For political history enthusiasts, this engaging and taut history of post-WWII US foreign policy under President Harry Truman should be a delight. Scarborough’s first-hand knowledge of Washington politics, politicking and his Morning Joe perspective on national and international world events, combine for a dramatic, nuanced telling of Truman’s deft ushering of the nation from isolationism to an active leadership role on the world stage. It is a tale of back-door diplomacy, international cooperation, political persuasion and bipartisan cooperation, with plenty of resonance for today.
History called on Harry Truman to unite the Western world against Soviet communism, but first he had to rally Republicans and Democrats behind America’s most dramatic foreign policy shift since George Washington delivered his farewell address. How did one of the least prepared presidents to walk into the Oval Office become one of its most successful?
The year was 1947. The Soviet Union had moved from being America’s uneasy ally in the Second World War to its most feared enemy. With Joseph Stalin’s ambitions pushing westward, Turkey was pressured from the east while communist revolutionaries overran Greece. The British Empire was battered from its war with Hitler and suddenly teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Only America could afford to defend freedom in the West, and the effort was spearheaded by a president who hadn’t even been elected to that office. But Truman would wage a domestic political battle that carried with it the highest of stakes, inspiring friends and foes alike to join in his crusade to defend democracy across the globe.
In Saving Freedom, Joe Scarborough recounts the historic forces that moved Truman toward his country’s long twilight struggle against Soviet communism, and how this untested president acted decisively to build a lasting coalition that would influence America’s foreign policy for generations to come. On March 12, 1947, Truman delivered an address before a joint session of Congress announcing a policy of containment that would soon become known as the Truman Doctrine. That doctrine pledged that the United States would “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The untested president’s policy was a radical shift from 150 years of isolationism, but it would prove to be the pivotal moment that guaranteed Western Europe’s freedom, the American Century’s rise, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
Truman’s triumph over the personal and political struggles that confronted him following his ascension to the presidency is an inspiring tale of American leadership, fierce determination, bipartisan unity, and courage in the face of the rising Soviet threat. Saving Freedom explores one of the most pivotal moments of the twentieth century, a turning point when patriotic Americans of both political parties worked together to defeat tyranny.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Strange Little Man xiii
Chapter 1 America Alone 1
Chapter 2 Greek Fire 10
Chapter 3 Affairs of State 22
Chapter 4 Met at Armageddon 28
Chapter 5 The Man from Missouri 36
Chapter 6 Gnawing Away at Greece 44
Chapter 7 Steer Clear of the Foreign World 52
Chapter 8 Passing the Torch 60
Chapter 9 A Baptism of Fire 71
Chapter 10 A New World Order 84
Chapter 11 In This Fateful Hour 95
Chapter 12 Moving Beyond Monroe 105
Chapter 13 A House Divided 144
Chapter 14 Personnel Is Policy 160
Chapter 15 "You Must Kill All Americans" 168
Chapter 16 Eleven Minutes 179
Chapter 17 Cold War Dawn 189
Chapter 18 An American Triumph 195
Chapter 19 Aftermath 201
Appendix: Position and Recommendations of the Department of State Regarding Immediate and Substantial Aid to Greece and Turkey 221
A Note on Sources 239