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October 20, 1989 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-20

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Truman's Way Of Castigating Bigots


Editor Emeritus

resident Harry S. Truman had
firm ways of fulfilling human
obligations and the manner in
which he differed with Dwight
Eisenhower on many issues, including
the Middle East and Israel are reveal-
ed in the historically important article
which appeared in the Sept. 17 New
York Times Magazine under the title,
"He Didn't Like Ike."
Margaret Truman assembled her
father's memoirs dealing with the
challenging events in the Times article.
The strong Truman position on Israel
was covered in last week's article on
this page. President Truman's condem-
nation of McCarthyism calls for special
At the outset, I'd like to share a
comment by Margaret Truman in this
footnote to her article:
For the record, my father
was rated ninth in the list of 31
Presidents, and fourth in an
associated list of "near-great"
Presidents. I think he'd rank
even higher in a poll conducted
today. I also think Eisenhower
would rank lower. — M.T.
President Truman did not tolerate
degradations and he certainly would re-
ject anything resembling a witch hunt.
He proved it in his treatment of the
McCarran-Walter hatred for im-
migrants. He showed his contempt for
Senator McCarthy.


Therefore the great value of his con-
demnation in the now available
memoirs. Therefore the value of letting
this nation know her father's strict
adherence to basic American prin-
ciples.The documentary she included in
"He Didn't Like Ike" contains the
following as a damning of the witch
hunt of the early 1950s:
I think the ugliest and the
dumbest thing that Eisenhower
did during his Administration
was the cowardly way he duck-
ed the whole question of McCar-
thyism, even when good, decent
people around him were being
hurt more and more by that
awful and horrible man. Joseph
R. McCarthy first began to
make himself noticeable during
my Administration, and I
recognized him immediately as
a fake and a phony and as a real
menace to our country and our
principles of freedom and
decency. I realized that he didn't
really believe that stuff he was
spouting about Communists
taking over the country any
more than I did, and that he was
just whipping up hysteria
without any evidence at all
because it was getting him
headlines and the hope of
maybe taking over the country
himself. Fat chance he had of
that, because the American peo-
ple were just too smart to let him
stay around for too long.

At this point in the memoirs is a
tribute to General George Marshall and
a severe rebuke of Ike's treatment of the
man who was high ranking in the ar-
my. There is a continuation of severe
criticism of McCarthyites and Margaret
Truman quotes her father additionally
as follows:
But Eisenhower's cowardice
about McCarthyism really
became evident, really became
shameful and disgraceful, when
he was told to cut out a state-
ment about General Marshall in
a campaign speech he was
about to give. This invloved a
few lines written by one of
Eisenhower's speech writers, a
fellow named Emmet John
Hughes. By this time McCarthy
and Jenner were so arrogant
that they were attacking just
about everybody; I believe
they'd have called the Almighty
Lord a Communist if they'd hap-
pened to think of it. And one of
their targets was General Mar-
shall, whom they called a
"traitor," and saying that the Ar-
my was loaded with Com-
munists and Marshall was soft
on Communism and looking the
other way. Well, a man like
George Marshall didn't really
need defending from the likes of
McCarthy and Jenner, but
Hughes had written in some
lines anyway, having
Eisenhower say that he'd known

General Marshall for many
years and that Marshall was a
loyal and patriotic American.
This is not only American history.
It is a human document and a testing
of citizenship. Let it be recorded as un-
forgetfulness in commitments to the na-
tion and therefore to fellow citizens.
Yet not enough has been said and
published about these elements that for
a time disgraced our nation. Truman's
idealism rises anew as a reminder of the
McCarran-Walter prejudices. They are
reminders of the shocking senatorial
debate when the biased found it
necessary to override the Truman veto.
A leading role in that debate was played
by one of the most distinguished
peronalities, Sen. Herbert Lehman.
The courageous senator from New
York who succeeded Franklin D.
Roosevelt as governor of New York and
who was the close friend of both
Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. The
bigots are the ones to be remembered
disgracefully. The courageous like
Truman and Lehman will always be ap-
plauded with gratitude.
Let us recall Herb Lehman, I
remember him when he met with many
of us at UJA functions. He was
generous and his philanthropy was
dignified. His appeals to his fellow
citizens were for good and clean politics.
Harry S. Truman was the inspira-
tion for honorable citizenship. With his
courageous idealism, his daughter's
high regard for him is again increased,
and we are privileged to share in it. ❑

