View Poll Results: Harry S. Truman

Voters
0. You may not vote on this poll
  • Alpha

    0 0%
  • Beta

    0 0%
  • Gamma

    0 0%
  • Delta

    0 0%
  • ILE (ENTp)

    0 0%
  • SEI (ISFp)

    0 0%
  • ESE (ESFj)

    0 0%
  • LII (INTj)

    0 0%
  • EIE (ENFj)

    0 0%
  • LSI (ISTj)

    0 0%
  • SLE (ESTp)

    0 0%
  • IEI (INFp)

    0 0%
  • SEE (ESFp)

    0 0%
  • ILI (INTp)

    0 0%
  • LIE (ENTj)

    0 0%
  • ESI (ISFj)

    0 0%
  • LSE (ESTj)

    0 0%
  • EII (INFj)

    0 0%
  • IEE (ENFp)

    0 0%
  • SLI (ISTp)

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)

  1. #1
    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,001
    Mentioned
    25 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)

    ESI?

    “Even President Truman’s bigotry long antedated reports of Japanese savagery. As a young man courting his future wife, he wrote: ‘I think one man is as good as another, so long as he’s honest and decent…and not a nigg*r or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a white man of dust, a nigg*r from mud, then threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman.’ . . . . His biographer Merle Miller reported: ‘Privately, Mr. Truman always said nigg*r. At least he always did when I talked to him.’”


    ‘[In his childhood] Harry [Truman] . . . was diagnosed with flat eyeballs and forced to wear Coke bottle-thick glasses. He could not play sports and he was bullied by the other boys, who called him “four-eyes” and “sissy” and chased him home after school. When he arrived home trembling, his mother would comfort him by telling him not to worry because he was meant to be a girl anyway.

    Gender issues plagued him for years. He would often refer to his feminine features and attributes.’

    The Untold History of the United States (Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick)



    A Psychohistory of Truman's Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb by Ko, Young-Gun; Kim, Jin-Young

    The American writer Ralph W. Emerson once mentioned that "there is properly no history; only Biography." His statement deserves attention in the sense that it indicates an inseparable relationship between historical events and the life histories of the political leaders who orchestrated these events.

    In the case of a national leader who believes that he or she can alter history according to his or her will and actually puts such a will into practice, psychohistory, which investigates "the relationship of life histories to the historical moment," may establish a more significant contribution in understanding those historical events than other sciences. The relationship between the life history of Harry S. Truman and "the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan" may provide an instructive example. Truman firmly believed that "men make history; history doesn't make the man." This study, using a psychohistorical perspective, intends to identify the relationship between the childhood experiences of Truman and his historical decision to drop the atomic bomb.


    TRUMAN'S DECISION

    Although many believe Truman made the final decision to use the atomic bomb, some argue that he did not actually make that decision. The Hyde Park Aide-Memoire, written in September 1944, demonstrates that Winston L S. Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt had an agreement on the use of the atomic bomb: "when a 'bomb' is finally available, it might perhaps, after mature consideration, be used against the Japanese." In this regard, one of Truman's intimates argued: "Truman made no decision because there was no decision to be made. He could no more have stopped it than a train moving down a track."

    At that time, the atomic bomb had not been completed, so a final decision regarding its use was not possible. This led Roosevelt to raise "the question of whether... [the bomb] should actually be used against Japanese or whether it should be used only as a threat with full-scale experimentation [noncombat demonstration]" in a meeting held three days after that agreement. Roosevelt consented that the "subject could be postponed for quite a time, and [...] the matter did not now need to be discussed."

    In Memoirs Truman admitted: "The final decision of where and when to use the atomic bomb was up to me." Therefore, it is evident that he played a crucial role in making a decision on the use of the atomic bomb.


    POLITICAL BACKGROUND OF TRUMAN'S DECISION

    Historians suggest Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb was based on five major political factors: First, it would quickly end the war and minimize American casualties; second, it would obtain Japan's unconditional surrender; third, it would serve as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; fourth, it would secure military and psychological superiority over the Soviet Union; and fifth, it would justify the "two billions of dollars on the atomic venture." Although these factors exerted considerable influence on Truman's decision-making, they did not assure the inevitability of his decision.


    Early Ending of the War

    In 1946 the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." Therefore, arguing that an early ending of the war justified the atomic bombing on Japan does not stand.


    Achieving Japan's Unconditional Surrender

    If the atomic bombs were used to achieve Japan's unconditional surrender, the demand for an unconditional surrender should have followed the dropping. But the Truman administration did not continue its efforts to persuade Japan to accept the terms of unconditional surrender. This can be readily confirmed through scrutinizing the historical process of Japan's surrender to the U.S.

    On July 17, 1945, through secret intercepting, the Truman administration already knew that "Japan officially if not publicly' [had] accepted its defeat.” Indeed the Japanese government made its definitive decision to surrender "on June 20, 1945, at a meeting of the Supreme War Direction Council, in the Emperor's presence." At that time, the only concern in Tokyo was the fate of Emperor Hirohito. The Japanese diplomats wanted the Emperor's status to be respected after the war, because he was a divine being to the Japanese people. For this purpose, they asked the Soviets to serve as intermediaries to end the war.

    Through decoding Japanese telegrams on July 13, the Truman administration learned that Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo had sent the following message to his ambassador in Moscow: "'Unconditional surrender' is the only obstacle to peace." This made Secretary of War Henry Stimson and General George C. Marshall argue that "we cease talking about unconditional surrender of Japan and begin to define our true objective in terms of defeat and disarmament." Even Churchill "favored stepping back from unconditional surrender." In fact Stimson included "language guaranteeing the continuance of the imperial dynasty" in a draft of the Potsdam Ultimatum. Truman, however, ignored Stimson and Churchill's arguments. Furthermore, he replaced "Stimson's paragraph on the retention of 'the present dynasty'" with the phrase unconditional surrender. At the time of making that decision, Truman was sure that Japan would refuse the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, which could be proved by the fact that he had sanctioned the order to drop the atomic bomb on Japan on July 24, two days before the Potsdam Declaration.

    As Truman had anticipated, the Japanese rejected the Potsdam Declaration. On August 9 before the bombing over Nagasaki, however, the Japanese government decided to accept the Potsdam Declaration "with one reservational guarantee of the imperial institution." Three days after Japan's decision, the Truman administration accepted "this provision in rather ambiguous language." This policy change prompted Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes to raise the following point after Japan's conditional surrender was accepted: "I cannot understand why we should go further than we were willing to go at Potsdam when we had no atomic bomb, and Russia was not in the war."

    In consideration of the aforementioned process, the atomic bombs altered nothing regarding the Japanese attitude. In addition, the decision to drop the atomic bomb was made prior to Japan's refusal to accept the Potsdam Declaration. Therefore, it can be said that the atomic bomb was not used for nor drew forth unconditional surrender of Japan.


    Military Retaliation for the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

    If military retaliation was a priority, methods suggested by General Curtis E. Lemay might have been more effective. Lemay stated the following: "you've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough they stop fighting." Exercising his belief, General Lemay, on the evening of March 9, 1945, directed upon Tokyo incendiary bombs that could boil even canals and subsequently killed more than 100,000 men, women, and children, while leaving one million citizens injured. On the other hand, the dropping of the atomic bombs brought approximately 200,000 casualties in Hiroshima and 140,000 casualties in Nagasaki over the five years following. It is known that 70,000 people died and 130,000 were injured in the 25 days following the dropping of the bombs. Thus, military retaliation could have been accomplished without the use of an atomic bomb since the incendiary bombs clearly surpassed the atomic bombs in killing capacity. The Truman administration, however, gave little consideration to replacing the atomic bomb.


