Harry S Truman: If Only We Had Him Now

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14 Responses

  1. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    A few comments:

    1. My wife is from Kansas City. My father-in-law knew Eddie Jacobson through B’nai B’rith. In a town as Jewishly small as KC, everyone knew everyone else.

    2. One part of this piece of history that does not get enough attention is the role of Abba Hillel Silver, the head of the ZOA. Silver used his position to promote the presidential ambitions of his good friend Ohio Senator Robert Taft. His attacks on Truman were frequent and sharp, and Truman despised him for it. This explains a good bit of Truman’s antipathy to the Zionists in 1947-48.

    3. After independence, Truman put an arms embargo on the mideast. This didn’t hurt the Arabs, who were getting arms from the British and French, but it did hurt the Israelis, who couldn’t get arms before indepenence because they weren’t a state, and had trouble afterwards. What saved the state in those days was Stalin’s support. The Skoda arms works of Czechoslovakia provided arms galore for Israel. Czechoslovakia was a Soviet puppet; the arms couldn’t have been shipped without Stalin’s say so. Stalin was a rosha, but we must acknowledge that between 1945 and 1948, he was the strongest supporter of a Jewish state in Palestine. He had his reasons, but even so, it is doubtful Israel would have come into being without him. Yemach shmo vezichro, even so.

  2. Tzioni says:

    I have been told Yom Yeruslayim commemorates a nes but Yom Haatzmaut does not. And that therefore we say Hallel with a brochah on Yom Yerushalayim but without on Yom Haatzmaut. The nes of Yom Haatzmaut seems plain from this narrative.

  3. szn says:

    this shows that when Hashem [ or the Sitra Achra, depending on your view of a Secular Zionist state in Palestine]wants to bring the Geula [ or the anit-Geula in the case of the satan] , nothing will stand in the way…..

  4. SM says:

    Thank you for the post. I am grateful that the US supported the emergent state, BUT when the State Dept said that it would lead to every Arab state becoming the enemy of the US they were right on the money…

  5. HILLEL says:

    I find this post somewhat puzzling.

    Weitzman was a RoSha, who refused to let the Zionist agencies participate in the rescue of the Jews from the Holocaust in World War II. He is quoted as saying that the Jews in Europe are “dust of history, but this will be a blessing for (the state) of Israel.”

    Ben Gurion was a murderous megalomaniac, who ordered his Haganah commander to fire on Menachem Begin’s ship Altalena, when it arrived in Israel bearing crucially-needed weapons and soldiers during the War of Independence. Ben-Gurion was afraid that Begin would eclipse him in popularity if the weapons proved decisive in winning the war.

    Ben-Gurion’s attempt to draft religious girls into the Israeli Army caused the premature death of the Chazon Ish.

    Truman, like Stalin was a national leader, whose actions are controlled by HaShem. Such people cannot completely exercise free will.

    The only true hero in this narrative is Eddie Jacobson. Although he was a religously-ignorant Jew, he went out of his way to help his people, because he had a true Jewish heart.

  6. Chaim says:

    Much of the information in Beschloss’s article appeared in a Jewish Press article back in December, which I’ve pasted below. With all due respect, how anyone could still have a simple view of Truman — even before reading the Newsweek excerpt — as some huge ohev yisroel is beyond me. His anti-Semitic outbursts have neen known and written about for years.

    See “Harry Truman Without Fanfare” by Jason Maoz.

  7. Reb Yid says:

    I’ve been a Truman buff for much of my life (including once having made a pilgrimage to Independence, MO) so a few comments:

    There is no doubt that he displayed a tremendous amount of courage when standing up to the State Department and in particular George Marshall (whom he idolized) by recognizing Israel.

    His personal thoughts about some Jews notwithstanding (even during World War II), humanitarian concerns were essential to how he viewed the world. The fate of Holocaust survivors played an important role in this process for him as well.

    The amazing thing about Truman is that even though he didn’t go to college he was probably one of our most well-read Presidents, with the possible exceptions of Wilson and Clinton.

