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Undoing the New Deal: Truman’s Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left (Pt 2)


[Music] welcome to the real news network I’m Paul Jay and we’re continuing our discussion with Peter kuznick about the history the Democratic Party and the struggle between what I’m calling the progressive wing or the wing that is more associated with the workers and unions involved in the Democratic Party and the oligarchical wing as I would call it the elite section of the elite that’s involved in commanding directing fighting for the Democratic Party and we’re talking to Peter kuznick who now joins us again from Washington thanks for joining us again Peter well one more time Peters a professor of history at the American University you really should watch part one if you hadn’t because we’re gonna just pick up the discussion we’re working our way chronologically and the part one we talked about Roosevelt and Henry Wallace it was probably the most progressive politician that ever reached such heights as a vice president before we get to Truman and the purging of the new dealers in in the election that followed Truman Wallace runs as a third party candidate if Wallace is so popular throughout the country as you said is second most popular politician in the country after Roosevelt what why isn’t his third party run more successful because Truman wins and Wallace doesn’t a lot has changed from 1944 to 1948 in the United States and it’s changed for the worse not only in the United States but in the world so you’ve got Truman taking office getting sworn in the night of August 12th 1945 the European war ends on May 8th the Pacific War ends on August 14th well we have beginning under Truman’s the Truman takes office his first full days as August 3rd is a April 13th he meets with Soviet foreign minister Molotov on April 23rd Roosevelts last cable to Churchill said that these issues between us and the Soviets crop up everyday and they seem to get resolved we should not make a big deal of them we should downplay them and go on with our relationship with the Soviets Truman does not buy into that you have to remember that and December of 41 after Pearl Harbor Truman gets up on the floor of the Senate says if the Russians are winning we should support the Germans and if the Germans are winning we support the Russians and that way to let them kill as many of each other as possible Truman never shared Roosevelt’s and Wallace’s sense that the Soviets were our friends and our allies so let me just ask you a quick question then why does Roosevelt agree to have Truman as the vice president even if he’s going to give in to the pressure from the southern democrats and the right-wing democrats he didn’t don’t want wallace to become the next president and so on why Truman why someone who so they’re not associated with Roosevelt’s beliefs because the the other choices were the the main choice the other person who really wanted it was Jimmy Byrnes and Jimmy Byrnes was an outright segregationist and so from South Carolina and so Jimmy Byrnes who had played an important role during the earlier New Deal had been on the Supreme Court and then becomes Truman’s leading foreign policy adviser Jimmy Byrnes was too right-wing the reason they chose Truman was not for any qualifications that he had not a or any background or experience or national reputation it chosen because he didn’t have any strong enemies Truman was not he was mildly Pro New Deal mildly Pro labor and was not you know he himself was personally a racist as his biographer says Truman and private never used any word other than nigger to talk about african-americans Truman that makes comments that we have in untold history overtly racist comments that he made earlier to his wife best you know bad niggers and Chinamen you know Truman but but Truman was much less offensive than the other choices at the time the the thing about the choice of Truman was that Roosevelt was very weak at that point the party boys bosses said that we liked Truman you have to remember that Truman was Bob Hannigan’s boy and when Truman ran low on Hanigan is who is the chair of the Democratic Party Hanigan ran in nineteen Truman was a product of the Pendergast machine in Kansas City it Pendergast chose Truman in 1934 to run for the Senate Truman didn’t know that the first four choices have turned Pendergast now and then they for they get Truman elected to the Senate but by 1940 when Truman’s running for reelection Pendergast is in federal prison in Kansas City and Truman is about to announce that he’s going back well so Truman Truman does not have support he’s running in third in the election in 1940 and he turns to the Hanigan Dickman machine that ran st. Louis and Hanigan throws the support behind Truman he barely eats out the victory in the Nam in the Democratic Party and then he gets reelected in 1940 but then he’s closely tied to Hanigan and he helps handing the elected chairman of the Democratic Party Paulie who’s the treasurer of the Democratic Party was a corrupt California oil millionaire Paulie said I entered politics when I realized it was cheaper to elect the new Congress and to buy up the old one Paulie also later gets indicted so you’ve got these corrupt politician politico’s who are running the Democratic Party who press upon Roosevelt along with the other bosses that they’ve got to put Truman on the ticket and did Roosevelt in you know they were going to have a coup at the convention there’s one thing about Truman was that he was pliable you know he was it was didn’t have strong views and was going to go along