    Ensuring Superiority of the U.S. over the Soviet Union

    Historian Barton J. Bernstein has indicated that using the atomic bomb as political weapons to ensure the military and psychological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union could not be regarded as a primary purpose, even though Truman had considered the atomic option ever since he had learned of its existence. It seems evident that Truman recognized the atomic bomb not only as a military weapon but also as a political lever. In this regard, the dropping of the atomic bomb served as a demonstration of the power of the United States not only to Japan but to the world. As Bernstein has argued, however, a political motivation may have been one of the reasons for the dropping, but it was not a vital reason.


    Responsibility for the Massive Expenditure on the Atomic Venture

    The massive expenditure on the development of the atomic weapons may have proved its worth through the successful result of the Trinity test. Indeed when Truman was informed about the Trinity test results, he clearly realized the great power of the atomic bomb, so that there was no need to confirm the results by an additional test.


    TRUMAN'S DECISION AS A MATTER OF CHOICE

    In The Decision to Drop the Bomb Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed have asserted that the dropping of the atomic bomb over Japan was a matter of choice, not an inevitable occurrence. Actually all military leaders who knew of the Manhattan Project did not advocate military use of the atomic bomb. For example, two great military leaders Dwight D. Eisenhower and William D. Leahy opposed such a decision as a choice that would create ethical problems. Especially Elsenhower indicated that: "Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary."

    Given that the dropping of the atomic bomb was not inevitable and that the president of the United States at that time was not Truman, would it have been possible to avoid the use of the atomic bomb? With regard to Indochina, political scientist Fred I. Greenstein has argued that in 1954 Vice President Richard M. Nixon would have employed "a large-scale American military involvement" as opposed to Elsenhower's decision to take a diplomatic course of action. Nixon opposed Elsenhower's decision at that time. This scenario may be applied to Truman's atomic bomb decision. If Eisenhower had been president at that time, would he have used the atomic bomb? Arguably, the answer is he would not.

    As a matter of fact, "when Truman said he was going to use the atomic weapons, Eisenhower challenged him directly" because of his belief that the atomic bomb was "an inhuman weapon." Truman, however, "regarded the nuclear attacks as necessary, wise, justifiable, and moral." Furthermore, after the dropping of the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Truman stated: "This is the greatest thing in history.” These characterizations of Truman suggest that his decision was not an unavoidable political decision but rather, a psychologically-motivated decision affected by Truman's personal characteristics.


    THE CHILDHOOD ORIGINS OF TRUMAN'S HOSTILITY

    The reason that Truman decided to use the atomic bomb against Japan appears to be related to his belief that doing so was a great thing. What made him believe this to be so?

    While explaining the background leading up to the use of the atomic bomb, Truman mentioned, "I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of the 'pigheadedness' of the leaders of a nation." But his attitude was decisive: "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast."

    Truman's comments may not be as extreme as Adolf Hitl*r's vow to wipe out "Poles, Russians, Slavs, Jews—every nationality east of Germany," but to an amazingly large degree, they share a commonality with arguments used by parents who use corporal punishment against childhood misbehavior. In this sense, it seems essential to investigate the source of Truman's hostility which apparently forced him to view enemy nations as subhuman in order to understand the motivational factors for his decision to use the atomic bomb.

    Many psychohistorical studies have shown that political strategies related to wars tend to be closely connected to emotional experiences in the childhood of those who made the decisions. Psychohistorian Lloyd deMause suggests that wars might be "magical gestures designed to ensure love through projection into enemies... by killing the bad-child self." According to him, during a war "the enemy nations also are imagined as bad children, disobedient, disgusting, violent, sexual—everything one was accused of as a child by one's caregivers." Therefore, Truman's hostility seems to be related to his projection of [the] bad-child self.


    TRUMAN'S FEAR OF THE FEMININE

    The logical place to begin an examination and understanding of the reasons driving Truman to perceive the Japanese as beasts would be his childhood and his relationship with his parents. In particular, this study intends to focus on Truman's vulnerable masculinity apparently derived from his childhood experiences with his parents.

    Psychologist Stephen J. Ducat has argued that femiphobia of male politicians may shape their political decision-making and behaviors. Femiphobia refers to "men's fear of the feminine." According to Ducat, like paranoia "femiphobia is a response to an unwanted part of the self that is projected out into the world and then experienced as a persecutory threat.” Unfortunately there is "no haven from femiphobia," so that these males with difficulties in forming appropriate masculinity develop their unique defensive strategies which in turn affect their political decision-making. In this context, this study attempts to examine the relationship between Truman's femiphobia and his decision to drop the atomic bomb.


    A MOST UNUSUAL MOTHER

    On May 8, 1884, Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, "a state where the horrors of an earlier conflict, the Civil War, were still living memories." According to Truman's sister, their mother Martha was "a most unusual mother." Martha, "the daughter of a legendary America," was a woman of strong personality.

    As an 11-year-old, Martha personally experienced "the savagery of the Civil War." She witnessed her 15-year-old brother being tortured, which imprinted a painful memory that lasted over 80 years on her mind and "left her an unreconstructed Southerner for life."

    Martha, the daughter of a major figure in her community, preferred to ride horseback in the field rather than assist in household duties such as cooking. Despite her father's objection, she insisted on going to college and became an amazing woman, a rarely seen female, country-born, college graduate. Her granddaughter described her as follows: "When she decided to do things, she just did them. She got what she wanted."

    Martha had great affection toward her children, although sometimes she did exhibit unusual parental behavior. For instance, she would toss the two-year-old Truman out a second-story window into the arms of his uncle. "It was a great, squealy game" to a toddler.

    Martha's child-rearing was very strict. Truman introduced her stern discipline as follows: "When I misbehaved, she switched me, and I never thought anything of it." Whenever he argued against his mother's will, young Truman "got spanked for it." As a consequence, he never contradicted or argued with his mother. Truman mentioned, "In those days what was right was right, and what was wrong was wrong, and you didn't have to talk about it. You accepted it."

    Throughout her life, Martha cherished "her pioneer-parents' example of hard work and hardy spirits" which she tried to hand over to her children. With his younger brother Vivian, Truman had to do "the chores, most of them farm work—milking the cows, herding them to pasture and back, currying the horses, taking the animals to a big public spring two blocks south for water, weeding the garden." He also distributed newspapers in order to earn an allowance.

    Martha, who had graduated from college, disliked the simple farm life, and thus taught Truman to do his best in literary and musical endeavors, which his father and most of the neighbors considered as "a bit odd for a farm boy. From the time when he was not able to reach the pedals of the piano, Martha had Truman practice the piano every day for two hours, beginning at five o'clock in the morning. She also started to teach Truman at age five to read her large-print Bible, prompting his reading "all three thousand books in the library" by the time he was 14.

    In an interview, Truman related that in his youth he was too busy to involve himself in delinquent behavior. Having witnessed his hard work, his girlfriend once wished Truman "did not have to work so hard." She also said: "Piled on top of the piano lessons, chores at home, and school assignments, the job was too much for him."

    Martha's "relentless work ethic" did not threaten her own health but seemed to weaken young Truman's health to a large degree. For example, the 10-year-old Truman and his younger brother were simultaneously infected with diphtheria. His brother recovered quickly but Truman "lingered for months, his throat and right side paralyzed." On his 10th birthday, Truman "was unable to walk and had to be moved about in a baby buggy."


    MAMA'S BOY VERSUS PAPA'S BOY

    Truman's father John was a mule trader of firm character, though small in stature. In an interview, Truman said, "My father was a fighter, and if he didn't like what you did, he'd fight you.” John, who was honest, tried to become a politician but ended up with no distinguishing accomplishment.

