Schlesinger Says Truman Will Rank As 'Near-Great' Chief Executive
Harry S. Truman will probably rank in the category of near-great Presidents and his administration will stand out as one of the most important in American history, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History, yesterday predicted.
In his survey of Truman's presidency, Schlesinger extended the classification of American Presidents which appeared in his essay, "A Yardstick for Presidents," in 1949. At that time he attempted to assign historical rankings to our past Presidents, excluding Truman while he was still in office.
Evaluating Truman's eight years in the White House, Schlesinger stated, "I believe that the faults and failures of his administration will sink out of sight as time goes on, whereas the great accomplishments will stand out as marking a major turning point in American history."
"These major accomplishments have been such achievements as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin airlift, the North Atlantic Defense Treaty, the intervention in Korea on behalf of the United Nations, the Mutual Defense Pacts in the Pacific, and the conclusion of peace with Japan in the fact of Soviet Russia's opposition."
Schlesigner concluded, "All this adds up tot he fact that under Truman's leader-ship, the United States has undergone a diplomatic revolution, occupying the place in world affairs which England long held and being the organizer and director of the opposition of the free peoples to Soviet imperialism.