from Presidential Courage 1 Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989
by Michael Beschloss
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PresideThree men in suits standing with several men in the backgroundnt Harry S, Truman was surprised when Secretary of State General George Marshall, the architect of the WWII victory in Europe and who never went to parties, showed up at his 1948 small sixty-forth birthday party. Truman thought of Marshall as the ' " great one of the age." ' Marshal  praised Truman for his integrity and courage in making decisions that only had  the country's best interest at heart. Joseph Stalin, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill in Potsdam, July 1945 Click to enlarge.                                                                              

The Politics

Disgruntled by postwar adjustments and Truman's stumbles after FDR's death, 1946 voters had given Congress to the Republicans.  Truman's approval rating had dropped to the mid-thirties by the spring of 1948 and pollsters said he would lose reelection.

With a new Jewish state was about to be born, Truman's met with Whitehouse council Clark Clifford and Secretary of State George Marshall. Clifford  argued that we should immediately recognize Israel to help protect her from five vastly larger Arab armies ready to pounce. He reasoned that Israel would be a reliable democratic state in the ' "unstable Middle East" '.  Also, America was trying to stop Russia from conquering the world. America had also always felt a ' " a great obligation" ' to stop persecution. Marshal argued that Israel didn't stand a chance and we could not come to her aid. "No longer lauding his ' "integrity," ' Marshall unbranded the President (in what Clifford found ' "a righteous Goddamned Baptist tone" '  for playing politics with the Middle East to attract Jewish voters." Marshal then said he wouldn't vote for Truman if he followed Clifford's advise and a shaken condemned Truman adjourned the meeting. This and other heated debates from both sides put  pressures on Truman. 


Britain controlled 1947 Palestine and they stopped the Jewish  immigrant ship SS Exodus from arriving in Palestine where Jews from all over Europe were hoping to form a new Jewish state. World wide outrage resulted. 

Britain would soon be leaving Palestine and a UN committee had proposed the area be partition into Jewish and Arab states with an economic union.  Assistant Secretary of State Loy Henderson felt American involvement would jeopardize oil supplies and the entire Arab world would become America's enemy. President Truman's Jewess business associations and good heart were to face off with his Midwestern anti-Semitics.



FDR's former Treasury Secretary and unobservant Jew Henry Morgenthau  called Truman to complain about the Exodus situation. The Exodus, formerly President Warfield, arriving at Haifa (British Admiralty photo)

A dyspeptic Truman complained about Zionists in his diary.  " [Morgenthau had] no business calling me. The Jews have no sense of proportion, nor do they have any judgment on world affairs... The Jews, I find are very, very, selfish." They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns., Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated... as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when  they have power--physical, financial, or political--neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog." Political pressure from both sides was immense.





Soon  Truman's good friend Eddie Jacobson from the Army and Kansas City implored him to back the new Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. Truman warned that financial and military support would not be possible. 

After the partition into two states, Truman's arms embargo to the Middle East hurt Israel as Britain was arming the Arabs. But Jewish friends of Hoover got lax FBI enforcement of the embargo.

The State Department had been working for years with the Arab states to have the Palestine partition fail. Some felt U.S. troops in Europe to face off the Communists might be needed in the Middle East. Truman wavering on support of any kind for the partition, and Chaim Weizmann a Zionist patriarch rushed to New York hoping to see the President. Truman's friend Eddie Jacobson was asked to help and he sent Truman a wire saying ' "I have asked very little from you in the way of favors during all our years of friendship, but I am begging you to see Dr. Weizmann as soon as possible."  Tired of Zionist  ' " ...badgering" ' the President wired Eddie that the Palestine problem was probably ' "not solvable." '  Jacobson flew to New York and got the proposed meeting arranged by using a private presidential meeting. At the secret meeting with Weizmann, Truman agreed to support the partition. Before the President could act his U.N. Ambassador Marshall upset the apple cart by telling the Security Council that a peaceful partition was not possible and the U.N. should rule Palestine. Truman would not accept that his Secretary of State George Marshal knew what was happening. Clifford disagreed and thought the President so naive that he questioned a second term for his boss.

Leading up to the UN vote, Truman ordered the UN envoys from the U.S. not to use improper pressure and anger the Arabs. The first vote failed by one vote, Clark Clifford got Truman to let his aids lobby for partition and the final vote easily passed.  "Complaining of pressure from Washington, Arab delegates walked out."  Truman warned a pro-Zionist New York Congressman after the initiative passed that "the pressure boys almost beat themselves... I don't do business that way." 

28) I AM Cyrus
Truman decided to recognize Israel over the objections of Secretary of State 
George Marshall, who feared it would hurt relations with the populous Arab states. Marshall believed the paramount threat to the U.S. was the Soviet Union and feared that Arab oil would be lost to the United States in the event of war; he warned Truman that U.S. was "playing with fire with nothing to put it out".[142 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
President Truman with Dr. Chaim Weizmann.Weizmann informed Eddie Jacobson who informed the President that a Jewish State would be proclaimed when the British left Palestine and that immediate recognition by the United States was vital. Truman in a secret message, informed Weizmann that he would make it so. Not knowing of Truman's actions the State Department threaten the Zionists to relent their efforts.

The President and Marshall had it out over immediate recognition. Truman won and Marshal sent someone to stop the United States U.N. delegation from reigning in mass. The Jewish State was declare, Truman recognize it, and Chaim Weizmann  became its first President of Israel. President Truman with Dr. Chaim Weizmann source Click to enlarge. See Presidential Elections 1932-1972

Presidential Election History

1. Political Eras 1788 to 1892   pdf
2. Political Eras 1896 to 2016   pdf

1. Presidential Elections 1778-1824  pdf
2. Presidential Elections 1828-1852   
3. Presidential Elections 1856-1892       

4. Presidential Elections 1896-1928  pdf
5. Presidential Elections 1932-72  pdf  
6. Presidential Elections 1976-2012  

U.S. History
U.S. Terror Episodes Since 1900

Turning Points in American History
Don't Know Much History

Return to Political Economy Historical Summaries

Other Presidential Courage Presidents

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A. Lincoln required freeing the slaves as a condition of saving the Union.
T. Roosevelt took on corporate RR trusts for consumers and farmers.
FDR took an unpopular stance by planning for war but still reelected.
HT made tough decisions like quickly in the face of pressure from all sides.
JFK continued to push school integration despite potential political opposition.
RR hastened the end of the Cold War with massive deficit spending.
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Criticism of Modern Capitalism
Is Politics About the Money? Capitalism/Political Economy Video    
How Severe was the Great Recession?
Do People Vote Their Pocketbook?   

Should Tea Party Share Its Tea?

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One-page U.S. History

20th Century U.S. Decade Ranking

Which Decade Was Best, Worst?
Capitalistic Democracy government at a profit

Quick Notes NFL & Golf History