    John disciplined his children as strictly as Martha. One day, Truman fell off a pony on his way back home. His father became angry and made him walk home, insisting that a person who could not stay on horse was not worthy to ride. Truman walked home crying. Upon Truman's arrival home, his mother became furious because she thought John had given young Truman an undeserved punishment.

    In contrast with Martha, John never physically punished Truman. Nevertheless, Truman did not like his father's form of discipline: "he got mad at you over something or other, he could give you a scolding that would burn the hide off of you. I'd rather have taken the licking."

    While Vivian was a papa's boy, Truman was a mama's boy. In contrast with Truman, Vivian displayed no interest in books and the piano. Instead, he was interested in livestock trading from a young age and became his father's "junior partner" with his own checkbook and account by the age of 12.

    Truman tried to earn his father's trust through hard work but could never achieve a good relationship with him. When he was 11, Truman gave his father the money he had earned at a drugstore. His father appreciated his loyalty, but to Truman's disappointment, his father did not accept the gift. His life with his father, "a demanding perfectionist," continually caused Truman a sense of inadequacy. His father did not tolerate even trivial mistakes that Truman committed. Truman stated, "If a crooked row or a blank space showed in the cornfield or the wheat, I'd hear of it for a year." In young adulthood, Truman answered a question on an insurance-related document: "Which do you resemble in general characteristics, father or mother?" His answer was "mother."


    A HAPPY SISSY

    Truman's childhood memories always characterized a cheerful period in his life. In one particular interview, Truman mentioned, "I had just the happiest childhood that could ever be imagined." The actual portrait of his youth, however, was "what it was like being a kid who was lonely, who was teased, who because he might break his glasses never played any games with his brother, Vivian, and the boys of the neighborhood."

    Truman's friends used to call him a sissy. In reference to his youth, Truman said, "If there was any danger of getting into a fight, I always ran." These experiences planted "an Inferiority complex" in his mind. Under such circumstances, Truman sought out his mother's compliments by satisfying her demands instead of hanging out with peers.

    He spent most of his time helping his mother with cooking and babysitting his sister rather than playing outside like other children. He acted like a mother grooming his sister's hair and rocking her to put her to sleep. His sister Mary described Truman at those times: "when I was outdoors, he wouldn't let me out of his sight. He was so afraid I'd hurt myself."

    As time went by, Truman became engrossed in reading and strongly attracted to heroic stories, from which he learned important principles of life. These readings provided him with one of his most repeated maxims: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Due to his desire to gratify his parents, teachers and friends, Truman "just smiled his way along."

    In 1901 Truman's father became bankrupt through an imprudent investment in wheat futures, and his family fell into financial difficulties, forcing Truman to work after his high school graduation as a timekeeper for a railroad construction firm. At that time, he was the only family member earning a regular income. Later, Truman became a bank clerk, but his father wanted him home to assist with farm work. Feeling a sense of responsibility for his family, Truman quit his attractive job and decided to "go in with daddy, even on his debts." After returning home, he did his best to gratify his parents, which made him a very busy young farmer. Prior to dinner time, he would play Mozart at his mother's request, even though he was still muddy from the day's farm work.

    Truman was so shy that he was afraid to speak in public. On one occasion, the 29-year-old Truman "expressed his fear of giving talks to groups of school children." Later, he described himself at those times as "a guy with spectacles and a girl mouth." For a while, however, he was attracted to masculine sports. In his high school days he fenced with his friends, dreaming of becoming a professional soldier. In fact, during his second year of high school, he started to prepare for entry to West Point, but his poor vision eventually compelled him to abandon this dream.

    Truman did not seem to acquire "assertive masculinity" until young adulthood, despite his interest and desire for masculine activities. Especially, Truman has stated he was always afraid of girls his age and older. In this regard, he may be considered as a typical femiphobe. At social meetings where young men and women paired up, he was usually accompanied by his cousin Ethel. But since he was 5, he had had a one-sided love of Bess Wallace, who was from one of the community's best families. After 21 years of longing for her love, he sent his first love letter to her in December 1910.

    Truman "was old fashioned even for those times." His scrupulous morals, which he inherited from his 19th century-bred mother, led him to be "the model of a young man on his way to sip a sarsaparilla with his best girl on the porch swing." His demeanor, including his attitude toward his girlfriend, made him a greatly admired member of his community: he abstained from drinking and smoking, was mannerly in words and deeds, was deferential to the elderly, and was eminently reliable.


    TRUMAN'S SELF-DECEPTION

    At last the 21-year old Truman could fulfill his long-cherished aspiration by joining a new National Guard artillery battery. He was attracted to the Guard experiences, especially a summer training camp and proudly returned home in his blue uniform. Unfortunately, his uniform reminded his grandmother of the Red Legs during the Civil war due to its resemblance to the uniforms of the raiders, so that she ordered, "Don't bring it here again." Neither did his father welcome the Guard activities. While his father himself had had ambitions of political prominence, he was very dissatisfied with his son's activities other than farm work.

    In 1914 when his father died of cancer, he was set free of farm work. He wanted to be a politician but it did not take him long before he realized that this would require a great deal of money. He wanted to engage in some type of tough and masculine business. With the expectation of making a fortune at one stroke, he invested in mining which only proved financially disastrous. The inheritance of his uncle Harrison saved him from serious financial embarrassment. Then he challenged the oil business without significant success.

    In 1917 Truman finally had an opportunity for his long-dreamed masculine job. He became furious at Germany's "unrestricted submarine warfare." Truman, who had suppressed his anger with smiles, now had a chance to fully express his anger without the pangs of conscience. He regarded "the forces of the Kaiser as barbarians who had to be beaten at any cost." The 33-year-old Truman was past the draft age; nevertheless, he enlisted in the military service by cheating in the physical: he memorized "the eye chart to pass the physical."

    At a battlefield Truman wrote in a letter to his cousin: "I am very anxious that Woodie [Woodrow Wilson] cease his gallavantin' around and send us home at once and quickly." Given that he ran away to avoid fighting in childhood, this statement constituted a significant change of his attitude. In this regard, he seemed to use one of the unconscious self-deceptions, that is, reaction formation. As a defense mechanism, reaction formation keeps ideas and affect in mind but their value is reversed. Reaction formation enables us to think and feel [that] we love unpleasant experiences, relentless duties and hated rivals. The predominant defense mechanism of Truman appeared to be reaction formation, even though it was not his only defense. Through reaction formation, Truman transformed his fear of typical masculine jobs into pleasure. As a typical neurotic mechanism, however, reaction formation rarely offers true pleasure to those who use it. Especially Truman's reaction formation seemed to have a rigidity in a degree that contained danger of blunting the demarcation of good and evil.

    On one occasion, "against court-martial" Captain Truman personally assaulted a frightened sergeant, who had made a wrong retreat order during a battle. The fact that Truman, who used to be teased about being a sissy in youth, turned into a stern commander who punished a warfrightened soldier seemed to indicate that his inner fear was stimulated. Moreover, Truman "took a decision that implied that he had not yet gauged the perils of combat." Yet, Truman's battery was "the luckiest in the regiment." Among his battery only one soldier died during the war, which might be the consequence of his dauntless leadership. But the fact that his battery conducted operations different from the infantry seems to be a more persuasive reason.


    QUESTIONABLE COHABITATION OF TRUMAN WITH THE MISSOURI GANG

    After returning from the war, the 35-year old Truman married Bess in 1919. He opened a haberdashery with his friend, one of the veterans, but it took only one year before he went bankrupt when "a deep recession struck . . ." He did not file for bankruptcy, however instead, promised to redeem by installment[s] for the next 20 years.

    Despite his financial difficulties, Truman held "faith in the ideal of the citizen-soldier" and kept on participating in military summer camps. Due to such efforts, he eventually "won promotion to the rank of colonel."

