Harry Truman's wife Bess was not amused when she saw the photo of her husband playing the piano while Lauren Bacall's legs dangled in front.
Editor's Note: Veteran reporter and journalism professor Gil Klein is author of Tales from the National Press Clu
There was widespread misconduct in Harry Truman’s administration, but historians discount the president's responsibility.
Harry S. Truman became president of a country much changed from the pre-war America of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Relative prosperity born of war had replaced depression, and government had turned its attention from combatting hardship to underwriting an immense military enterprise.
Miscalculations and blunders by world leaders precipitated the Korean War 60 years ago
On its 60th anniversary, the Korean War looks much like Vietnam, a pointless conflict that gained nothing for those who began it: North Korea’s Kim Il-sung and South Korea’s Syngman Rhee, with the consent of the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong. Yet it was far worse than that: The bloodletting in that corner of northeast Asia was an exercise in human folly that cost all sides in the fighting nearly 4 million lives lost, missing, and wounded, not to mention the devastation of the peninsula from Pusan in the south to the Yalu River in the north. Not a single northern or southern Korean city escaped the ravages wrought by modern warfare. Public buildings and private homes were turned into piles of rubble, while thousands of refugees fled from the scenes of battle.
Even made with a smile, a physical threat by a future President of the United States against a past President just doesn’t happen every day. But I know it did once.
When a President Holds a Grudge
In his kaleidoscopic novel U.S.A., a trilogy published between 1930 and 1936, John Dos Passos offered a descriptive line that has always stayed with me.
Recently discovered documents shine a new light on the President’s biggest decision
TWO CHEERLEADERS AND A CORPSE
On November 1, 1950, All Saints’ Day, my twin sister and I joined four other cheerleaders from St.
Fifty years ago in the frozen mountains of Korea, the Marines endured a campaign as grueling and heroic as any in history
How bad is it when Presidents get really sore?
The rumor first began to spread around Washington last year: Sen. John McCain had a skeleton in his closet. Was it something to do with his past as a war hero in Vietnam? His voting record in the Senate?
The Korean conflict erupted fifty years ago this June. Many Americans still believe that it began in debacle (which is true) and ended in a humiliating compromise that changed nothing (which is not).
DAVID McCULLOUGH tells why he thinks history is the most challenging, exhilarating, and immediate of subjects
American self-interest was involved, of course, but the Marshall Plan remains what some have referred to as a rare example of “power used to its best end.”
“You know who Nebuchadnezzar was, don’t you?” Truman asked.
I was a young reporter in Chicago on the day in 1956 that Harry Truman turned the tables on me. He gave me the most memorable interview of my reporting career, but I was too embarrassed to turn it in to my editor.
An overheard remark sent the author off on a years-long quest to discover the truth about a man whose power to inspire both rage and reverence has only grown after his death
Truman was Commander in Chief of the American armed forces, and he had a duty to the men under his command not shared by those sitting in moral judgment decades later
On the morning of August 6, 1945, the American B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later another B-29, Bock’s Car , released one over Nagasaki.
America looked good to a high school senior then, and that year looks wonderfully safe to us now, but it was a time of tumult for all that, and there were plenty of shadows along with the sunshine
It was a very good year. Certainly it was if you were seventeen. I was a senior in high school in 1954, a member of the class of January 1955, at Lincoln High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
An Interview with the President and the First Lady
On a busy Wednesday morning last August, President and Mrs. Clinton found an hour to speak with me in the Oval Office of the White House.
They’ve all had things to say about their fellow Executives. Once in a great while one was even flattering.
John Adams said Thomas Jefferson’s mind was “eaten to a honeycomb with ambition, yet weak, confused, uninformed, and ignorant.” Ulysses S.
Thus did Franklin Roosevelt characterize the man who was to be his running mate in 1944 and—as everyone at the astonishing Democratic Convention knew—almost certainly the next President of the United States. Here is FDR at his most devious, Harry Truman at the pivot of his career, and the old party-boss system at its zenith.
It took us longer to name the war than to fight it
Something began at 7:50 A.M. (Hawaiian time), Sunday, December 7, 1941. Most Americans seemed convinced it was World War II. But one man wasn’t so sure.
“I think one man is just as good as another,” he said, “as long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” Yet Truman broke with his convictions to make civil rights a concern of the national g
Here is how political cartoonists have sized up the candidates over a tumultuous half-century.
AMERICANS HAVE BEEN turning out political cartoons since the dawn of the Republic, but in the nineteenth century the drawings tended to be verbose and cluttered, their characters trailing long ribbons of speech balloons as they stumbled ov
When the President fired the general, civilian control of the military faced its severest test in our history
AT 1:00 A.M. ON THE morning of April 11, 1951, a tense band of Washington reporters filed into the White House newsroom for an emergency press conference.
A noted historian argues that television, a relative newcomer, has nearly destroyed old—and valuable—political traditions
TELEVISION HAS BEEN accused of many things: vulgarizing tastes; trivializing public affairs; sensationalizing news; corrupting the young; pandering to profits; undermining traditional values.
Harry Truman’s lifetime correspondence with his adored Bess opens a window on their time
TWO THINGS ABOUT Independence, Missouri, Harry Truman’s town, strike you immediately as different from what you might expect. It isn’t plain, flat Midwestern. And it isn’t hick.
His newly discovered diary reveals how the President saw the conference that ushered in the Cold War
For the past year and a half, Robert H. Ferrell, a diplomatic historian at Indiana University, has been at work among President Harry S. Truman’s newly opened private papers at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. Early last year, working with Erwin J.
Unpublished letters from Dean Acheson to Ex-President Harry Truman
The ex-Presidency now carries perquisites and powers that would have amazed all but the last few who have held that office