The Mencken treatment

The Washington Post story on the newly discovered 1947 diary of Harry Truman gives Truman the Mencken treatment, making his hostile statements about Jews the centerpiece of the story: “Harry Truman’s forgotten diary.” But the Post also tracked down knowledgeable folks like John Lewis Gaddis to comment on them (“Anyone who played the role he did in creating the state of Israel can hardly be regarded in that way.”) The Boston Globe story, on the other hand, makes the statements sound like an update of Merle Miller’s oral biography of Truman, Plain Speaking: “Newfound diary reveals more of Truman.”
Hard as it is for me to read these statements, I nevertheless hope someone will point out in this context that, in light of the Cold War history Rocket Man asks us to remember, Harry Truman is one of the twentieth century’s greatest benefactors of humanity. He made the critical series of correct decisions to face down the Soviet Union in Greece, Austria, and Korea after World War II, and adopted the policy of containment that more or less set the course of American foreign policy vis a vis the Soviet Union until victory.


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