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Harry Truman and the Politics of a National Security Strategy

The diary entry penned by the occupant of the Oval Office was blunt: “It is hell to be President.” Frustrations in the White House had mounted: A trouncing in the midterm elections; problems on the battlefield; disagreements with a top general; and dissatisfied domestic politics boiled over as the pressures of public opinion at home encountered the stalemate and turmoil among foreign adversaries. The president also had to consider domestic expectations to expand jobs, opportunities, and civil rights. While this may sound current and familiar, the diary’s author was actually President Harry Truman at the White House in December 1950.

The end of World War II produced no honeymoon for the new president from Missouri. The early notion that the postwar period would be dominated by four international policemen— the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China—was soon shattered by financial distress in London, a revolution in the city the West then called Peking, and an iron curtain pitting the former allies of Washington and Moscow in a confrontation that would last almost a half century.

US national security strategy abroad was challenged by an amalgam of conflicts: military engagements in Korea and Vietnam; diplomatic tensions regarding the race to space and nuclear arms negotiations; and the rise of nationalism in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. President Truman had to manage US national security strategy alongside the demands of debate and the politics of American democracy.

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Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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