experience the same. The American people, Truman thought, would never acquiesce in the struggle for such freedom. “We have taken our stand beside other free men, because we have known for 175 years that free men must stand together. We have joined in the defense of freedom without hesitation and without fear, because we have known for 175 years that freedom must be defended.”[12]

The greatest test case of the new Declaration of Human Rights, the longevity of the United Nations, and American resolve for freedom around the world was, of course, the military conflict and police action in Korea.

Men of the armed forces in Korea, you will go down in history as the first army to fight under the flag of a world organization in the defense of human freedom. You have fought well and without reproach. You have enslaved no free man, you have destroyed no free nation, you are guiltless of any country’s blood. Victory may be in your hands, but you are winning a greater thing than military victory, for you are vindicating the ideas of freedom under international law. This is an achievement that serves all mankind, for it has brought all men closer to their goal of peace. It is an achievement that may well prove to be a turning point in world history.[13]

Truly, Truman believed, America must resolve to be the defender of the United Nations itself, the true defender of the Declaration of Independence.

Again, it should be noted, Truman had made similar points throughout his presidency. Before the struggles of the Korean peninsula became a tragic and hot reality for America, in 1947, Truman had already tied the fortunes of Jefferson and the Declaration to the United Nations. In his Jefferson Day speech of that year, he said the United States must be willing to support the United Nations, citing the case of the Monroe Doctrine and Jefferson’s support of it as evidence that he would support the UN. “We, like Jefferson, have witnessed atrocious violations of the rights of nations. We, too, have regarded them as occasions not to be slighted. We, too, have declared our protest. We must make that protest effective by aiding those peoples whose freedoms are endangered by foreign pressures.”[14]

To be sure, Truman’s co-opting of Jefferson did not go unchallenged. Washington, in his Farewell Address, and Jefferson, in his First Inaugural, had openly and unreservedly called for a policy of American republicanism to prevent the entanglement of alliances with powers that felt no virtue or right. Washington had famously stressed an openness in commercial policy, but a reservedness (to the extreme) in foreign entanglements. Not surprisingly, Truman’s most vocal critics came from the anti-war Right. William Henry Chamberlin of The Wall Street Journal wondered aloud what Jefferson might think, had he actually attended any of Truman’s talks. What happened, Chamberlain wondered, to Jefferson’s cautions against government overreach, at home and abroad?[15] “So the foundations of the American [Jeffersonian] idea may be summarized as follows: belief in intense distrust of any concentration of power in government, firm rejection of tyranny, whether of a monarch, a dictator or a mob, faith in equality and opportunity.”[16]

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[1] See Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson 1: 1760-1776 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Pres, 1950).

[2] Text of Truman’s Address on the Jefferson Papers,” New York Times (May 18, 1950): 26.

[5] See, for example, “Johnson Likens Atlantic Pact to 1776 Document,” New York Herald Tribune (July 5, 1949): 11 William S. White, “Now How Stands Atlantic Alliance?” The Atlanta Constitution (July 3, 1959): 4 and Eleanor Roosevelt, “U.N. is Trying to Improve on Declaration of Independence,” Boston Daily Globe (October 12, 1948): 17. See also, Ralph H. Gabriel, “The Cold War and Changes in American Thought,” Virginia Quarterly Review 35 (Winter 1959): 53-63 Ralph H. Lutz, “The History of the Concept of Freedom,” Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors 36 (Spring 1950): 18-32 and Bernard Wishy, “John Locke and the Spirit of ’76,” Political Science Quarterly 73 (September 1958): 413-425.

[6] “Charter of Human Rights,” New York Times (December 8, 1948): 30.

[7] Horace M. Kallen, “The American Idea, the Cold War, and the Teacher,” Pi Lambda Theta Journal 31 (Summer 1953): 96. See also F.S.C. Northrop, “What Kind of an American Civilization Do We Want?” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 325 (September 1959): 5.

[8] Horace M. Kallen, “The American Idea, the Cold War, and the Teacher,” Pi Lambda Theta Journal 31 (Summer 1953): 96.

[10] “Truman Stresses Principles of Declaration,” Christian Science Monitor (July 5, 1951): 1. Lest this seem too political, it must also be noted that Richard Nixon made almost identical arguments in the same decade. “For the first time in history we have shown independence of Anglo-French policies toward Asia and Africa which seemed to us to reflect colonial tradition…. That Declaration of Independence has had an electrifying effect throughout the world.” See “Nixon Calls U.S. Stand New ‘Declaration of Independence,’” Atlanta Daily World (November 4, 1956), pg. 1.

[11] “Truman Stresses Principles of Declaration,” Christian Science Monitor (July 5, 1951): 1.

[14] “The Text of President Truman’s Speech at Jefferson Day Dinner,” New York Times (April 6, 1947): 51.

[15] William Henry Chamberlain, “The Wandering Disciples,” Wall Street Journal (May 22, 1950): 6 and William Henry Chamberlain, “The American Idea,” Wall Street Journal (July 3, 1956): 8.