    During the period of identity confusion following consecutive failures in business, he maintained close relationship with war veteran James Pendergast, so that he "was picked to run for judge of the eastern section of Jackson County." James was a son of Mike Pendergast, a powerful politician in Kansas City. Truman won the election and became a member of "a Fighting County Court" under the law of the jungle.

    Although he was renowned as an assiduous and honest administrator, he "walked too many miles too blindly with the Pendergast machine." Truman's alliance with the Pendergast organization was his political Achilles' heel.

    Tom Pendergast, Mike Pendergast's boss and "the undisputed master of Kansas City politics," was addicted to gambling which led him to fall in debt and to sink in "outright theft, big time bribery, and underworld payoffs." Tom Pendergast was in collusion with John Lazia, who was recognized as "the chief of the Kansas City" by Al Capone. At that time, Kansas City was widely known "as a national crime center." Truman could not but bear "episodic public criticism as a partisan politician unable and probably unwilling to cut himself loose from a corrupt machine" because he took the Pendergast organization as his political base. For example, the Post-Dispatch illustrated him "as a ventriloquist's puppet, 'Charlie McTruman." Truman, suffering from the pangs of conscience, constantly questioned himself: "I don't know. ... [A]m I just a crook to compromise in order to get the job done?”

    In 1934, Tom Pendergast tapped Truman to run for the Senate. In the campaign, Truman defeated the anti-New Deal Republican senator. Although Truman was "undoubtedly the poorest Senator financially in Washington," he was conflicted due to his connection with Tom Pendergast.

    In 1939 when Tom Pendergast stood trial on the charge of corruption, Truman remarked to a journalist: "He has been a friend to me when I needed it. I am not one to desert a ship when it starts to go down." In Washington, Truman made various efforts to save Tom Pendergast but nobody paid attention to his suggestions. Even worse, such activities were regarded as a politically "suicidal decision," although he did not abandon the faith: "hard work could overcome any obstacle." Severe stress eventually caused his hospitalization during his 1940 reelection campaign.

    Truman won the 1940 senatorial reelection by a slim margin and took this victory as a vindication. Around that time Truman, who in his youth had been a conformist staying away from drinking and smoking, had become "a gutsy, bourbon-drinking, poker-playing, frank-speaking fighter."

    According to Ducat, as the result of defensive efforts against "unbearable feelings" of weakness and unstable masculinity, sometimes femiphobic males develop pseudo-masculine rituals: they swear, drink alcohol to excess, and gamble. Truman with a nickname of "Give' Em Hell Harry" not only observed those three pseudo-masculine rituals but also put great efforts to maintain close relationship[s] with gangs.

    Truman "was thrust into a presidency he had never sought" 82 days following his taking office as vice-president on January 20, 1945. One week after his installation as vice-president, Tom Pendergast died and Truman said: "He was always my friend and I have always been his." Contrary to his remarks, however, Tom Pendergast was the one who made Truman question himself constantly: "Am I a fool or an ethical giant?" In this regard, it can be said that Truman wanted to keep friends with someone who could not be a friend.

    Truman had a habit of writing memos about people whom he could not criticize publicly. He used the same method to express his anger even at Bess. But among his memos, none was related to Tom Pendergast. These anecdotes suggest how self-deceptive Truman's reaction formation was: he was not able to reveal his dissatisfaction openly.


    THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ORIGIN OF THE COLD WAR

    Greenstein once indicated Truman's tendency to identify Iosif V. Stalin with Tom Pendergast as one of his weaknesses in reality perception. However, Truman's attitude toward Stalin was totally different from the one toward Pendergast. After his installation as president he declared: "I intend to be firm in my dealing with the Soviet government."

    The politics of the time demanded that America make every effort to have the Soviet Union participate in the war in order to minimize the sacrifices of American forces and to end the war early; nevertheless, Truman tried to delay or to prevent the Soviet Union from entering the war. For example, he insulted Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov at an international meeting (e.g., Truman told Molotov "go to Hell"). Molotov became enraged and responded: "I have never been talked to like that in my life." Truman's demeanor cannot be a suitable attitude toward the minister of the nation that he expected to join in the Pacific War as an ally.

    The atomic bomb even more consolidated Truman's hostile attitude towards the Soviet government. After Truman received the report on the successful development of the atomic bomb, he "was tremendously pepped up by it.” According to Stimson, "it gave him an entirely new feeling of confidence." In the language of Truman, "the bomb could 'give us a hammer on those boys’—meaning, among others, the Soviets." After the war this attitude of Truman reached its peak when he promulgated the Truman Doctrine, a declaration of "an ideological or religious war.” His speech was overly rigid and dangerous to a degree that even his advisers became frightened. In this sense, the Truman Doctrine is closely related to his chronic femiphobia.



    ATOMIC BOMB AS ABSOLUTE MASCULINITY

    During World War I, Truman believed that the forces of the Kaiser, whom he had defined as barbarians, must be wiped off the face of the earth. Therefore, it seems natural for him to take the same attitude toward the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the "worst military disaster." Despite the fact that the Japanese attack was the consequence of a sophisticated political strategy planned by the American government, Truman, who "had virtually no one-to-one contact with" Roosevelt, seemed to be ignorant of that fact.


    As Truman's motivation to participate in World War I was related to femiphobia, his motivation to use the atomic bomb may be connected to his feelings of inferior masculinity. As a symbol of almighty power or absolute masculinity, the atomic bomb might appear to Truman with femiphobia as an oracle that could cure his inferiority feelings. Especially "Little Boy," the bomb dropped over Hiroshima, is presumed to have provided psychological compensation effects for his feelings of helplessness, which originated in the relationship with his dominant mother when he was a little boy. The reason why Truman said "This is the greatest thing in history" after the dropping of "Little Boy" may be that such an event symbolically manifests absolute masculinity.


    It is important to consider who the main target of the dropping was in order to understand the psychological meaning of the atomic bomb to Truman. Although he repeatedly emphasized only an important military base should be targeted, it seemed to be almost nothing but "lip service." At that time the majority of the Japanese residents consisted of females, children, and old people because most of the Japanese male adults were mobilized away from home. The fact that Truman ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb even though it was easily recognizable that only powerless, innocent people were to be victimized seems to be related to their lack of masculinity.


    Truman bluntly criticized the Japanese military leaders who would not surrender even as they confronted defeat, ridiculing their "pigheadedness." In a sense, however, their attitude closely resembled his own attitude when he made a politically suicidal decision regarding Tom Pendergast, commenting that he could not abandon a ship when it started to go down. Therefore, from the view of psychological symbols, in Truman's psychological world the Japanese female, children and old people are associated with his bad self which he unconsciously wished to eradicate.



    THE SISYPHEAN TASK OF TRUMAN AND PSYCHOHISTORICAL INSIGHT

    In Mothers of Sons, Linda R. Forcey indicated, "As many men see it, life itself is the Sisyphean task of trying to please mothers, trying to meet their expectations." This statement may be applied to Truman as well.

    According to Truman, he met his mother in his dream before her death. Then, she told him: "Good-bye, Harry. Be a good boy.” Truman appeared to work hard to be a good boy as his mother wanted. In an interview, the 75-year-old Truman mentioned: "I like to live up to my obligations." These anecdotes symbolically illustrate that Truman could not be free of psychological dependency on his mother even in his old age.

    As Ducat indicated, those males who grow up under the powerful control of their mothers cannot but confront the Sisyphean task, "ceaseless and anxious effort to prove and defend their manhood." In particular, the life of Truman illustrates a typical example in which a male politician, who tries to deal with femiphobia through reaction formation, is capable of such a catastrophic decision. When Truman, who had suffered from femiphobia, became president and obtained political initiative with the atomic bomb, his choice brought the worst disaster in human history.