1776-1985: Marcus' Magnum Opus

or more than half a century,
Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus, the
national historian and lecturer,
was the authority for teachers and
students when they needed accurate in-
formation about the early years of
American Jewish history. Until about a
decade ago, the founder and director of
American Jewish Archives, he assembl-
ed the basic facts about the entire
American Jewish historical records.
Scores of books, many hundreds of
published essays, hundreds of public lec-
tures and academic courses in univer-
sities, have made his contributions to
American history indelible marks of
scholarly attainments.
Now the Marcus creativity in


(US PS 275-520) is published every Friday
with additional supplements the fourth
week of March, the fourth week of August
and the second week of November at
27676 Franklin Road, Southfield,

Second class postage paid at Southfield,
Michigan and additional mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
27676 Franklin Road,
Southfield, Michigan 48034

$26 per year
$33 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCVI No. 8


October 20, 1989


historiography reaches new heights,
with a monumental achievement soon to
become a reality.
Wayne State University Press is
publishing the four volume United States
Jewry by Dr. Marcus. The other three
volumes will follow in consecutive years.
American Jewry numbered 2,500
when the Marcus epic commences. It
already had an important beginning.
The first volume already provides an
idea of the completeness of Dr. Marcus'
treatment of the entire historical ex-
perience. It deals with the Revolution
and the early national period, 1776 to
1940. The era is referred to as the
Sephardic Period. It is also known as:
the Age of Spanish-Portuguese Domina-
tion. It has special significance.
The introductory essays to each
volume indicate the special in the
Jewish and general cultural spheres.
Anti-Jewish prejudices are exposed. The
detailed summations and annotations
mark the historian's treatments.
It is not an exaggeration to say that
the Marcus treatment of Jewish history
generates enthusiasm. He is the
At that referred-to occasion, which
was symbolic of his many other ap-
proaches to anticipated historical
developments, he cheered his audience
by declaring:
We Jews pride ourselves that
we are a civilized humanitarian

folk. Let us manifest it in all of
our actions. Our history
demands that we continue our
quest for Zion. Zion is our
highest Jewish self in projection;
it is the ideal we seek but we can
only glimpse.
Rabbi Marcus,
nehomoh? Comfort? The true
nehomoh is to face reality. We ad-
dress ourselves to eternity. We
have an enduring faith. We have
no choice; for this were we

created. The bodies consumed in
Auschwitz may yet light up a
world that lives in darkness.
"Our ancestors received the law
on Sinai's mount amidst thunder
and lightning and cloud and
flame, and amidst thunder and
lightning and cloud and flame
we will keep it." Our prophetic
exhortations are the last and
best hope of humanity. If we
raise but a handful of disciples
who treasure our ideals we will
survive. We are an am olom, an
eternal people. The world can
never, never destroy all of us.
And in that fateful moment when
the earth begins to shatters when
the very heavens tremble, when
the sun, the moon and the stars
turn dark, when the last bomb
falls and the last mushroom
cloud evaporates, we, we will
emerge erect, undaunted,
dedicated to the hope that a day
will yet come when "they shall
not hurt or destroy in all my ho-
ly mountain, for the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the
Lord as the waters cover the
sea." (ISA.11:9.)

With such confidence in events to
come, the monumental history is
already anticipated as the most impor-
tant work yet produced in American
Jewish historiography.

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