[16] William Henry Chamberlain, “The American Idea,” Wall Street Journal (July 3, 1956): 8. For another strong libertarian approach to Jefferson and the Declaration, see Clarence Manion, “The Founding Fathers and the Natural Law: A Study of the Source of Our Legal Institutions,” American Bar Association Journal 35 (June 1949): 461-464, 529-530.

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      A Fair Deal for Immigrants? The Truman Administration and Immigration Policy Reform

      This article offers a critique of President Harry Truman's contribution to twentieth-century immigration reform. It challenges the view that he presided over an era of groundbreaking and progressive changes in immigration policy, arguing instead that the liberal positions taken on key immigration and naturalisation matters by the Truman administration were mostly inherited from his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt. Moreover, by examining the important issues of anti-Asian and anti-Mexican discrimination, this study reveals the limitations of Truman's liberalism in the areas of immigration and naturalisation policy. Mirroring recent interpretations of his contribution to the African-American struggle for racial equality, this article concludes that Truman's immigration initiatives largely originated in either Cold War expediency or maneuvering for political advantage, rather than a heartfelt commitment to reform.

      Acknowledgements

      Numerous librarians have provided invaluable assistance in the preparation of this article, especially Zack Wilske and Charlaine Cook of the USCIS History Library, Washington, DC, and Randy Sowell and David Clark of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Independence, MO. One of my student workers at Truman State University, Emily Noonan, performed essential clerical tasks at the start of this project. I would like to thank my brother, Alexander C. McDonald, for his hospitality when I was conducting research in Washington, DC. For their comments and suggestions, I am grateful to my fellow participants at the HOTCUS Symposium on ‘Immigration, Identity and the Presidency,’ at the University of Sunderland, February 2011, and also to William ‘Mike’ Ashcraft, Marc Becker, Anton Daughters, Meg Edwards, and Wolfgang Hoeschele. Last but not least, I would like to thank my wife, Xiaofen Chen, for her assistance on numerous aspects of this project.


      Sam Rushay: Harry Truman maintained connection with Liberty Memorial

      World War I impacted Harry S. Truman in ways that endured long after he returned to the United States from the battlefields in France in 1919.

      During the war, Truman served as the captain of an artillery battery, which consisted of about 200 men. The friendships he made with many of these men helped formed the basis for his future political support and enriched his personal and civic life. He belonged to a number of organizations, such as the American Legion and the Liberty Memorial Association, which provided social ties and outlets in which he could express his patriotism and sense of duty.

      In their recent book, “Kansas City-Our Collective Memories, Volume I,” authors Bruce Mathews and Steve Noll point out that the Liberty Memorial Association was formed to raise money and to guide planning for a memorial, in Kansas City, to veterans who served in the Great War.

      On Nov. 1, 1921, Truman attended the groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication for Liberty Memorial, located just south of Union Station in downtown Kansas City. An associate of Truman’s, Arthur “Steamboat” Wahlstedt, later recalled Truman’s and his own service as “trench-workers” on various American Legion committees handling arrangements for the groundbreaking. Truman also was selected as the local veteran who presented flags to the Allied military commanders: General John J. Pershing of the United States, Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, General Armando Diaz of Italy, Lieutenant General Baron Jacques of Belgium, and Admiral Earl Beatty of Great Britain. Years later, as president, Harry Truman recalled the “privilege” of this honor.

      Truman did not attend the dedication of the almost completed Liberty Memorial on Nov. 11, 1926 he was in Hutchinson, Kansas, attending National Old Trails Association meetings. Nonetheless, his connection to the site continued years into the future. On Armistice Day in 1938, Sen. Truman spoke at the Liberty Memorial. There, he expressed the gratitude that he felt at the time of the signing of the armistice 20 years earlier, in 1918. It meant no more living in dugouts or dodging German mortars and machine gun bullets. He said that those who had participated in World War I 𠇊re the strongest advocates of world peace.”

      In February 1949, President Truman was �lighted” to learn he had been elected to membership on the board of trustees of the Liberty Memorial Association. In May 1949, “Steamboat” Wahlstedt invited the president to deliver the main speech at the dedication of a mural, which would be placed on the west wall of Memory Hall at Liberty Memorial the following year. The mural depicted the dedication of the site in 1921. Its painter, Daniel McMorris, even included Truman as one of the background figures, along with Wahlstedt and other Kansas City-area people. Truman was unable to attend the mural’s dedication.

      Truman’s image also appeared in a different mural at the Liberty Memorial: the Pantheon De La Guerre, a massive painting that McMorris acquired and cut into smaller pieces. In the American section of the painting, he added the faces of four people, including Truman, by painting over existing figures. Further information about this painting can be found at https://www.theworldwar.org/explore/exhibitions/online-exhibitions/rearranging-history.

      In 1961, former President Truman participated in the rededication of Liberty Memorial. Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, persuaded both Truman and Dwight Eisenhower to attend. Eisenhower, who succeeded Truman and had left office that January, took the occasion to visit the Harry S. Truman Library before attending the rededication ceremony on Nov. 10. The following day, Truman presided over the Veterans Day program, gave a speech and led a parade in an open tour car. The Truman Library recently obtained photos of Truman riding in the parade, which his chauffeur recalled began at about 9th Street and McGee.

