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How did President Harry S. Truman influence the Cold War?

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Roosevelt , the expectations of the American public, an assessment of the possibilities of achieving a quick victory by other means, and the complex American relationship with the Soviet Union. During World War I , Truman commanded a battery of close-support 75mm artillery pieces in France and personally witnessed the human costs of intense front-line combat.

After returning home, he became convinced that he probably would have been killed if the war had lasted a few months longer. His first-hand experience with warfare clearly influenced his thinking about whether to use the atomic bomb.

It was also an expression of the American temperament; the United States was accustomed to winning wars and dictating the peace.

On May 8, , Germany surrendered unconditionally to great rejoicing in the Allied countries. The hostility of the American public toward Japan was even more intense and demanded an unambiguous total victory in the Pacific.

Truman was acutely aware that the country—in its fourth year of total war—also wanted victory as quickly as possible. A skilled politician who knew when to compromise, Truman respected decisiveness. Meeting with Anthony Eden , the British foreign secretary, in early May, he declared: Headed by Stimson and James Byrnes , whom Truman would soon name secretary of state, the Interim Committee was a group of respected statesmen and scientists closely linked to the war effort.

After five meetings between May 9 and June 1, it recommended use of the bomb against Japan as soon as possible and rejected arguments for advance warning. Among those who had full knowledge of the Manhattan Project to build an atomic bomb, most agreed that the weapon should be used.

As he listened to them argue that the United States should refrain from using the bomb and that it should share its atomic secrets with the rest of the world after the war, Byrnes felt that he was dealing with unworldly intellectuals who had no grasp of political and diplomatic realities.

He neither took their suggestions seriously nor discussed them with Truman, who most likely would have shared his attitude anyway. Szilard and his associates seem to have represented only a small minority of the many hundreds of scientists who worked on the bomb project. In July project administrators polled of the scientists working at the Chicago site and could find only 19 who rejected any military use of the bomb and another 39 who supported an experimental demonstration with representatives of Japan present, followed by an opportunity for surrender.

Most of the scientists, however, supported some use of the bomb: McCloy , claimed to have opposed using the bomb, but there is no firm evidence of any substantial contemporary opposition. Most of the scientists, civilian leaders, and military officials responsible for the development of the bomb clearly assumed that its military use, however unpleasant, was the inevitable outcome of the project.

Truman faced almost no pressure whatever to reexamine his own inclinations. When Truman became president, a long and bitter military campaign in the Pacific, marked by fanatical Japanese resistance and strongly held racial and cultural hostilities on both sides, was nearing its conclusion. In February , about a month after he was sworn in as vice president, American troops invaded the small island of Iwo Jima , located miles 1, km from Tokyo.

The Americans took four weeks to defeat the Japanese forces and suffered nearly 30, casualties. On April 1, 12 days before he became president, the United States invaded Okinawa , located just miles km south of the Japanese home island of Kyushu.

The battle of Okinawa was one of the fiercest of the Pacific war. Offshore, Japanese kamikaze planes inflicted severe losses on the American fleet. After nearly 12 weeks of fighting, the United States secured the island on June 21 at a cost of nearly 50, American casualties. Japanese casualties were staggering, with approximately 90, defending troops and at least , civilians killed.

The Americans considered Okinawa a dress rehearsal for the invasion of the Japanese home islands, for which the United States was finalizing a two-stage plan. The first phase, code-named Olympic, was scheduled for late October , with a landing on Kyushu, defended by an estimated , Japanese troops backed by at least 1, kamikaze planes. Olympic entailed the use of nearly , American assault troops and an enormous naval fleet. The scale of the operation was to be similar to that of the Normandy invasion in France in June , which involved , Allied troops in the first 24 hours and approximately , others by the end of the first week of July.

Estimates of casualties from an invasion of Japan varied, but nearly everyone involved in the planning assumed that they would be substantial; mid-range estimates projected , American casualties, with 40, deaths. The second phase of the plan, code-named Coronet, envisioned a landing near Tokyo on the home island of Honshu in the spring of and a Japanese surrender sometime before the end of the year. The same mid-range estimate that predicted , casualties for Olympic projected 90, for Coronet.

If both invasions were necessary, by the most conservative estimates the United States would suffer , killed, wounded, or missing, as compared to a Pacific War total that by mid-June was approaching , Thus, the best estimates available to Truman predicted that the war would continue for a year or longer and that casualties would increase by 60 to percent or more.

But would Japan have surrendered without either invasion? By mid, an American naval blockade had effectively cut off the home islands from the rest of the world. Moreover, regular incendiary bombing raids were destroying huge portions of one city after another, food and fuel were in short supply, and millions of civilians were homeless. General Curtis LeMay , the commander of American air forces in the Pacific, estimated that by the end of September he would have destroyed every target in Japan worth hitting.

The argument that Japan would have collapsed by early fall is speculative but powerful. Nevertheless, all the evidence available to Washington indicated that Japan planned to fight to the end.