    This psychohlstorical analysis on Truman's decision well demonstrates how closely the life of a political leader is related to his or her decisionmaking in terms of military policies. Psychohistorical studies, including this study, clearly illustrate the danger that political leaders without psychohistorical insight may make a disastrous political decision.




    “Even President Truman’s bigotry long antedated reports of Japanese savagery. As a young man courting his future wife, he wrote: ‘I think one man is as good as another, so long as he’s honest and decent…and not a nigg*r or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a white man of dust, a nigg*r from mud, then threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman.’ . . . . His biographer Merle Miller reported: ‘Privately, Mr. Truman always said nigg*r. At least he always did when I talked to him.’”


    ‘[In his childhood] Harry [Truman] . . . was diagnosed with flat eyeballs and forced to wear Coke bottle-thick glasses. He could not play sports and he was bullied by the other boys, who called him “four-eyes” and “sissy” and chased him home after school. When he arrived home trembling, his mother would comfort him by telling him not to worry because he was meant to be a girl anyway.

    Gender issues plagued him for years. He would often refer to his feminine features and attributes.’

    The Untold History of the United States (Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick)



    A Psychohistory of Truman's Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb by Ko, Young-Gun; Kim, Jin-Young

    The American writer Ralph W. Emerson once mentioned that "there is properly no history; only Biography." His statement deserves attention in the sense that it indicates an inseparable relationship between historical events and the life histories of the political leaders who orchestrated these events.

    In the case of a national leader who believes that he or she can alter history according to his or her will and actually puts such a will into practice, psychohistory, which investigates "the relationship of life histories to the historical moment," may establish a more significant contribution in understanding those historical events than other sciences. The relationship between the life history of Harry S. Truman and "the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan" may provide an instructive example. Truman firmly believed that "men make history; history doesn't make the man." This study, using a psychohistorical perspective, intends to identify the relationship between the childhood experiences of Truman and his historical decision to drop the atomic bomb.


    TRUMAN'S DECISION

    Although many believe Truman made the final decision to use the atomic bomb, some argue that he did not actually make that decision. The Hyde Park Aide-Memoire, written in September 1944, demonstrates that Winston L S. Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt had an agreement on the use of the atomic bomb: "when a 'bomb' is finally available, it might perhaps, after mature consideration, be used against the Japanese." In this regard, one of Truman's intimates argued: "Truman made no decision because there was no decision to be made. He could no more have stopped it than a train moving down a track."

    At that time, the atomic bomb had not been completed, so a final decision regarding its use was not possible. This led Roosevelt to raise "the question of whether... [the bomb] should actually be used against Japanese or whether it should be used only as a threat with full-scale experimentation [noncombat demonstration]" in a meeting held three days after that agreement. Roosevelt consented that the "subject could be postponed for quite a time, and [...] the matter did not now need to be discussed."

    In Memoirs Truman admitted: "The final decision of where and when to use the atomic bomb was up to me." Therefore, it is evident that he played a crucial role in making a decision on the use of the atomic bomb.


    POLITICAL BACKGROUND OF TRUMAN'S DECISION

    Historians suggest Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb was based on five major political factors: First, it would quickly end the war and minimize American casualties; second, it would obtain Japan's unconditional surrender; third, it would serve as retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; fourth, it would secure military and psychological superiority over the Soviet Union; and fifth, it would justify the "two billions of dollars on the atomic venture." Although these factors exerted considerable influence on Truman's decision-making, they did not assure the inevitability of his decision.


    Early Ending of the War

    In 1946 the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." Therefore, arguing that an early ending of the war justified the atomic bombing on Japan does not stand.


    Achieving Japan's Unconditional Surrender

    If the atomic bombs were used to achieve Japan's unconditional surrender, the demand for an unconditional surrender should have followed the dropping. But the Truman administration did not continue its efforts to persuade Japan to accept the terms of unconditional surrender. This can be readily confirmed through scrutinizing the historical process of Japan's surrender to the U.S.

    On July 17, 1945, through secret intercepting, the Truman administration already knew that "Japan officially if not publicly' [had] accepted its defeat.” Indeed the Japanese government made its definitive decision to surrender "on June 20, 1945, at a meeting of the Supreme War Direction Council, in the Emperor's presence." At that time, the only concern in Tokyo was the fate of Emperor Hirohito. The Japanese diplomats wanted the Emperor's status to be respected after the war, because he was a divine being to the Japanese people. For this purpose, they asked the Soviets to serve as intermediaries to end the war.

    Through decoding Japanese telegrams on July 13, the Truman administration learned that Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo had sent the following message to his ambassador in Moscow: "'Unconditional surrender' is the only obstacle to peace." This made Secretary of War Henry Stimson and General George C. Marshall argue that "we cease talking about unconditional surrender of Japan and begin to define our true objective in terms of defeat and disarmament." Even Churchill "favored stepping back from unconditional surrender." In fact Stimson included "language guaranteeing the continuance of the imperial dynasty" in a draft of the Potsdam Ultimatum. Truman, however, ignored Stimson and Churchill's arguments. Furthermore, he replaced "Stimson's paragraph on the retention of 'the present dynasty'" with the phrase unconditional surrender. At the time of making that decision, Truman was sure that Japan would refuse the Potsdam Declaration of July 26, which could be proved by the fact that he had sanctioned the order to drop the atomic bomb on Japan on July 24, two days before the Potsdam Declaration.

    As Truman had anticipated, the Japanese rejected the Potsdam Declaration. On August 9 before the bombing over Nagasaki, however, the Japanese government decided to accept the Potsdam Declaration "with one reservational guarantee of the imperial institution." Three days after Japan's decision, the Truman administration accepted "this provision in rather ambiguous language." This policy change prompted Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes to raise the following point after Japan's conditional surrender was accepted: "I cannot understand why we should go further than we were willing to go at Potsdam when we had no atomic bomb, and Russia was not in the war."

    In consideration of the aforementioned process, the atomic bombs altered nothing regarding the Japanese attitude. In addition, the decision to drop the atomic bomb was made prior to Japan's refusal to accept the Potsdam Declaration. Therefore, it can be said that the atomic bomb was not used for nor drew forth unconditional surrender of Japan.


    Military Retaliation for the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

    If military retaliation was a priority, methods suggested by General Curtis E. Lemay might have been more effective. Lemay stated the following: "you've got to kill people, and when you've killed enough they stop fighting." Exercising his belief, General Lemay, on the evening of March 9, 1945, directed upon Tokyo incendiary bombs that could boil even canals and subsequently killed more than 100,000 men, women, and children, while leaving one million citizens injured. On the other hand, the dropping of the atomic bombs brought approximately 200,000 casualties in Hiroshima and 140,000 casualties in Nagasaki over the five years following. It is known that 70,000 people died and 130,000 were injured in the 25 days following the dropping of the bombs. Thus, military retaliation could have been accomplished without the use of an atomic bomb since the incendiary bombs clearly surpassed the atomic bombs in killing capacity. The Truman administration, however, gave little consideration to replacing the atomic bomb.


    Ensuring Superiority of the U.S. over the Soviet Union

    Historian Barton J. Bernstein has indicated that using the atomic bomb as political weapons to ensure the military and psychological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union could not be regarded as a primary purpose, even though Truman had considered the atomic option ever since he had learned of its existence. It seems evident that Truman recognized the atomic bomb not only as a military weapon but also as a political lever. In this regard, the dropping of the atomic bomb served as a demonstration of the power of the United States not only to Japan but to the world. As Bernstein has argued, however, a political motivation may have been one of the reasons for the dropping, but it was not a vital reason.


    Responsibility for the Massive Expenditure on the Atomic Venture

    The massive expenditure on the development of the atomic weapons may have proved its worth through the successful result of the Trinity test. Indeed when Truman was informed about the Trinity test results, he clearly realized the great power of the atomic bomb, so that there was no need to confirm the results by an additional test.