      In 2014, President Obama signed legislation officially recognizing the Liberty Memorial site as the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

      Sam Rushay is the supervisory archivist of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence.


      Top 10 - What is Truman's most lasting legacy?

      If you stop someone in the street and ask what Truman did in his nearly eight years in office, what will you get beyond dropping the atomic bomb on Japan? We wondered.

      Bess Truman’s birthday on Feb. 13 kicks off what might be considered the Truman season, running through April 12, the anniversary of the day in 1945 when Harry Truman became president, and then May 8, Truman’s birthday. In the coming weeks, we should hear who will be coming to town in May as winners of this year’s Truman Public Service Award and Truman Good Neighbor Award.
       
      But if you stop someone in the street and ask what Truman did in his nearly eight years in office, what will you get beyond dropping the atomic bomb on Japan?
       
      We were curious, so we put together a list and compared notes with Cara Harker, who teaches history at Truman High School in Independence, and Susan Medler, director of communications at the Truman Library. What resulted was a reminder of what Truman fans already know: He faced a lot of enormous decisions almost from the minute he came into office. Even decades later it’s tricky to sort out which were more important than others.
       
      “Trying to name only 10 is a real challenge – a tribute to a productive leader!” Medler observes.
       
      10 Firing General MacArther
       
      Douglas MacArther was a widely hailed American hero, having led U.S. forces in the Pacific during World War II. But he and Truman clashed over the Korean War. Truman said years after leaving office that his toughest decision was in responding to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in June 1950. He ordered in American ground forces to spearhead a United Nations effort, but by mid-September, North Korea controlled all but the southeast corner of the Korean Peninsula. MacArthur devised a brilliant landing at Inchon on the west side of the peninsula, and by mid-November the U.N. forces had pushed the North Koreans back north of the 38th Parallel, the dividing line between the two Koreas. “The war is over,” MacArthur declared. China warned it would get into the war if U.N. forces kept pushing north, but MacArthur assured Truman that China wouldn’t do that, and U.N. forces pressed on. China entered the war with massive forces in late November, pushing the U.N. forces back. MacArthur also publicly disagreed with Truman’s war strategy. Truman fired MacArthur in April 1951, for insubordination, an enormously unpopular decision. After that, the fighting largely setttled into a stalemate – with far fewer casualties – near the 38th Parallel until a ceasefire was worked out in 1953.
       
      9 The Fair Deal.
       
      Truman’s domestic program, an attempt to build on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. After World War II ended in September 1945, Truman called for national health insurance, a minimum wage and equal rights for all Americans. Sound familiar? “Every segment of our population, and every individual,” Truman said, “has a right to expect from his government a fair deal.”
       
      8 Racial integration in the military.
       
      Truman ordered the racial integration of the armed forces and did so at a time – as the 1948 election loomed – when he faced Democratic challengers on the left and right. Civil rights was among the issues on which those challengers were pressing Truman. Roosevelt had, in essense, asked the nation’s black leaders to put civil rights on the backburner until World War II was over, and that delayed promise fell to Truman.
       
       
      7 The stunning re-election victory in 1948.

      Republican Thomas E. Dewey, the popular governor of New York, led Truman by a mile in the polls. The Democrats gathered for their convention in Philadelphia and nominated Truman, but there were defections on the left and the right. South Carolina’s governor, Strom Thurmond, was nominated by the Dixiecrats, a faction that broke away over racial integration. On the left, former Vice President Henry Wallace ran on the Progressive Party ticket.
       
      Truman ignored the common judgment that he was doomed, and he campaigned furiously, traveling the country by rail and speaking at “whistlestops” along the way. This was his “Give ‘em hell’’ campaign, during which he denounced the “Republican do-nothing 80th Congress.”
       
      It wasn’t even that close. Truman outpolled Dewey by more than 2 million votes and Truman carried 28 of the 48 states, winning the electoral vote 303 to Dewey’s 189 and Thurmond’s 39.
       
      6 He and Bess came home.

      “The most powerful man in the world came back to live amongst his old friends and neighbors in the house he had shared with his mother-in-law,” Medler notes. He also built his library in his hometown, something not every former president does. The Man from Independence came home to Independence.
       
      5 Creation of NATO.
       
      America’s wartime alliance with the Soviet Union faded quickly, and tensions were breaking into the open even before the war ended. The Soviets’ acquisition of the atomic bomb, the race to build the hydrogen bomb, broken promises of elections in Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe and the Berlin airlift all added to the confrontation. The U.S. signed the North Atlantic Treaty in April 1949, along with Canada and most of the nations of Western Europe. An attack on one would be considered an attack on all, a crucial development in what evolved into the Cold War.
       
      4 Recognition of the state of Israel.
       
      Israel declared its statehood in May 1948 and was immediately attacked by five Arab nations, including Egypt and Syria, the first of many wars Israel would fight over the next two decades. Truman did not hesitate to declare U.S. diplomatic recognition of Israel, despite recommendations not to by his top advisers. He said it was a matter of justice for the Jewish people. It’s also notable that Israel was for decades the only democracy in the Middle East. Truman’s decision looms large in history because of, as Harker puts it, “all the current issues in the Middle East and how we’re their only true ally.”
       
