Tag Archives: FDR

Liberals Can be Tough

Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal.  Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.

16-truman-w710-h473-2x

Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe.  Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.  On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.  The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-

“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
Molotov responded-
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
Truman clarified-
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now....

Listen to me now….

The Buck was stopping….

 

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New Deal Data Gone Awry

Critics of the New Deal assail the consensus history that… FDR’s social programs helped the US out of the Great Depression.  Their objections are based on two faulty parameters of statistical analysis:

  • First, they use 1929 as a baseline for all New Deal data compiled by the Census Bureau.  —  WRONG. Any elementary study of economic policies in the 1920’s exposes the data as artificially enhanced by rampant speculation, unscrupulous trading, and predatory lending.  These statistics in no way represent typical American economic activity.
  • Second, modern economic indicators are used to examine the progress made during the 1930’s.  — WRONG. Post World War II employment patterns are radically altered by the baby boom.  The statistical sample is completely different from the 1930’s.  The average 5.5% unemployment figure following 1970,  cannot be factored against the data compiled following the grossly inflated figures from the 1920’s.

Skewed Data

The Great Depression presented a crisis never before seen in American economic history… and required measures beyond mere market correction to address the suffering.  The basic indicators of GDP and unemployment rates improve during the New Deal.  The so-called Roosevelt Recession of 1938-39 must be considered an effect of the budgetary restraints forced on FDR by the newly elected Republicans in the 76th Congress.

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Conspiracies are Hatched

“There can be no middle ground here. We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict.”  … Roosevelt’s words ring hollow through history considering what happened after Yalta.  Congress agreed with FDR’s assessment of the Crimean accords, but the next world conflict was already under way.  Historians have tried to connect the dots over the last 69 years- many connections have yet to be convincingly made…conspiracy has filled the voids.  

"Of course I believe in a free Poland...come now, let's smoke"

“Of course I believe in a free Poland…come now, let’s smoke”

Stalin clearly benefited from the agreement… as much of the groundwork for the Eastern Bloc was laid during the negotiations.  How could Roosevelt and Churchill  allow Stalin to have his way on a majority of the issues?  If we believe Churchill’s self-described deference to Roosevelt,  something(or someone) influenced the decision making.  Questions about FDR’s health are at the source of many conspiracies:   Was he too weak to deal with the diplomatic rigors? Did knowledge of his mortality cloud his judgement during negotiations? Was he willing to grant a great deal to Stalin to secure what he considered to be his legacy, the United Nations?    The lack of written evidence, combined with basic deduction has led many an amateur historian down the conspiratorial path.

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Liberal hero; Soviet spy- ALES

Most historians now concede that Alger Hiss… was not simply an American Communist, but in fact, a Soviet agent.   Hiss was a member of the US delegation to Yalta.  He arranged some of the papers used during the negotiations.  Conspiracy theorists do not have to leap too far in linking Hiss to the outcome at Yalta.  Records indicate that Hiss had a minor role(at best) during the negotiations.  But, to conspiracy theorists, lack of written evidence is never a deterrent.

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Uncle Joe’s Big Week

“It was not a question of what we would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do.”   Future Secretary of State James Byrnes commented on the Yalta conference which began on February 4, 1945.

The exhausted three

The exhausted three

Most historians now agree that Yalta… is where Stalin exerted his will upon the European continent.  Theories abound as to how this came to pass- Roosevelt’s illness, Churchill’s weariness, Soviet agents posing as American diplomats (Alger Hiss)- regardless, the Soviet Union came out of the conference a world power.  Byrnes’ observation was optimistic to say the least…

 

What seemed at the time to be reasonable compromise… laid the foundations for the Eastern Bloc.

Iron Curtain descending

Iron Curtain descending

  • Free elections in Poland- clearly stacked in Stalin’s favor, the exiled Polish government in London stood little chance against the Provisional Communist state built by the Red Army in 1945.
  • Red Army occupation of eastern and central Europe was accepted- and despite assurances to Churchill of peaceful intentions, Stalin told Molotov, “Never mind. We’ll do it our own way later.”
  • The Red Army would occupy half of Germany including the entirety of Berlin. The seeds of the Cold War are planted out of what was thought to be military expediency.

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Liberals Can be Tough

Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal.  Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.

16-truman-w710-h473-2x

Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe.  Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.  On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.  The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-

“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
Molotov responded-
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
Truman clarified-
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now....

Listen to me now….

The Buck was stopping….

 

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Mild about Harry

Harry Truman was not a popular politician in 1948… Labor unrest, foreign crises, and domestic communism scandals plagued his time in office- the bulk of FDR’s fourth term.  A Presidential term no one really wanted Truman to serve- FDR’s administration had ignored Truman in the first 80 days and became openly hostile during the transition.   Truman had no choice but to make key changes in the cabinet to counter the insubordination from Roosevelt’s aides.  Even Elanor Roosevelt questioned Truman’s foreign policy decisions- FDR’s widow was cordial with his successor, but had never enthusiastically endorsed his position.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

FDR supporters saw Truman as… provincial, uneducated, and just plain average.  He lacked a college education, performed poorly in social situations, and didn’t possess  the charismatic presence that endeared so many Americans to  Roosevelt the icon.  Truman’s Midwest roots alienated him from the Democratic power structure of the Northeast.  Roosevelt diehards resented that he had replaced long-time confidant, Henry Wallace, on the 1944 ticket.  Truman angered them further when he dismissed Wallace from the cabinet for insubordination in 1946.  Wallace used this animosity to garner the Progressive party nomination in 1948.  The Roosevelt coalition had been irreparably broken, so Wallace had little chance of winning- but his campaign threatened Truman’s Democratic base.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

This uncouth, undereducated, Midwest rube… was now trusted to keep the US out of World War 3, get the economy moving again, root-out communist subversives, and continue the struggle for civil rights-  all while his party divided twice beneath him during a reelection campaign.

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Learning Very Little- Trump’s Folly

The comparisons of Donald to Trump and Wendell Willkie are real and legitimate… as stated in a previous post.  Trump had every opportunity to study the campaign failures of another businessman and political novice.  Inexplicably, Trump has repeated nearly every mistake Willkie made against FDR in 1940.

Business leader, political novice

Business leader, political novice

Business leader, political novice

Business leader, political novice

 

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