    TRUMAN'S DECISION AS A MATTER OF CHOICE

    In The Decision to Drop the Bomb Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed have asserted that the dropping of the atomic bomb over Japan was a matter of choice, not an inevitable occurrence. Actually all military leaders who knew of the Manhattan Project did not advocate military use of the atomic bomb. For example, two great military leaders Dwight D. Eisenhower and William D. Leahy opposed such a decision as a choice that would create ethical problems. Especially Elsenhower indicated that: "Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary."

    Given that the dropping of the atomic bomb was not inevitable and that the president of the United States at that time was not Truman, would it have been possible to avoid the use of the atomic bomb? With regard to Indochina, political scientist Fred I. Greenstein has argued that in 1954 Vice President Richard M. Nixon would have employed "a large-scale American military involvement" as opposed to Elsenhower's decision to take a diplomatic course of action. Nixon opposed Elsenhower's decision at that time. This scenario may be applied to Truman's atomic bomb decision. If Eisenhower had been president at that time, would he have used the atomic bomb? Arguably, the answer is he would not.

    As a matter of fact, "when Truman said he was going to use the atomic weapons, Eisenhower challenged him directly" because of his belief that the atomic bomb was "an inhuman weapon." Truman, however, "regarded the nuclear attacks as necessary, wise, justifiable, and moral." Furthermore, after the dropping of the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Truman stated: "This is the greatest thing in history.” These characterizations of Truman suggest that his decision was not an unavoidable political decision but rather, a psychologically-motivated decision affected by Truman's personal characteristics.


    THE CHILDHOOD ORIGINS OF TRUMAN'S HOSTILITY

    The reason that Truman decided to use the atomic bomb against Japan appears to be related to his belief that doing so was a great thing. What made him believe this to be so?

    While explaining the background leading up to the use of the atomic bomb, Truman mentioned, "I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of the 'pigheadedness' of the leaders of a nation." But his attitude was decisive: "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast."

    Truman's comments may not be as extreme as Adolf Hitl*r's vow to wipe out "Poles, Russians, Slavs, Jews—every nationality east of Germany," but to an amazingly large degree, they share a commonality with arguments used by parents who use corporal punishment against childhood misbehavior. In this sense, it seems essential to investigate the source of Truman's hostility which apparently forced him to view enemy nations as subhuman in order to understand the motivational factors for his decision to use the atomic bomb.

    Many psychohistorical studies have shown that political strategies related to wars tend to be closely connected to emotional experiences in the childhood of those who made the decisions. Psychohistorian Lloyd deMause suggests that wars might be "magical gestures designed to ensure love through projection into enemies... by killing the bad-child self." According to him, during a war "the enemy nations also are imagined as bad children, disobedient, disgusting, violent, sexual—everything one was accused of as a child by one's caregivers." Therefore, Truman's hostility seems to be related to his projection of [the] bad-child self.


    TRUMAN'S FEAR OF THE FEMININE

    The logical place to begin an examination and understanding of the reasons driving Truman to perceive the Japanese as beasts would be his childhood and his relationship with his parents. In particular, this study intends to focus on Truman's vulnerable masculinity apparently derived from his childhood experiences with his parents.

    Psychologist Stephen J. Ducat has argued that femiphobia of male politicians may shape their political decision-making and behaviors. Femiphobia refers to "men's fear of the feminine." According to Ducat, like paranoia "femiphobia is a response to an unwanted part of the self that is projected out into the world and then experienced as a persecutory threat.” Unfortunately there is "no haven from femiphobia," so that these males with difficulties in forming appropriate masculinity develop their unique defensive strategies which in turn affect their political decision-making. In this context, this study attempts to examine the relationship between Truman's femiphobia and his decision to drop the atomic bomb.


    A MOST UNUSUAL MOTHER

    On May 8, 1884, Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, "a state where the horrors of an earlier conflict, the Civil War, were still living memories." According to Truman's sister, their mother Martha was "a most unusual mother." Martha, "the daughter of a legendary America," was a woman of strong personality.

    As an 11-year-old, Martha personally experienced "the savagery of the Civil War." She witnessed her 15-year-old brother being tortured, which imprinted a painful memory that lasted over 80 years on her mind and "left her an unreconstructed Southerner for life."

    Martha, the daughter of a major figure in her community, preferred to ride horseback in the field rather than assist in household duties such as cooking. Despite her father's objection, she insisted on going to college and became an amazing woman, a rarely seen female, country-born, college graduate. Her granddaughter described her as follows: "When she decided to do things, she just did them. She got what she wanted."

    Martha had great affection toward her children, although sometimes she did exhibit unusual parental behavior. For instance, she would toss the two-year-old Truman out a second-story window into the arms of his uncle. "It was a great, squealy game" to a toddler.

    Martha's child-rearing was very strict. Truman introduced her stern discipline as follows: "When I misbehaved, she switched me, and I never thought anything of it." Whenever he argued against his mother's will, young Truman "got spanked for it." As a consequence, he never contradicted or argued with his mother. Truman mentioned, "In those days what was right was right, and what was wrong was wrong, and you didn't have to talk about it. You accepted it."

    Throughout her life, Martha cherished "her pioneer-parents' example of hard work and hardy spirits" which she tried to hand over to her children. With his younger brother Vivian, Truman had to do "the chores, most of them farm work—milking the cows, herding them to pasture and back, currying the horses, taking the animals to a big public spring two blocks south for water, weeding the garden." He also distributed newspapers in order to earn an allowance.

    Martha, who had graduated from college, disliked the simple farm life, and thus taught Truman to do his best in literary and musical endeavors, which his father and most of the neighbors considered as "a bit odd for a farm boy. From the time when he was not able to reach the pedals of the piano, Martha had Truman practice the piano every day for two hours, beginning at five o'clock in the morning. She also started to teach Truman at age five to read her large-print Bible, prompting his reading "all three thousand books in the library" by the time he was 14.

    In an interview, Truman related that in his youth he was too busy to involve himself in delinquent behavior. Having witnessed his hard work, his girlfriend once wished Truman "did not have to work so hard." She also said: "Piled on top of the piano lessons, chores at home, and school assignments, the job was too much for him."

    Martha's "relentless work ethic" did not threaten her own health but seemed to weaken young Truman's health to a large degree. For example, the 10-year-old Truman and his younger brother were simultaneously infected with diphtheria. His brother recovered quickly but Truman "lingered for months, his throat and right side paralyzed." On his 10th birthday, Truman "was unable to walk and had to be moved about in a baby buggy."


    MAMA'S BOY VERSUS PAPA'S BOY

    Truman's father John was a mule trader of firm character, though small in stature. In an interview, Truman said, "My father was a fighter, and if he didn't like what you did, he'd fight you.” John, who was honest, tried to become a politician but ended up with no distinguishing accomplishment.

    John disciplined his children as strictly as Martha. One day, Truman fell off a pony on his way back home. His father became angry and made him walk home, insisting that a person who could not stay on horse was not worthy to ride. Truman walked home crying. Upon Truman's arrival home, his mother became furious because she thought John had given young Truman an undeserved punishment.

    In contrast with Martha, John never physically punished Truman. Nevertheless, Truman did not like his father's form of discipline: "he got mad at you over something or other, he could give you a scolding that would burn the hide off of you. I'd rather have taken the licking."

    While Vivian was a papa's boy, Truman was a mama's boy. In contrast with Truman, Vivian displayed no interest in books and the piano. Instead, he was interested in livestock trading from a young age and became his father's "junior partner" with his own checkbook and account by the age of 12.

