J. Robert Moskin
J. Robert Moskin
Mr. Truman's War
Random House, 1996
ISBN 0-679--40936-X



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The Marines
Executive's Book of Quotations
The Decline of the American

Mr. Truman’s War tells, for the first time, the full tumultuous story of how Harry Truman, the ordinary man from Missouri, made the awesome decisions for the final victories of World War II and the controversial judgments that led the world into our era. These dramatic five months encompassed not only the destruction and defeat of the Nazis’ Thousand-Year Reich and the Empire of Japan, but the dropping of the first atomic bomb, the birth of the United Nations, the death of colonialism, and the beginning of the Cold War.

The story begins on April 2, 1945.  At five PM, Harry Trumann was summoned to the White House to learn that Franklin D. Roosevelt was dead and he was the President of the United States.  He suddenly had to deal with Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and such prime movers as Charles de Gaulle, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Douglas MacArthur.

The man who came to the presidency in steel-rimmed glasses and a bow tie had been a farmer and a county commissioner back in Missouri.  He had fought as an artillery lieutenant in France during World War I, but otherwise had no experience with world affairs.  FDR had chosen him as his vice president only five months earlier as a political compromise, and then had excluded him from all international policy discussions.

The need for decisions was immediate and urgent.  There was no time for on-the-job training.  Truman quickly discovered that he had a God-given ability to decide swiftly – and not look back.
Without hesitation, he ordered the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He refused Churchill’s repeated request that he leave American troops in the Russian occupation zone of Germany.  He cut off supplies to de Gaulle’s French army.  He insisted that Japan surrender “unconditionally.”

Truman began his presidency hoping, as FDR had, that the superpowers would work together.  At the summit meeting in Potsdam, he confronted Stalin and Churchill in person for the first time.  He was determined not to be beaten at the poker table where the Great Powers played for the future of the world.

Mr. Truman’s War reaches its climax in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese surrender. During five tense and surprise-filled months, as this book vividly shows, Harry Truman became the most confident and powerful leader in the world. This is the captivating chronicle of a momentous transition and the people who shaped it.

Praise for
Mr. Truman's War

A perfect-pitch rendering of this critical period.”
New York Times Book Review

“A notable achievement”
Wall Street Journal

“A riveting story of war and peace….Popular history at its best.”
Boston Globe

“Moskin’s book offers readers wide learning and immense comfort.”
Henry F. Graff,
Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University

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