    And just think of the renowned and widely praised “Truman committee” (i.e., mentioned as investigatory committee during WWII). Just think–here was a Senator who was both supportive of the war AND who was making sure that there was accountability, saving a tremendous amount of lives and dollars in the process.

    Nowadays, if anyone asks about accountability about anything, the motives are automatically questioned. How far we have fallen.

  8. Loberstein says:

    “How far we have fallen.”
    My sentiments exactly. The process of picking an elected official today requires so much fund raising that how can anyone pretend that candidates and elected officials are not beholden to the ones who give them the money. The scrutiny of the 24 hour news cycle destroys people who may be good public servants but once hired a nanny and didn’t pay her social security tax. The hypocrisy of it all! The professonals make a living from the never ending election cycle and candidates are programmed like robots to do whatever the polls tells them.

  9. Charles B. Hall says:

    Stalin must be turning over in his grave to know that the Jewish state that survived only because of the arms sent by his client, Klement Gottwald, the Communist leader of Czechoslovakia, is now supporting more Torah than any regime in history. HaShem can use even the worst rashas for good.

  10. Bob Miller says:

    One of Truman’s good qualities was his respect for the office of President. Thrust into power by FDR’s death, he wanted to make himself worthy of the office, not to turn the office into a vehicle for power lust or plain old lust.

  11. Loberstein says:

    I have just read “Harry Truman Without Fanfare” which appeared in the Jewish Press. Our religion teaches us that the ” heart of kings is in the hands of Hashem”. Harry S Truman was certainly Hashem’s messenger and his recognition of Israel gave ligitimacy at a crucial moment.
    We, who live in 200, don’t really appreciate the extent of anti-semitic sentiment iln the 1940’s. On the one hand I was taught in yeshiva that Roosevelt was evil, he could have saved many Jews and didn’t try. This is factual. However, others would say that he could only lead the country where it was willing to be lead and immigration of Jews into the US was unpopular. He couldn’t fight Hitler until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He may have not only been a genteel anti-semite but he worked withing an anti-semitic milieu. Truman was more brave and for that he goes down in history as a benefactor of the Jews.

  12. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Loberstein, what are you complaining about? We have the best democracy that money can buy 😉

    On a more serious note, young talented Americans don’t go into politics. They go into business or technology. As a result we have a very inefficient government, but a good economy and a high standard of living. I’m not sure that these are bad priorities.

  13. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    Regarding Loberstein’s comments about Roosevelt, the historical record is very clear that FDR was desparate to get the US into the war in Europe. The isolationists in Congress might well have had impeachment grounds had they known the extent of his support for Great Britain before Pearl Harbor. He also had a clandestine correspondence with Churchill that bypassed both Chamberlain (still British PM) and Kennedy (still US Ambassador) because he knew that the first was an appeaser and suspected that the second might actually be sympathetic to the wrong side. And only three days before Pearl Harbor, the Chicago Tribune had published a leaked copy of secret US/British war plans whose existence the Roosevelt administration had previously denied. It is not clear that even after Pearl Harbor that the Congress would have passed a declaration of war against the Nazis; Hitler and Mussolini made that question moot by declaring war on the United States on December 11, 1941.

  14. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Dr. Hall mentions FDR’s activities on behalf of Britain before we officially entered the war. Most of it wasn’t clandestine; his executive order giving GB our old destroyers was a matter of public information. Lend-lease was an act of Congress. The leaked US-GB war plans make an interesting story. The leaker, Hap Arnold, eventually became a five star general (one of only five), leading some to believe that the plans were a concoction and intentionally leaked to provoke Hitler into declaring war. If so, they certainly worked.

    Another fact: Roosevelt violated every international rule of neutrality by selling war materiel to the allies only. When he stopped selling oil and scrap metal to Japan, he forced Japan into going after these commodities elsewhere, which meant going to war with the allies, and attacking Pearl Harbor to keep us from helping them.

    In the 1970s, during Watergate, there was a joke: What was the difference between Washington, FDR, and Nixon? Washington never told a lie, FDR never told the truth, and Nixon never knew the difference. FDR was devious and dishonest, and got us into WWII without the consent of most of the country. It was the right choice, made for the right reasons, using abominable methods.

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