    Truman tried to earn his father's trust through hard work but could never achieve a good relationship with him. When he was 11, Truman gave his father the money he had earned at a drugstore. His father appreciated his loyalty, but to Truman's disappointment, his father did not accept the gift. His life with his father, "a demanding perfectionist," continually caused Truman a sense of inadequacy. His father did not tolerate even trivial mistakes that Truman committed. Truman stated, "If a crooked row or a blank space showed in the cornfield or the wheat, I'd hear of it for a year." In young adulthood, Truman answered a question on an insurance-related document: "Which do you resemble in general characteristics, father or mother?" His answer was "mother."


    A HAPPY SISSY

    Truman's childhood memories always characterized a cheerful period in his life. In one particular interview, Truman mentioned, "I had just the happiest childhood that could ever be imagined." The actual portrait of his youth, however, was "what it was like being a kid who was lonely, who was teased, who because he might break his glasses never played any games with his brother, Vivian, and the boys of the neighborhood."

    Truman's friends used to call him a sissy. In reference to his youth, Truman said, "If there was any danger of getting into a fight, I always ran." These experiences planted "an Inferiority complex" in his mind. Under such circumstances, Truman sought out his mother's compliments by satisfying her demands instead of hanging out with peers.

    He spent most of his time helping his mother with cooking and babysitting his sister rather than playing outside like other children. He acted like a mother grooming his sister's hair and rocking her to put her to sleep. His sister Mary described Truman at those times: "when I was outdoors, he wouldn't let me out of his sight. He was so afraid I'd hurt myself."

    As time went by, Truman became engrossed in reading and strongly attracted to heroic stories, from which he learned important principles of life. These readings provided him with one of his most repeated maxims: "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Due to his desire to gratify his parents, teachers and friends, Truman "just smiled his way along."

    In 1901 Truman's father became bankrupt through an imprudent investment in wheat futures, and his family fell into financial difficulties, forcing Truman to work after his high school graduation as a timekeeper for a railroad construction firm. At that time, he was the only family member earning a regular income. Later, Truman became a bank clerk, but his father wanted him home to assist with farm work. Feeling a sense of responsibility for his family, Truman quit his attractive job and decided to "go in with daddy, even on his debts." After returning home, he did his best to gratify his parents, which made him a very busy young farmer. Prior to dinner time, he would play Mozart at his mother's request, even though he was still muddy from the day's farm work.

    Truman was so shy that he was afraid to speak in public. On one occasion, the 29-year-old Truman "expressed his fear of giving talks to groups of school children." Later, he described himself at those times as "a guy with spectacles and a girl mouth." For a while, however, he was attracted to masculine sports. In his high school days he fenced with his friends, dreaming of becoming a professional soldier. In fact, during his second year of high school, he started to prepare for entry to West Point, but his poor vision eventually compelled him to abandon this dream.

    Truman did not seem to acquire "assertive masculinity" until young adulthood, despite his interest and desire for masculine activities. Especially, Truman has stated he was always afraid of girls his age and older. In this regard, he may be considered as a typical femiphobe. At social meetings where young men and women paired up, he was usually accompanied by his cousin Ethel. But since he was 5, he had had a one-sided love of Bess Wallace, who was from one of the community's best families. After 21 years of longing for her love, he sent his first love letter to her in December 1910.

    Truman "was old fashioned even for those times." His scrupulous morals, which he inherited from his 19th century-bred mother, led him to be "the model of a young man on his way to sip a sarsaparilla with his best girl on the porch swing." His demeanor, including his attitude toward his girlfriend, made him a greatly admired member of his community: he abstained from drinking and smoking, was mannerly in words and deeds, was deferential to the elderly, and was eminently reliable.


    TRUMAN'S SELF-DECEPTION

    At last the 21-year old Truman could fulfill his long-cherished aspiration by joining a new National Guard artillery battery. He was attracted to the Guard experiences, especially a summer training camp and proudly returned home in his blue uniform. Unfortunately, his uniform reminded his grandmother of the Red Legs during the Civil war due to its resemblance to the uniforms of the raiders, so that she ordered, "Don't bring it here again." Neither did his father welcome the Guard activities. While his father himself had had ambitions of political prominence, he was very dissatisfied with his son's activities other than farm work.

    In 1914 when his father died of cancer, he was set free of farm work. He wanted to be a politician but it did not take him long before he realized that this would require a great deal of money. He wanted to engage in some type of tough and masculine business. With the expectation of making a fortune at one stroke, he invested in mining which only proved financially disastrous. The inheritance of his uncle Harrison saved him from serious financial embarrassment. Then he challenged the oil business without significant success.

    In 1917 Truman finally had an opportunity for his long-dreamed masculine job. He became furious at Germany's "unrestricted submarine warfare." Truman, who had suppressed his anger with smiles, now had a chance to fully express his anger without the pangs of conscience. He regarded "the forces of the Kaiser as barbarians who had to be beaten at any cost." The 33-year-old Truman was past the draft age; nevertheless, he enlisted in the military service by cheating in the physical: he memorized "the eye chart to pass the physical."

    At a battlefield Truman wrote in a letter to his cousin: "I am very anxious that Woodie [Woodrow Wilson] cease his gallavantin' around and send us home at once and quickly." Given that he ran away to avoid fighting in childhood, this statement constituted a significant change of his attitude. In this regard, he seemed to use one of the unconscious self-deceptions, that is, reaction formation. As a defense mechanism, reaction formation keeps ideas and affect in mind but their value is reversed. Reaction formation enables us to think and feel [that] we love unpleasant experiences, relentless duties and hated rivals. The predominant defense mechanism of Truman appeared to be reaction formation, even though it was not his only defense. Through reaction formation, Truman transformed his fear of typical masculine jobs into pleasure. As a typical neurotic mechanism, however, reaction formation rarely offers true pleasure to those who use it. Especially Truman's reaction formation seemed to have a rigidity in a degree that contained danger of blunting the demarcation of good and evil.

    On one occasion, "against court-martial" Captain Truman personally assaulted a frightened sergeant, who had made a wrong retreat order during a battle. The fact that Truman, who used to be teased about being a sissy in youth, turned into a stern commander who punished a warfrightened soldier seemed to indicate that his inner fear was stimulated. Moreover, Truman "took a decision that implied that he had not yet gauged the perils of combat." Yet, Truman's battery was "the luckiest in the regiment." Among his battery only one soldier died during the war, which might be the consequence of his dauntless leadership. But the fact that his battery conducted operations different from the infantry seems to be a more persuasive reason.


    QUESTIONABLE COHABITATION OF TRUMAN WITH THE MISSOURI GANG

    After returning from the war, the 35-year old Truman married Bess in 1919. He opened a haberdashery with his friend, one of the veterans, but it took only one year before he went bankrupt when "a deep recession struck . . ." He did not file for bankruptcy, however instead, promised to redeem by installment[s] for the next 20 years.

    Despite his financial difficulties, Truman held "faith in the ideal of the citizen-soldier" and kept on participating in military summer camps. Due to such efforts, he eventually "won promotion to the rank of colonel."

    During the period of identity confusion following consecutive failures in business, he maintained close relationship with war veteran James Pendergast, so that he "was picked to run for judge of the eastern section of Jackson County." James was a son of Mike Pendergast, a powerful politician in Kansas City. Truman won the election and became a member of "a Fighting County Court" under the law of the jungle.

    Although he was renowned as an assiduous and honest administrator, he "walked too many miles too blindly with the Pendergast machine." Truman's alliance with the Pendergast organization was his political Achilles' heel.

