President Harry S Truman: Cons of His Presidency

About the cons or negative aspects and failures of Harry S Truman's presidency.

His 7 Years, 283 Days as President

CON

No practical military considerations can possibly justify an immoral act such as using an atomic weapon on a populous city. Truman should have tried harder to warn the Japanese of the terrible potential of our new weapon and to negotiate a surrender. Even if you assume that the bombing of Hiroshima was inevitable, the subsequent attack on Nagasaki was totally unnecessary.

CON

The State Department was right, and Truman was wrong: By adopting a pro-Israel stance, the President permanently compromised U.S. interests in the oil-rich Arab states.

CON

The "Cold War" which Truman launched was costly and unnecessary. It is possible that the Soviet Union had only peaceful intentions after W.W.II, but that they were alarmed by the aggressive American initiatives and forced to take defensive action. The Soviet "conquest" of Eastern Europe which so concerned Truman and other anti-Communists represented little more than Russia's assumption of her legitimate sphere of influence.

CON

Most of Truman's domestic reforms never got off the ground. Of all his major programs, only the housing construction bills won approval by Congress. Truman was sincerely dedicated to progressive ideas but he lacked Roosevelt's skill in mobilizing popular support for his proposals.

CON

Truman certainly deserves credit for restraining the irresponsible demagogue MacArthur, but he must also accept blame for committing the U.S. to an unnecessary war in the 1st place. Korea was actually outside the vital "defense perimeters" recommended by the military, and Truman's hasty decision to intervene was a costly mistake. Still worse, Truman accepted MacArthur's assurances that the Chinese would never intervene, and thus permitted the general to push the war to the Chinese border. The result was the commitment of hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops to a tragic war which Americans could not possibly win, and in which even a "victory" would have been meaningless. Over 50,000 Americans died in vain.

CON

Truman himself gave an early and unwitting boost to McCarthyism by authorizing "loyalty boards" to investigate Federal employees. When Republicans claimed that these investigations were only a "whitewash," it was already too late to stop the drift toward paranoia and repression. Public confidence in Government was further shaken by revelations that some of Truman's friends and assciates had engaged in shoddy influence-peddling schemes. As the Republicans shook their heads over "Korea, Communism, and Corruption," Truman returned to Missouri under a thick, dark cloud.

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