      3 The bomb.

      As American forces closed in on the Japanese homeland, casualties grew sharply. In the spring of 1945, 50,000 Americans were killed or wounded in Battle of Okinawa. Projected casualties for the invasion of Japan itself were many times that. The military successfully tested the atomic bomb that summer, and Truman ordered its use. One bomb was dropped Aug. 6 on Hiroshima, and a second was dropped Aug. 9 on Nagasaki. Five days later, Japan surrendered. Many take issue with Truman’s decision, arguing among other things that Japan was already on its knees. But this much is clear: Thousands of veterans still alive today are convinced that Harry Truman saved their lives by shortening the war.
       

      ق Korea and The Truman Doctrine
       
      In 1947, less than two years after the end of World War II, Truman outlined a policy calling for the containment of communism worldwide. That policy was put to the test repeatedly, as in the Berlin airlift in 1948-49, when the Soviet Union tried to cut off access to the American-, British- and French-controlled parts of the city. Truman ordered an airlift of food, medicine and other goods that lasted almost a year until the Soviets gave up. On a bigger scale, Truman said his toughest call was in responding to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in 1950, knowing the risk of a wider war involving China and Soviet Union. The Truman Doctrine lasted beyond Truman, as Harker points out, and “was the policy that got us into the Cuban Missile crisis,  Vietnam, Iran-Contra . pretty far-reaching.”
       
       
      1 The Marshall Plan.
       
      The program, begun in 1948, was named for Truman’s secretary of state, George C. Marshall. It meant massive aid to Western Europe to feed its people and get its economies back on their feet following the devastation of World War II. It worked, resulting in a prosperous Western Europe that’s been an American trading partner and been able to contribute to its own military defense. It also showed that America can reach out even to vanquished enemies and help them rebuild. “It was essential to the post-war world and has become a model for our aid to other nations,” Harker notes.
       


      11 Important Historical Moments in the U.S. That Are Rarely Taught in School

      These are the facts that weren't in your history books.

      As a kid, it's easy to assume you'll learn everything you need to know about American history from your teachers. After all, these folks have your best interest in mind and want you to be as knowledgable as possible. But not every important moment in U.S. history makes it into your grade-school lesson plans, no matter how well-intentioned your teacher is.

      From the time the government helped poison Americans to the woman who helped win World War II, here are some of the major historical moments that are rarely taught in school.

      Shutterstock

      Long before the civil rights protests of the 19th and 20th centuries, Quakers were pointing out the evils of slavery in the latter half of the 17th century. In fact, the very first organized protest against slavery in America was written by Quakers in 1688, according to Bryn Mawr College. In their written protest, the Quakers called for colonists to implement the Golden Rule (treat others how you would like to be treated) in relation to those with different skin colors. We bet you didn't learn about that in school.

      Shutterstock

      There are plenty of stories in history books detailing the efforts of white soldiers during the American Revolution, but are you familiar with the roles of black soldiers? According to Edward Ayres, a historian at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, by the end of the Revolutionary War, between 5,000 and 8,000 free and enslaved black men had served in some capacity.

      Unfortunately, some of their efforts were done under the expectation that a democratic revolution might offer them freedom. At one point, every state above the Potomac River recruited slaves for military service, typically in exchange for their freedom, explains Ayres.

      Rhode Island's Black Battalion, established when the state couldn't meet its quota for the Continental Army in 1778, was even present at battle of Yorktown. According to multiple accounts, one observer called them "the most neatly dressed, the best under arms, and the most precise in its maneuvers."

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      Decades before the California Gold Rush began in 1848, the Carolina Gold Rush was spurred by the discovery of a 17-pound golden nugget by a 12-year-old boy named Conrad Reed in 1799. For several years, unaware that the gold bore any value, Reed's family used the nugget as a doorstop before eventually selling it for a mere $3.50 to a jeweler. It was the first documented gold found in the U.S., according to North Carolina's regional magazine Our State.

      From 1800 to the Civil War, gold mining ranked second to agriculture as the state's most successful industry at the Carolina Gold Rush's peak, there were more than 600 gold mines in the state. Still, only North Carolinians—if anyone—know much about it today.

      Shutterstock

      A century before Rosa Parks resisted bus segregation in 1955, Elizabeth Jennings Graham, a free woman living in New York City, became one of the first black women to ride a whites-only horse-drawn streetcar in 1855. Jennings Graham boarded the streetcar, but was forcibly removed by a police officer. In response, she sued and was awarded $225 in damages.

      As a result, the Brooklyn Circuit of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that black people could not be excluded from public transit. And after a decade of protests and similar lawsuits, New York's public transit services were fully desegregated in 1865. Jennings Graham is the woman who won the right to ride in New York City, but few know her name.

      Shutterstock

      Before the New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, there were little to no regulations that existed for sweatshop workers in the United States. At the time of the fire, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of a Greenwich Village building, where workers made "shirtwaists," which today we know as women's blouses. After a fire broke out on the eighth floor, the cramped and unsafe working conditions in the factory allowed the flames to spread, eventually taking the lives of 146 people (mostly young women).