with what the party bosses want but the Roosevelt Peter did Roosevelt know that they were going to yank this away from Wallace at the convention yes sadly pathetically Roosevelt knew Roosevelt said that I’m not strong enough to fight like I fought in 1944 Wallace I’m not strong enough to win the election physically help was strong enough without the party machine behind it among the people who were most furious with Franklin Roosevelt we’re his family I was going to say what did Eleanor think of all this Hollander hated this she never forgave him for becoming a coward when the fight was on this was the worst defeat in Roosevelt’s life and most unprincipled decision that he made but his sons and his daughter also were furious they were all Wallace supporters and after the election it’s it’s Eleanor Roosevelt who comes to Henry Wallace and says that you’re the only hope we have left you’re the only progressive voice you’re the only one who can turn this around thing if you know Wallace his nature is not to be an extrovert it’s not to be a fighter when Wallace carries out that campaign is going against his own nature and his own instincts but he realized that the choice was between him and his vision and what we had the Cold War the arms race and so Wallace forces himself to assume a kind of leadership that he was not comfortable so he runs as a third party in 48 and why isn’t he more successful in 48 the Cold War had taken deep root so Rosen so Truman meets with Molotov on April 23rd and he reverses Roosevelt’s policy completely he accuses rot Molotov in the Russians having broken all of their agreements at Yalta especially around Poland but also around Germany and other agreements that they had made he say brags afterwards they said I gave it to him one two to the jaw he told the other members of the meeting he said well I don’t know if we’re gonna get a hundred percent of what we want but at least get 85% of what we want so he accuses the Russia of having betrayed their agreements to the to Roosevelt at Yalta Joseph Davies the former ambassador to the Soviet Union sits was–it’s truman down twice over the over the next couple weeks and it all explains to him the history that the Russians had not only followed through on their commitments it exceeded their commitments which was with the view of Marshall it was the view of Stimson so they have a meeting of the policy makers before Roosevelt meets with Molotov and Stimson says to him there that we that the Russians have a better view and understanding of their own national security interest then than we do and we should listen to what they’re saying with the Russian view was that they’ve been invaded twice through Eastern Europe by Germany and what they wanted was a buffer zone in Eastern Europe they don’t want compliant governments they don’t want lockstep governments they don’t want servile governments what they wanted were friendly governments in Eastern Europe and Roosevelt understood that and agreed to that and Yalta but but Truman does not understand that and so Truman reverses Roosevelt’s policies what the Soviets suffered according to Kennedy at his au commencement address in 1968 where the Soviet suffered in World War two was the equivalent of the entire United States east of Chicago being wiped out when Americans don’t remember is that throughout most of the world war two the Americans the British confronted ten German can be divisions combined the Soviets were confronting 200 German divisions as Churchill says this is a red army tore the guts out of the German war machine you have to realize what that 27 million Soviets who died during the war means you know after 9/11 as I pointed out to my students we lost less than 3,000 people on 9/11 how many countries did we invade how much of the world are we up up and after 9/11 to get revenge for that but to stop the effects of that but the Soviet losses in World War two numerically are the equivalent of one 9/11 a day every day for 24 years Roosevelt understood that Wallace understood that we bent they bent over backwards to try to give support and help to the Soviets and rebuilding Truman took the opposite view and we had to stop the Soviets that their security interests were antithetical to America’s interests and so Truman reverses that policy he backs off he wavers oscillates to some extent for the next year and while this stays on in the cabinet as Secretary of Commerce Roosevelt gave him his choice of any position much like Hoover in 1920 given the choice of any position he wanted he chose Secretary of Commerce we want to rebuild the economy and but from that position inside the cabinet he wages single-handedly the fight against the nuclear arms race and against the Cold War and he’s often the only voice fighting against Truman’s reactionary policy no time he did have allies and in September of 1946 it just becomes too clear that the the Wallace’s policies of friendship toward the Soviet Union were so opposed by not only Truman but Byrnes who’s become Secretary of State and his Truman’s main advisor and and the rest of the new dealers were all gone by then and so Wallace’s position is solitary but he gets he gets Truman to sign off on every word that Wallace says in his famous September 1946 speech at Madison Square Garden and and then Truman tells the press that I approved everything Wallace was going to say there and then while the speech was a speech about the need for the United States and Soviets to work together to create peace saying that the Americans are no more in in the Soviet camp than they are in the British imperialist camp and that the United States has got to