    Tom Pendergast, Mike Pendergast's boss and "the undisputed master of Kansas City politics," was addicted to gambling which led him to fall in debt and to sink in "outright theft, big time bribery, and underworld payoffs." Tom Pendergast was in collusion with John Lazia, who was recognized as "the chief of the Kansas City" by Al Capone. At that time, Kansas City was widely known "as a national crime center." Truman could not but bear "episodic public criticism as a partisan politician unable and probably unwilling to cut himself loose from a corrupt machine" because he took the Pendergast organization as his political base. For example, the Post-Dispatch illustrated him "as a ventriloquist's puppet, 'Charlie McTruman." Truman, suffering from the pangs of conscience, constantly questioned himself: "I don't know. ... [A]m I just a crook to compromise in order to get the job done?”

    In 1934, Tom Pendergast tapped Truman to run for the Senate. In the campaign, Truman defeated the anti-New Deal Republican senator. Although Truman was "undoubtedly the poorest Senator financially in Washington," he was conflicted due to his connection with Tom Pendergast.

    In 1939 when Tom Pendergast stood trial on the charge of corruption, Truman remarked to a journalist: "He has been a friend to me when I needed it. I am not one to desert a ship when it starts to go down." In Washington, Truman made various efforts to save Tom Pendergast but nobody paid attention to his suggestions. Even worse, such activities were regarded as a politically "suicidal decision," although he did not abandon the faith: "hard work could overcome any obstacle." Severe stress eventually caused his hospitalization during his 1940 reelection campaign.

    Truman won the 1940 senatorial reelection by a slim margin and took this victory as a vindication. Around that time Truman, who in his youth had been a conformist staying away from drinking and smoking, had become "a gutsy, bourbon-drinking, poker-playing, frank-speaking fighter."

    According to Ducat, as the result of defensive efforts against "unbearable feelings" of weakness and unstable masculinity, sometimes femiphobic males develop pseudo-masculine rituals: they swear, drink alcohol to excess, and gamble. Truman with a nickname of "Give' Em Hell Harry" not only observed those three pseudo-masculine rituals but also put great efforts to maintain close relationship[s] with gangs.

    Truman "was thrust into a presidency he had never sought" 82 days following his taking office as vice-president on January 20, 1945. One week after his installation as vice-president, Tom Pendergast died and Truman said: "He was always my friend and I have always been his." Contrary to his remarks, however, Tom Pendergast was the one who made Truman question himself constantly: "Am I a fool or an ethical giant?" In this regard, it can be said that Truman wanted to keep friends with someone who could not be a friend.

    Truman had a habit of writing memos about people whom he could not criticize publicly. He used the same method to express his anger even at Bess. But among his memos, none was related to Tom Pendergast. These anecdotes suggest how self-deceptive Truman's reaction formation was: he was not able to reveal his dissatisfaction openly.


    THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ORIGIN OF THE COLD WAR

    Greenstein once indicated Truman's tendency to identify Iosif V. Stalin with Tom Pendergast as one of his weaknesses in reality perception. However, Truman's attitude toward Stalin was totally different from the one toward Pendergast. After his installation as president he declared: "I intend to be firm in my dealing with the Soviet government."

    The politics of the time demanded that America make every effort to have the Soviet Union participate in the war in order to minimize the sacrifices of American forces and to end the war early; nevertheless, Truman tried to delay or to prevent the Soviet Union from entering the war. For example, he insulted Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov at an international meeting (e.g., Truman told Molotov "go to Hell"). Molotov became enraged and responded: "I have never been talked to like that in my life." Truman's demeanor cannot be a suitable attitude toward the minister of the nation that he expected to join in the Pacific War as an ally.

    The atomic bomb even more consolidated Truman's hostile attitude towards the Soviet government. After Truman received the report on the successful development of the atomic bomb, he "was tremendously pepped up by it.” According to Stimson, "it gave him an entirely new feeling of confidence." In the language of Truman, "the bomb could 'give us a hammer on those boys’—meaning, among others, the Soviets." After the war this attitude of Truman reached its peak when he promulgated the Truman Doctrine, a declaration of "an ideological or religious war.” His speech was overly rigid and dangerous to a degree that even his advisers became frightened. In this sense, the Truman Doctrine is closely related to his chronic femiphobia.



    ATOMIC BOMB AS ABSOLUTE MASCULINITY

    During World War I, Truman believed that the forces of the Kaiser, whom he had defined as barbarians, must be wiped off the face of the earth. Therefore, it seems natural for him to take the same attitude toward the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the "worst military disaster." Despite the fact that the Japanese attack was the consequence of a sophisticated political strategy planned by the American government, Truman, who "had virtually no one-to-one contact with" Roosevelt, seemed to be ignorant of that fact.


    As Truman's motivation to participate in World War I was related to femiphobia, his motivation to use the atomic bomb may be connected to his feelings of inferior masculinity. As a symbol of almighty power or absolute masculinity, the atomic bomb might appear to Truman with femiphobia as an oracle that could cure his inferiority feelings. Especially "Little Boy," the bomb dropped over Hiroshima, is presumed to have provided psychological compensation effects for his feelings of helplessness, which originated in the relationship with his dominant mother when he was a little boy. The reason why Truman said "This is the greatest thing in history" after the dropping of "Little Boy" may be that such an event symbolically manifests absolute masculinity.


    It is important to consider who the main target of the dropping was in order to understand the psychological meaning of the atomic bomb to Truman. Although he repeatedly emphasized only an important military base should be targeted, it seemed to be almost nothing but "lip service." At that time the majority of the Japanese residents consisted of females, children, and old people because most of the Japanese male adults were mobilized away from home. The fact that Truman ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb even though it was easily recognizable that only powerless, innocent people were to be victimized seems to be related to their lack of masculinity.


    Truman bluntly criticized the Japanese military leaders who would not surrender even as they confronted defeat, ridiculing their "pigheadedness." In a sense, however, their attitude closely resembled his own attitude when he made a politically suicidal decision regarding Tom Pendergast, commenting that he could not abandon a ship when it started to go down. Therefore, from the view of psychological symbols, in Truman's psychological world the Japanese female, children and old people are associated with his bad self which he unconsciously wished to eradicate.



    THE SISYPHEAN TASK OF TRUMAN AND PSYCHOHISTORICAL INSIGHT

    In Mothers of Sons, Linda R. Forcey indicated, "As many men see it, life itself is the Sisyphean task of trying to please mothers, trying to meet their expectations." This statement may be applied to Truman as well.

    According to Truman, he met his mother in his dream before her death. Then, she told him: "Good-bye, Harry. Be a good boy.” Truman appeared to work hard to be a good boy as his mother wanted. In an interview, the 75-year-old Truman mentioned: "I like to live up to my obligations." These anecdotes symbolically illustrate that Truman could not be free of psychological dependency on his mother even in his old age.

    As Ducat indicated, those males who grow up under the powerful control of their mothers cannot but confront the Sisyphean task, "ceaseless and anxious effort to prove and defend their manhood." In particular, the life of Truman illustrates a typical example in which a male politician, who tries to deal with femiphobia through reaction formation, is capable of such a catastrophic decision. When Truman, who had suffered from femiphobia, became president and obtained political initiative with the atomic bomb, his choice brought the worst disaster in human history.

    This psychohlstorical analysis on Truman's decision well demonstrates how closely the life of a political leader is related to his or her decisionmaking in terms of military policies. Psychohistorical studies, including this study, clearly illustrate the danger that political leaders without psychohistorical insight may make a disastrous political decision.
    Last edited by HERO; 05-09-2015 at 12:04 PM.

  2. #2
    netflix and don't touch me Emmym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Midwest
    TIM
    EII-Ne
    Posts
    286
    Mentioned
    21 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default

    Damn, I think I've typed most of the presidents leading up to Lincoln. Never got to Truman.
    someday the grapes will be wine
    and someday you will be mine


    EII-Ne 2w3 - 9w1 - 7w8 so/sx

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •