Harry S. Truman: Presidential Rhetoric

By Halford R. Ryan | Go to book overview

Where free men had failed the test before, this time we met the test. 11

And the "course that can win" was based partly on Truman's abiding faith in the American people and their democracy. It was also Truman's faith in the people's political instincts that innervated his Miracle of '48. Indeed, Truman's Manichaean faith in good versus evil, Democrats versus Republicans, and the United States versus Soviet communism was his abiding legacy:

Then, some of you may ask, when and how will the "cold war" ever end? I think I can answer that simply. The Communist world has great resources, and it looks strong. But there is a fatal flaw in their society. Theirs is a godless system, a system of slavery; there is no freedom in it, no consent. The Iron Curtain, the secret police, the constant purges, all these are symptoms of a great basic weakness--the rulers' fear of their own people.

In the long run, the strength of our free society, and our ideals will prevail over a system that has respect for neither God nor man.

I have a deep and abiding faith in the destiny of free men. 12

Has not Harry S. Truman's faith in the American people been vindicated?

Assuming an affirmation to that rhetorical question, I close with an excerpt from a person from San Francisco, California, who sadly responded to Truman's leave-taking: "It is always sad to say goodby to a good friend, and that is what I think you have been to the American people."13


NOTES
1.
"Broadcast to the American People Announcing the Surrender of Germany," HST: 1945, p. 48.
2.
President's secretary's files, speech file, box 51, pp. 1-18, HSTL.
3.
Files of Charles S. Murphy, president's speech file, box 20, pp. 1-52, HSTL; papers of Richard Neustadt, subject file, box 8, second draft, 1-12-53, third draft, 1-13-53, fourth draft, 1-13-53, fifth draft, 1-13-53, sixth draft, 1-14-53, HSTL.
4.
PPF-200, box 353, HSTL.

-131-

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