From master storyteller and historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II. At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, "The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has." This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. Truman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Heir to a struggling economy, a ruined Europe, and increasing tension with the Soviet Union, on no issue was the path ahead clear and easy. General MacArthur, by contrast, was incredibly popular, as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America. The lessons he drew from World War II were absolute: appeasement leads to disaster and a showdown with the communists was inevitable--the sooner the better. In the nuclear era, when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era. From the Hardcover edition.
This book develops a responsible and practical method for evaluating the success, failure, or “crisis” of American civil-military relations among its political and uniformed elite. The author’s premise is that currently there is no objectively fair way for the public at large or the strategic-level elites to assess whether the critical and often obscured relationships between Generals, Admirals, and Statesmen function as they ought to under the US constitutional system. By treating these relationships—in form and practice—as part of a wider principal (civilian)-agency (military) dynamic, the book tracks the “duties”—care, competence, diligence, confidentiality, scope of responsibility—and perceived shortcomings in the interactions between US civilian political authorities and their military advisors in both peacetime and in war.
Robert Lovett grew up in Texas, went to Yale, and earned his wings as a naval air force hero in World War I. He played a key role in the development of the Army Air Force in World War II. His emphasis on strategic bombing was instrumental in defeating Hitler’s Germany. During his postwar State Department service, he was influential in initiating the Marshall Plan, the formation of NATO and planning the Berlin Airlift. He served as Truman’s Secretary of Defense during the Korean War, was a consultant for his friend Dwight Eisenhower and served John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Between tours of duty in Washington, he was an international banker on Wall Street. This first complete biography covers his life and career in detail.
A look at the president's tumultuous first four months in office examines the events he presided over, including the founding of the United Nations, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, and the decision to drop the bomb.
From New York Times bestselling historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how America's second generation of political giants--Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun--battled to complete the unfinished work of the Founding Fathers and decide the shape of our democracy. In the early days of the nineteenth century, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina's John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and an even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery. Together this second generation of American founders took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency, and tasked themselves with finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Above all, they sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its fudge on where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation; and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery. They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the union as a free state, "the three great men of America" had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But by then they were never further apart. Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy.
American literature by Library of Congress. Copyright Office
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