On May 8, 1945, at nine o'clock in the morning from the radio room in the White House, Harry S. Truman, the thirty-third president of the United States broadcast words that war-weary Americans yearned to hear: "This is a solemn but a glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly over all Europe."1
When Truman delivered his valedictory on January 15, 1953, he was unable to utter the words that a war-weary nation yearned to hear: that the United States was at peace in Korea. Moreover, when HST left the presidency in 1953, the flags of freedom did not fly over all of Europe, but the Truman Doctrine did save Greece, Turkey, and, if one ascribes to the domino theory, the oil-rich Mideast from falling under the domination of the Soviet Union. Thus, Truman's valedictory speech serves as a fitting recapitulation of the selected themes of his presidential rhetoric that were treated in this book.
Truman wrote out in longhand an undated eighteen page draft, which became the core of the address. 2 Charles Murphy worked almost all of Truman's handwritten materials into a fifty-two page first draft, which is undated. Richard Neustadt composed a draft on January 10, 1953, parts of which were incorporated into the final address. Interestingly, Neustadt termed this speech a "final fireside," a sobriquet that never gelled with Truman's speech making. The address then went