April 19, 2005

Harry Truman

This is Harry S. Truman's farewell address to the American people with the election of Eisenhower. It has some very enlightening parts at the end. Below is that section.

Now, once in a while, I get a letter from some impatient person asking, why don’t we get it over with? Why don’t we issue an ultimatum, make all-out war, drop the atomic bomb?

For most Americans, the answer is quite simple: We are not made that way. We are a moral people. Peace is our goal, with justice and freedom. We cannot, of our own free will, violate the very principles that we are striving to defend. The whole purpose of what we are doing is to prevent world war III. Starting a war is no way to make peace.

But if anyone still thinks that just this once, bad means can bring good ends, then let me remind you of this: We are living in the 8th year of the atomic age. We are not the only nation that is learning to unleash the power of the atom. A third world war might dig the grave not only of our Communist opponents but also of our own society, our world as well as theirs.

Starting an atomic war is totally unthinkable for rational men.

Then, some of you may ask, when and how will the cold war end? I think I can answer that simply. The Communist world has great resources, and it looks strong. But there is a fatal flaw in their society. Theirs is a godless system, a system of slavery; there is no freedom in it, no consent. The Iron Curtain, the secret police, the constant purges, all these are symptoms of a great basic weakness--the rulers’ fear of their own people.

In the long run the strength of our free society, and our ideals, will prevail over a system that has respect for neither God nor man.

Last week, in my State of the Union Message to the Congress--and I hope you will all take the time to read it--I explained how I think we will finally win through.

As the free world grows stronger, more united, more attractive to men on both sides of the Iron Curtain--and as the Soviet hopes for easy expansion are blocked--then there will have to come a time of change in the Soviet world. Nobody can say for sure when that is going to be, or exactly how it will come about, whether by revolution, or trouble in the satellite states, or by a change inside the Kremlin.

Whether the Communist rulers shift their policies of their own free will--or whether the change comes about in some other way-I have not a doubt in the world that a change will occur.
I have a deep and abiding faith in the destiny of free men. With patience and courage, we shall some day move on into a new era--a wonderful golden age--an age when we can use the peaceful tools that science has forged for us to do away with poverty and human misery everywhere on earth.

Think what can be done, once our capital, our skills, our science--most of all atomic energy--can be released from the tasks of defense and turned wholly to peaceful purposes all around the world.

There is no end to what can be done.

I can’t help but dream out loud just a little here.

The Tigris and Euphrates Valley can be made to bloom as it did in the times of Babylon and Nineveh. Israel can be made the country of milk and honey as it was in the time of Joshua.


Note the section in bold. Truman was either prescient or looking for a rhetorical flourish. If the latter, he still predicted events far ahead of what was available to them at the time.

It attests to the reality of our day that Truman would have been excommunicated by the Democratic party and invited into the Republican party by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

1 Comments:

Blogger Graham said...

Wow, that is really prophetic.

I think there's a lot to learn in the way we dealt with the Cold War as we continue the Global War on Terrorism.

20 June, 2005 08:09  

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