      After it was discovered that many aspects of the factory made it impossible for the workers to escape, protests began to erupt around the city. Eventually the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) formed and continued to fight for better working conditions for sweatshop workers in New York, the United States, and beyond. Despite the tragedy's legacy, it's not something the average high schooler has heard of.

      Shutterstock

      Despite the fact that the 1918 influenza epidemic was one of the worst pandemics in recent history, many schools have only lightly, if at all, spoken of its effects on the American people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 1918 epidemic killed about 675,000 people in the United States and millions more in countries around the world in one week in October of that year, almost 5,000 people died in Philadelphia alone.

      Historians guess that the pandemic was largely forgotten due to the fact that it coincided with World War I. And that's probably the reason it's skipped over in history class, too. Regardless, the pandemic led to more sanitary practices and the race for a vaccine, which was invented in 1938.

      Shutterstock

      As you probably learned in school, from 1920 to 1933, the U.S. government outlawed the consumption of alcohol by placing a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcohol. But soon, a booming black market emerged, and people began drinking redistilled industrial alcohol instead.

      Here's the thing you probably didn't learn: To curb that black market, government regulatory agencies encouraged measures that made industrial alcohol undrinkable, including the addition of lethal chemicals, Slate reported. According to their estimates, nearly 10,000 people died due to the poisoning.

      Alamy

      June 1943 saw the outbreak of the so-called "Zoot Suit Riots" in Los Angeles, California—a series of racially-charged conflicts between white servicemen and Mexican, Mexican-American, Filipino-American, and African-American youths. The riots got their name because some of the kids involved wore baggy zoot suits that were fashionable at the time. The oversized suits required a lot of fabric, and the servicemen claimed their attacks were inspired by their dedication to rationing fabric for the war.

      "Mobs of U.S. servicemen took to the streets and began attacking Latinos and stripping them of their suits, leaving them bloodied and half-naked on the sidewalk," according to the History Channel. "Local police officers often watched from the sidelines, then arrested the victims of the beatings." Obviously, this went much, much deeper than fabric—and the loaded controversy has largely been left out of lesson plans ever since.

      Alamy

      On July 17, 1944, an explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, killed 320 people, making it World War II's deadliest homefront accident, though you probably didn't read about it in your history books. After the disaster, 258 servicemen, most of whom were black, refused to load ammunition at the dock because of the unsafe working conditions. Fifty of the men who protested were charged with mutiny and sentenced to between eight and 15 years in prison.

      But the attention on Port Chicago paved the way for some serious change. "Seeking to deflect charges that the Port Chicago base was segregated, the Navy brought in two divisions of white sailors to load ammunition, but they weren't assigned to work with black sailors," historian Robert Mull, author of the definitive book on the disaster, told The Mercury News. "Next, the training facilities, bases and, finally, the ships were integrated. By the time President Harry Truman issued the historic executive order desegregating the armed forces in 1948, the Navy more or less already had done that."

      Alamy

      Just as they helped with other efforts during World War II, women also used their intellect to spy on the enemy—and none of those spies shined brighter than Virginia Hall. As Janelle Neises, the museum deputy director of the CIA Museum in Virginia, told NPR, by the end of the war, Hall was the most highly decorated female civilian in the United States. Posing as a reporter for the New York Post, she managed to gain an impressive amount of intelligence for U.S. troops while stationed in Nazi-occupied France.

      For years, Hall remained one step ahead of the German secret police, maintaining a roster of disguises and tricks. At the peak of her career, she had more than 1,500 contacts in the enemy forces, making her one of the most important assets to the American troops in World War II. But we doubt most Americans who graduated high school know her name.

      ilbusca / iStock

      The violent and complicated relationship between the indigenous peoples of America and those who colonized it has been downplayed in U.S. history for centuries. Of course, there was the 1830 Indian Removal Act and the following 1851 Indian Appropriations Act, but as recently as 60 years ago, the United States government was making huge moves to disrupt the lives of indigenous peoples.

      Take, for example, the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. Though it did not command people to leave their reservations, it dissolved federal recognition of most tribes, and ended federal funding for reservations' schools, hospitals, and other basic services, ostensibly forcing them out. The federal government paid for the indigenous people's relocation expenses to cities and provided some vocational training, but, as 2012 research on the subject published in the Journal of Family Issues notes, "many of the relocation program jobs consisted of seasonal, low-paying work and minimal job placement and training." In 2009, the U.S. offered an official formal "apology to Native Peoples of the United States" for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on them." Perhaps the next step will be more of their past being included in U.S. history books. And for even more little-known American history, check out the 25 Basic American History Questions Most Americans Get Wrong.

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      "A Journey into Nowhere"

      By the summer of 1946, President Harry S. Truman needed a vacation. Catapulted into the presidency by the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945, the former vice president had presided over the end of World War II that spring and summer and the uneasy peace that followed. During that time, U.S. relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated as the Soviets sought to create a protective zone for themselves by absorbing the countries of Eastern Europe. At the same time, all Europe lay in ruins, its economies devastated, its people starving, and its institutions destroyed. Parts of Asia were equally desolate, particularly the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, obliterated when the United States dropped the first atom bombs in August 1945. Other parts of Asia were in turmoil as British, French, and Dutch colonies agitated for independence. Meanwhile, in China the civil war between the Communist forces of Mao Zedong and the Nationalist troops of Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jie-shi) raged as Mao’s guerrillas advanced steadily against Chiang’s larger, better equipped army — a situation Truman described as “very, very bad.” Hovering over all these problems was the threat of nuclear war that seemed to many observers an increasingly likely possibility, especially after newspapers reported Soviet agents in Canada had been caught smuggling atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. 1

      At home, the United States had swiftly reverted to a peacetime economy while absorbing 10 million returning military personnel. Still, a series of strikes in the steel, coal, and railroad industries had angered the public, as did the 25 percent hike in prices that followed upon Truman’s ending price controls in June. Shortages of meat and housing further aggravated consumers, who blamed the president for their economic woes. Truman’s weak leadership — he was still adjusting to the demands of the presidency — aggravated these problems and fed Republicans’ hopes for winning Congress in the November election. 2

      Personal concerns also troubled Truman that summer. His mother Martha’s health was failing. “She’s on the way out,” Truman told his wife, Bess, then in Independence, Missouri, caring for her own mother. The president’s health, usually robust, was none too good. He suffered an ear infection as well as recurring stomach pains. 3

      “The Log of the President’s Vacation Cruise” contains this map of President Harry S. Truman’s vacation route from August 16, 1946, to September 2, 1946.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      Eager to put as much distance as possible between himself and his problems, the president initially considered a trip to Alaska. He settled instead for a cruise up the New England coast on the presidential motor yacht, the USS Williamsburg. Truman, a native of landlocked Missouri, loved the yacht though he was not the best of sailors, especially if the seas were choppy. Bill Campbell, a lieutenant on the Williamsburg, recalled that during one difficult voyage from Washington to Key West, Florida, the seasick president told him, “Young man, if you can stop this boat from rolling you can have my job.” 4

      Seasickness aside, Truman found cruising, particularly on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, a quick, easy escape from the pressures of the presidency. Aboard the Williamsburg, he could work without interruption, entertain friends and members of his staff, or just relax. The yacht offered him “a quiet haven,” recalled one of his naval aides, Commander William M. Rigdon. “He felt free to stroll the deck, work at his desk, sit in the sun, swim, read, . . . do whatever he pleased, without . . . a host of people constantly hovering about him.” 5

      On August 17, 1946, President Harry S. Truman swam at Cape Henlopen with Captain James Foskett and the ship’s doctor, Commander Emerson.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      On this particular New England voyage Truman’s companions included his friend Ted Marks, best man at his 1919 wedding to Bess Press Secretary Charlie Ross Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to the President George E. Allen, Director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Major General Harry H. Vaughan, the president’s military aide Captain James H. Foskett, Truman’s naval aide Colonel Wallace H. Graham, the president’s personal physician and six Secret Service agents. Matt Connelly, Truman’s appointments secretary, accompanied the party as far as Quonset Point, Rhode Island, as did Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder. 6 Four wire service reporters, eleven print journalists, four radio journalists, three still photographers, and one newsreel pool representative followed about 500 yards behind in the USS Weiss. They kept abreast of Truman’s doings via a daily radio telephone briefing from Charlie Ross. Radio teletype installed aboard the Weiss enabled the reporters to file their stories. 7

      Truman and his companions embarked from the Washington Navy Yard on the afternoon of August 16 in drizzling rain after posing for photographs on the Williamsburg’s quarterdeck. The first two days of the cruise were uneventful. Truman napped, swam, read (The Life of Grover Cleveland and The Age of Jackson), watched movies, and generally relaxed. Ross told reporters the president “would make no public appearances . . . [or] speeches.” Truman would go ashore “several times,” but the reporters could not report any details until he returned to the yacht. The president also asked that naval ceremonial be kept to a minimum except in the case of the USS Missouri. If the Williamsburg encountered that ship, the Missouri had permission to render full honors to the commander in chief including a presidential gun salute. 8

      On August 18, 1946, USS Weiss, the escort ship for the Williamsburg moored at the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point. The USS Philippine Sea is seen in this photograph taken from the Williamsburg.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      The Williamsburg reached the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 18. After greeting the naval dignitaries and meeting with the Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal, who was staying at his summer home in Newport, Rhode Island, Truman held a short press conference for the reporters traveling with him. He told them he was on a vacation cruise and politics had no place on his itinerary. 9 He and his guests left in a five-car motorcade for a family “supper” prepared by Captain Foskett’s wife and held at the home of her mother. Truman driving his own car—a Mercury Cabriolet with the top down—led the way. After dining on ham and chicken pie—the president “does not like seafood,” Mrs. Foskett told the press—Truman and his party returned to the Williamsburg. 10

      The next morning Truman met briefly with Edward H. Foley, assistant secretary of the treasury, and then with U.S. Solicitor General J. Howard McGrath, who was running for the Senate from Rhode Island, and Rhode Island Governor (later Senator) John O. Pastore before leaving for the Naval War College in Newport. Despite poor weather—the New York Times described it as “a driving northeaster”—Truman and his party, which in addition to McGrath and Pastore included General Vaughan, Captain Foskett, and appointments secretary Matt Connelly, toured the college and spoke briefly and extemporaneously to 150 officers attending a War College seminar. He also “looked over” the General Line School at the adjacent Naval Training Station, where he greeted a group of reserve officers. After lunch, the party returned to the Williamsburg, where Truman spent the rest of the day. 11

      We are just moving around, heading in a general southerly direction with no fixed destination. It’s just a vacation and the President can frolic around in the Atlantic if he wants to.

