|Dwight D. Eisenhower
…in [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.
“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”
– Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380
In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:
“…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”
– Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63
Eisenhower in War and Peace
Jean Edward Smith
According to Smith, the Joint Chiefs advised the then President Eisenhower to use nuclear weapons; not once but twice during his Administration!
Ike said: NO DICE
I had never heard either of these ‘facts’.
With my problems as far as recall, I frankly, cannot believe I knew nothing of this!
This essay is not an attempt to abase Truman.
Harry had decisions to make every single hour of every single day—especially in 1945 following the death of FDR.
Truman knew that these decisions had to be made promptly and he knew he had to rely upon his advisers.
Truman knew the costs involved in warfare; economic costs as well as the cost of human lives.
I have not read the ‘entire file’ although I know for sure that Ike had!
Listening to Jean Smith recount the chronology in his book I am even more fascinated with Ike.
I have to get this book.
I had to immediately check Wiki—a compendium that is oftimes slammed as too liberal or too proletariat or….whatever.
There most probably thousands of tomes written about someone I consider as one of the ten most important heroes in our country’s history. I certainly have read three or four of those volumes.
And there are certainly thousands upon thousands of words written about the faults of this man.
I mean he installed the Shah in Iran.
He was actually pissed that he had nominated Warren to the Supreme Court.
Like Faulkner and others, Ike was sure that segregation should be handled at a later time.
The President of my childhood certainly threatened nuclear attacks during his presidency.
I could waste a lot of time finding faults in this hero.
But I leave that task to others.
An ancient questioner appears during the C-SPAN presentation:
I actually voted for Stevenson….
SO DID I! Responds Smith. Hahahahhahahahah
As a child I just remember my elders telling me that Ike won WWII.
As a child I recall being told that Ike was an old man.
As a child I recall being taught that Ike played golf all the time and did not actually govern that much.
Smith discusses Ike’s ‘balanced budget’ mentality.
Then he stresses that ‘balanced budget’ meant keeping tax rates balanced in that he refused to lower taxes if it meant increasing the budget.
Fuck you Grover…..Ike might have stated!
Yet the national highway system was created by simply taxing gasoline!
For or against the new desegregation rules instituted by the Warren Court; Ike sent the troops down to Little Rock to enforce THE LAW so that Black boys and Black girls could participate in the American Educational Experiment.
Imagine a man born in the 19th century who was a substantial contributing factor in bringing America and THE WEST into the 20th century!
Imagine a man reared by bible toters in Texas who eschewed church attendance once he got out of West Point—although he consulted that rake Billy Graham as to which church he should attend irregularly during his Administration.
Imagine a man born in Texas with nothing who ends up heading the greatest war machine ever witnessed in the history of man. A status that the world would never see again.
For that matter, imagine a man who could make his seniors like Patton and MacArthur ‘stand down’!
I was watching Seinfeld cavort with one of his friends in one of his free Web contributions: Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee.
Seinfeld notes: Why do we always look back?
His buddy suggests: We know what already happened. We can build the dialogue. We have problems looking forward because we have no idea what will happen in the future.
Ike could not predict what Patton or MacArthur or De Gaulle or would do even if the Supreme Commander issued the orders.
Ike could not predict how D Day would turn out.
Ike could not predict whether or not North Korea would stand down under threat of nuclear bombs.
(Just must opine that Nixon was using one of Ike’s 1952 campaign slogans—you know, the secret plan to end the war!)
Ike did not KNOW that his highway initiative would fly; that gasoline taxes would pay for EVERYTHING; that commerce would SOAR ABOVE ALL ESTIMATES; that….
Ike did not know for sure that keeping tax rates high would not hurt the economy.
I could go on and on if I read a thousand books on the subject (although I certainly have read hundreds of books and thousands of articles on the subject matter).
I do know this.
When I read about Eisenhower, I feel this pride about being an American.
Just look around the globe sometime.
The Chinese have love of country.
The Russians have love of country.
Hell, the Kenyans have love of country.
All humans must look back at ‘where they came from’.
Well I come from America.
I am from the good ole US of A.
I listen to Grover or Rush or Beckerhead or Mitt or Akin or Bachmann or Palin or Ryan or ….
And I am so very depressed.
There is a part of me that wishes to secede from this Union.
But life is complicated and I must look back and re-read narrations about my heroes.
And Dwight D. Eisenhower is one of those heroes.