1951 50 Years Ago


On April 10 in Washington (April 11 in Asia), President Harry S. Truman removed Gen. Douglas MacArthur as the Army’s supreme Asian commander, replacing him with Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway. The move, announced at a hastily summoned news conference at 1:00 A.M., after word had begun to leak, was no routine personnel change, for after spending 52 of his 70 years in the Army, MacArthur was as feared as he was revered. In World War I, MacArthur had commanded a brigade, been wounded twice, and received seven Silver Stars.Read more »

Echoes Of A Distant War

The half-remembered Korean conflict was full of surprises, and nearly all of them were unpleasant

Korea is in the news again, and it’s ugly news. North Korea may or may not have the capability to make nuclear weapons, and North Korea’s aging dictator, Kim Il Sung, is unwilling to let international inspectors find out. The United Nations is talking of sanctions. The United States is pointedly scheduling military maneuvers with the army of the Republic of South Korea. Some of the media’s self-chosen secretaries of state summon us, from their word processors, to sturdy firmness.Read more »

Present At The Creation Again?

The unquiet history of the modern state of Israel has been tied up with the United States from the beginning

Peace was not in evidence in the Holy Land last Christmas Eve. Outbreaks of violence still rocked the West Bank and Gaza Strip three months after the signing of the accord between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat at the White House, with a beaming President Clinton standing by.Read more »

The Pentagon’s 50th … And The Future For America’s Defense

It was August 1941, and Congressman Sam Rayburn was worried about the draft. He personally had no fear of being called; rather, as Speaker of the House, he wanted very much to pass a bill that would keep the Selective Service Act in force. That law had whooped through Congress a year earlier, just after the fall of France and with the Battle of Britain on every front page. But the British had held, and the Nazis had directed their armies against the Soviet Union. It was possible to believe that war might spare our country after all.

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Eight Days With Harry Truman

The elder statesman sets the record straight on JFK, LBJ, Stalin, the bomb, Charles de Gaulle, Douglas MacArthur—and, most of all, the American Presidency

I can still see Harry and Bess Truman coming toward us across the crowded terminal of the Kansas City airport on that night in 1970, their eighty-six-year-old faces pinched and almost grim with concern. Then they saw their daughter, Margaret, walking safely beside me, and their worries vanished. Their smiles transformed them.

Introductions were swiftly accomplished. The Trumans already knew who I was and why I was there—to help Margaret on the research for her father’s biography. Read more »

"We Can’t Do Business With Stalin"

Even at this late date it is far from clear that the Cold War in Europe could have been avoided, once the certainty of Hitler’s defeat had robbed the wartime alliance of its compelling necessity. The revisionist notion that Harry Truman, beguiled by the wrong set of advisers and emboldened by the success of the atomic bomb, started the Cold War by setting out to reverse Franklin Roosevelt’s policies of wartime cooperation with the Soviet Union has been all too widely accepted. Read more »

F.D.R: The Last Journey

Roosevelt, like Lincoln and Wilson, died fighting for his ideals.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated for the fourth time, in January, 1945, twelve years of guiding the country through depression and war had sapped the strength of this vital and complex man. His health, which had been a major issue in the 1944 campaign, was the constant concern of his dedicated staff. Roosevelt himself, by this time, was thinking mostly of the problems of the coming peace. Read more »