      — Press Secretary Charlie Ross

      On Tuesday, continued bad weather caused the Williamsburg to change course abruptly. At least that’s what Ross told the traveling press corps. In reality, Truman felt besieged. “Callers, would-be callers, and invitations to come ashore for ceremonies or parties,” to say nothing of the “almost constant gun salutes and other honors,” threatened to turn his vacation into a extension of life in the White House. Truman was having none of it. “Everybody and his brother whom I didn’t want to see tried by every hook or crook to rope me into letting him come aboard or having me seen with him,” he wrote his mother on August 22. “So I just cancelled the trip.” 12

      Instead of sailing up the Atlantic Coast toward Eastport, Maine—his original destination—Truman told the captain to put out to sea. Reporters aboard the Weiss noticed the change almost immediately and began to speculate on the reasons for the switch. Since the weather report called for “clearing weather with sunshine” in New England, the traveling press corps speculated that Truman perhaps did not want to be too far from Washington in case a diplomatic crisis developed. They also considered the Truman’s tendency to seasickness a factor, although a heavy ground swell in the Atlantic that already caused the Williamsburg to pitch in “an uncomfortable manner” made that conjecture unlikely. Press secretary Ross refused to enlighten the reporters, saying that the Williamsburg was “on a journey into nowhere. We are just moving around, heading in a general southerly direction with no fixed destination. It’s just a vacation and the President can frolic around in the Atlantic if he wants to.” 13

      On August 22, the president’s party arrived in Bermuda and were greeted by Admiral Sir Ralph Leatham, the governor of Bermuda, seen here in his ceremonial landau beside President Harry S. Truman.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      More probably, the delay occurred because the State Department and, possibly, the Secret Service and the U.S. Navy were making arrangements for a presidential trip to Bermuda that would be short on ceremony and long on relaxation. 14 Five hours later, the diplomatic arrangements completed, Ross told the bewildered reporters that Truman and his party were heading for the island. “The boss decided last night to go into warm waters,” he said by way of explanation. He failed to say how long Truman would stay on the island or where he would go from there. 15

      In keeping with Truman’s desire for no “fuss or feathers,” the Williamsburg arrived without fanfare at the American naval base in Bermuda at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 22. “This is what we’ve been looking for,” Ross told reporters, “and it’s here we’ll stay till further notice anyway.” He went on to quash reporters’ questions about possible high-level meetings on the island, saying that Truman’s visit was “absolutely without any political significance.” Admiral Sir Ralph Leatham, governor of Bermuda, underlined that point when he spoke to reporters after his formal 15-minute call on Truman. “He [Truman] has told me that he has come to Bermuda because he wants rest and quiet. He [told me] that he would appreciate anything that I could to do to assure that his wishes are respected.” Truman’s activities reinforced that message. After Leatham left the ship, the president and his guests went for a swim. Later in the afternoon Truman and his military and naval aides returned the governor’s call, riding to Government House in the governor’s ceremonial horse-drawn carriage. In Truman’s honor, Bermuda had declared a half holiday. U.S. and British flags decorated the buildings and streets of Hamilton, the capital, but except for a crowd of several hundred at Albouys Point, where Truman debarked, the streets were empty in deference to the president’s desire for privacy. After tea with the governor, Truman and his aides returned to the Williamsburg. 16

      The next day Truman’s vacation began in earnest with a fishing trip 5 miles off the southern tip of Bermuda. Despite his aversion to fishing (he considered it “a waste of time”) the New York Times reported that the president caught three fish, including the largest one of the day—a 6H pound salmon rockfish. Truman’s account of the expedition was more vivid. “Ted [Marks] caught a big brown fish and Captain Foskett caught four not so large as mine,” he wrote his daughter, Margaret. “The rest caught none.” He further reported, “Clifford almost fell overboard, Vaughan got seasick and Allen told me how good he is with fish but they didn’t take to him.” 17

      A rain squall cut short the fishing expedition and sent the Truman party back to the Williamsburg, where the president spoke with Secretary of State James F. Byrnes via radio phone from Paris, where Byrnes and other Allied representatives were negotiating peace treaties formally ending World War II with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland. Thereafter the ship’s log reports that the president and his party “whiled the evening away in their quarters”—perhaps an oblique reference to a poker game, one of Truman’s favorite forms of relaxation. 18

      President Harry S. Truman, seen after hooking the largest catch of the day, enjoyed a week of fishing, swimming, and poker playing in Bermuda before beginning the voyage back to Washington on August 30, 1946.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      On Saturday Truman toured Bermuda by car, stopping at the local Masonic Lodge, where he signed a Bible once signed by George Washington, and visiting other points of interest. The next day, Sunday, he walked to Holy Trinity Cathedral, where he attended services with the governor of Bermuda and heard the bishop of Bermuda pray for the success of the United Nations and for a way to be found to send homeless European Jews to Palestine. After the church service, Truman walked back to the Williamsburg accompanied by a small crowd who followed him back to his launch. 19

      The next week passed in a leisurely fashion. Truman and his party fished, swam, watched movies, and rested—and probably played more poker. 20 After being rained out on a second fishing expedition, Truman and his guests tried again on Thursday, August 29.