Throughout July, intelligence reports claimed that troop strength on Kyushu was steadily escalating. Moreover, American leaders learned that Japan was seeking to open talks with the Soviet Union in the hopes of making a deal that would forestall Soviet entry into the Pacific war. In the absence of formal negotiations for a Japanese surrender, the two sides communicated with each other tentatively and indirectly, and both were constrained by internal sentiment that discouraged compromise.

In Japan no military official counseled surrender, and civilian leaders who knew that the war was lost dared not speak their thoughts openly. Vague contacts initiated by junior-level Japanese diplomats in Sweden and Switzerland quickly turned to nothing for lack of high-level guidance.

The Japanese initiative to the Soviet Union also produced no results because Tokyo advanced no firm concessions. Japan faced inevitable defeat, but the concept of surrender carried a stigma of dishonour too great to contemplate. In the United States, conversely, the sure prospect of total victory made it close to impossible for Truman to abandon the goal of unconditional surrender.

The most tangled problem in this conflict of national perspectives was the future of the Japanese emperor, Hirohito. Americans viewed Hirohito as the symbol of the forces that had driven Japan to launch an aggressive, imperialistic war. Most Americans wanted him removed; many assumed he would be hanged. Few imagined that the institution he embodied would be allowed to continue after the war.

Although some thought it necessary to keep Hirohito on the throne in order to prevent mass popular resistance against the American occupation, others wanted him arrested and tried as a necessary first step in the eradication of Japanese militarism.

American propaganda broadcasts beamed at Japan hinted that he might be kept on the throne, but Truman was unwilling to give an open guarantee. The Japanese saw the emperor as embodying in a near-mystical way the divine spirit of the Japanese race. Although not exactly an object of religious worship, he was venerated as an all-important symbol of national identity.

Moreover, the entire Japanese civilian and military leadership had a special interest in his survival. In the absence of something approaching formal negotiations, American and Japanese diplomats could not even meet to discuss a compromise formula for postwar Japan. Although the atomic bomb was never conceived as a tool to be employed in U.

Truman regarded the Soviet Union as a valued ally in the just-concluded fight against Nazi Germany, but he distrusted it as a totalitarian state and was wary of its postwar plans.

His personal diaries and letters reveal hope for a satisfactory postwar relationship but determination not to embark on a policy of unilateral concessions. Truman and Byrnes also certainly assumed that the atomic bomb would greatly increase the power and leverage of the United States in world politics and would win the grudging respect of the Soviets.

On July 16, the day before the conference opened, Truman received word that the first atomic bomb had been successfully tested in the New Mexico desert. He shared the information fully with Churchill Britain was a partner in the development of the bomb but simply told Stalin that the United States had created a powerful new weapon. Stalin—who had detailed knowledge of the project through espionage—feigned indifference.

He also reaffirmed an earlier pledge to attack Japanese positions in Manchuria no later than mid-August. Truman, apparently uncertain that the bomb alone could compel surrender, was elated.

Thereafter events moved quickly and inexorably. On August 6 an American B dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima , instantly killing some 70, people and effectively destroying a 4. Two days later a powerful Soviet army attacked Manchuria, overwhelming Japanese defenders. Want to watch this again later? In this lesson, we will learn about the domestic policies of President Harry S.

We will discover what his policies were regarding economic issues and examine his stance on civil rights.

Truman won a surprise victory over Republican challenger Thomas Dewey in the election of Although enacted under President Roosevelt as seen above, the G. Bill was widely implemented throughout the Truman Years. Civil Rights Truman took a strong stance in favor of civil rights. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime.

Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: President Truman took a strong stance on racial issues. President Truman signed the Employment Act of , which basically gave the federal government the responsibility of fighting unemployment.

Bill , signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in , was widely enacted during the Truman administration. It provided a wide range of benefits for soldiers returning home from World War II. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher. Unlock Your Education See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.

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Harry Truman: A Surprisingly Dynamic President

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After President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in , Vice President Harry S. Truman became the 33rd president of the United States. Truman led the country through the end of World War II. After the war he worked to stop the spread of Communism.

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The Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, has issued a statement on the matter, which reads, in part: Harry Truman loved to play piano. As a boy, he got up early to practice for two hours before school. Improved homework resources designed to support a .

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While some historians have suggested that the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was motivated by Truman's desire to check the Soviets, this is a somewhat controversial notion. With that help from Almighty God which we have humbly acknowledged at every turning point in our national life, we shall be able to perform the great tasks which He now sets before us. Harry S. Truman (January 7, ).

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Harry S Truman Homework Help. harry s truman homework help Discover the best resource for Harry S Truman High School homework help: Harry S Truman High School study guides, notes, practice tests, and S. Truman (–) became the 33rd President of the United States upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April See, Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt's vice president. When FDR unexpectedly died in the spring of , Truman became president. Another big surprise came when Truman won reelection in .