      The group set out in two boats for a spot about 5 miles off the southern tip of Bermuda. Felix Belair Jr. of the New York Times captured the spirit of the outing. Truman, he said, had “agreed to defend his title of champion fisherman of the . . . Williamsburg in a catch-as-catch-can contest” against his friend Ted Marks, an experienced fisherman. Secretary of the Treasury John Snyder, who had flown in from Washington several days earlier, was also involved in the matchup, but “although the smoothest operators in naval intelligence were assigned the job none was able to learn on which side he would be fighting.” Since friendly wagers had been made on the combined catch of each boat, competition was keen. At the last minute Snyder threw in his lot with the president, as did his naval aide Captain Foskett and press secretary Ross. Together the Truman team was credited with forty fish weighing 75H pounds. The Marks team, which in addition to Ted Marks consisted of ace fishermen Allen and Vaughan plus novice Clark Clifford, using a special doughnut bait, came up short, with twenty fish weighing 61G pounds. 21

      According to the ship’s log, the losers attempted to “increase the weight of their catch by filling a fish with lead sinkers” (weights). However, when they were convinced they had lost, the log went on, “they gallantly acknowledged their perfidy.” Although Truman retained his title, he remarked that he “would never make a great fisherman. I haven’t got the infinite patience required.” 22

      Truman returned to the Williamsburg where he held a small reception for the governor of Bermuda. Members of the colony’s Parliament and other distinguished officials also attended, along with local citizens, the U.S. consul general in Bermuda, and senior members of the U.S. forces stationed there. According to the log, “the president and his party spent the evening on board in the guests’ quarters” — perhaps playing poker. 23

      President Harry S. Truman stood on deck during the return trip up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C., on September 2, 1946.

      Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum/ NARA

      The next day Truman left Bermuda. As he did, he received a farewell message from the island’s governor Sir Ralph Leatham. In his message, Leatham told Truman, “We have deemed it a great honor that you chose Bermuda for your holiday. . . . We shall always remember that you were the first President in office to visit our Colony and hope that you honor us again.” Truman thanked Leatham for his “kind message. Everyone enjoyed our visit to Bermuda and hope to come back. Please express my appreciation to the inhabitants of Bermuda for all their courtesy.” Truman also thanked the U.S. naval personnel stationed in Bermuda for their efforts. “To all hands a well earned ‘Well Done.’” 24

      Truman’s return voyage to Washington was largely uneventful. Bad weather and rough seas early in the voyage caused many aboard the Williamsburg to keep to their quarters and assume “a horizontal position.” Truman, writing to his mother and his sister Mary, provided a graphic account of his own distress. “I became seasick at the dinner table and rushed to my quarters and to bed. Stayed there most of yesterday. Ate no breakfast or lunch did manage a cup of tea and two sandwiches about eight o’clock last night. Saturday morning it was so rough that furniture, ink bottles, magazines, clothing and pillows got completely mixed up on my floor.” 25

      By the time the ship reached Hampton Roads, Virginia, on Sunday, September 1, however, the sun shone and so many pleasure craft had crowded around the Williamsburg that a picket boat from the Weiss had to guard the presidential yacht as it lay at anchor. 26 Return to U.S. waters also meant the resumption of official business. Postmaster General Robert Hannegan, Reconversion Director John R. Steelman, and Presidential Secretary Bill Hassett came aboard the ship, as did a naval ensign who brought the White House mail. 27 Despite the press of public business, a holiday mood prevailed once the Williamsburg headed into the Potomac River. Some of Truman’s guests attired in bathing suits engaged in a spirited game of volleyball using the ship’s last remaining medicine ball. (The other ball had been lost at sea during an earlier contest.) When the last ball also went over, the two sides pinchhit with rope rings or grommets used to secure equipment on board and continued to play. The ship’s log noted tactfully that the grommets “had been made up in quantity and were easily replaceable.” 28

      The atmosphere turned solemn, however, as the yacht passed Mount Vernon. The presidential party and the ship’s crew assembled on deck and paid traditional honors to George Washington. 29 At that point, the Williamsburg and the Weiss were close enough to Washington that the captain of the Weiss asked permission to go ahead so that the reporters aboard could be at the pier when Truman and his party arrived. The press pool greeted the president as he debarked looking tan and rested. Truman’s sudden alteration to Bermuda had been a great success, and he had returned refreshed and ready to face the challenges of the presidency. There would be other seagoing voyages aboard the Williamsburg 30 and other presidential vacations, but never again in his presidency would Truman change his travel plans so abruptly or chart a course for “a journey into nowhere.”

      After disembarking at the Washington Navy Yard on September 2, 1946, President Truman spoke briefly with reporters before returning to the White House by car.