be an honest broker and work with the Soviets and other progressive forces to bring peace that prevents the onset of the Cold War prevent the onset of the nuclear arms race I’m proposing tonight about peaceful atomic abundance a new era was born when several thousand scientists simultaneously stricken by the horror of their accomplishment reached out as one man for a social conscience they have long known what the American people are just beginning to know that all of us both individually and collectively are now facing the greatest challenge ever placed before man we can turn toward darkness destruction and death or toward light peace and abundance we must move with speed determination and faith the stakes are the human race we cannot fail we cannot delay the awe-inspiring responsibility is ours for a short time only the war we won was a people’s war that peace we win must be a people’s peace [Applause] we came very close under the absence of lilienthal plan to stop to giving up nuclear arms and to preventing a nuclear arms race but Truman and burned stupidly appointed Bernard guru to represent the u.s. at the United Nations which Oppenheimer and actress and the others and lilienthal knew was the death death knell to any kind of attempt to get rid of nuclear weapons and put on the UN auspices and then getting rid of them in 1946 right by 1947 when Truman is going to announce the Truman Doctrine and take over the British commitments in Greece and in Iran and elsewhere Truman he meets with Arthur Vandenberg and Senator Vandenberg tells Truman if you want to get this policy through Congress you have to scare hell out of the American people and that’s what Truman was doing there in that time and we’ve seen over and over again how manipulable the American people become when they’re scared and they were terrified that the Soviets poses threat that was trying to conquer the world the Soviets never had a plan for world conquest during this time but the Soviets wanted was ongoing friendship with the u.s. they wanted economic aid from the US which Roosevelt had promised they wanted to help help in rebuilding the Soviet economy which had been destroyed but Truman makes it seem as if they’re out on this aggressive campaign to take over the world and the American people fell for that I mean as Wallace ran in 48 on a progressive vision of world peace and friendship there’s the media had turned against him the Democratic Party had turned against him the Republicans of course were against him and they attacked him during the campaign they read baited him viciously he made a lot of mistakes during that campaign opened himself up to that kind of criticism and ended up doing very very poorly although early on it looked like it was gonna be a viable campaign so Truman helps initiate the Cold War which in the end helps to bury Wallace he uses nuclear weapons in Japan and again you’ll be able to see this interview I did with Peter about the the whole issue of the use of the nuclear bombing of Japan and and how it was in fact the shot across the bow against the Soviet Union and in many historians view including Peter not necessary to end the war with Japan but talk a bit about so I’m saying you in great depth you’ll see these other stories but talk about the purge of the new dealers by Truman because that really is part of the story which thread were trying to follow that leads us to the the fight with Sanders the most principled ones who are still remaining when Roosevelt died a lot of them left some of them had already been replaced by 1945 but Roosevelt and Harold Ickes were their Morgenthau leading the fight and first Truman is very is really vulgar when it comes toward Harold Ickes he refers to him as old shit-ass X refers him to the media as shit-ass existed while he’s still Secretary of the Interior and then he gets rid of viki’s and then is really what wallace has allies because wallace is so smart and so persuasive but it was clear which way the country was moving by 1945 and 1946 and was clear which direction Truman wanted to take the country by the time he pur fires Wallace in September of 1946 so it was a lonely struggle Wallace waged it heroically for more than a year but and and even you know Eleanor Roosevelt is starting to wave her after 1946 when the people who support Wallace when he when he comes out condemning Truman’s policies are people like Albert Einstein and a lot of other real progressives at the time but the country was moving sharply to the right and and we also during this time have McCarthyism on the rise it’s the chair the Republican Party who says during the 1946 election and this is a choice between republicanism and communism so part of what’s going on is the Republican effort to dam the New Deal and they’re they’re running neo McCarthyite campaign in 1946 McCarthy is a late comer to McCarthyism McCarthy doesn’t make his famous speech in Wheeling West Virginia the February 9th 1950 but the Republican Party had become McCarthyite much much earlier in 1946 and Truman made another one of his colossal blunders and that’s what he thinks he can preempt this right-wing McCarthyite attack on the democrats by going along with it so Truman is the one who initiates the loyalty Security hearings he god Bless America pledges around the country truly starts purging the party of the progressives and the left wingers in 1946 they get he can buy time and prevents the Republican attack but he legitimizes it the same stupid thing we see the Democrats doing over and over again legitimizing the attacks from the right thinking that they can get a softer version to them and that the right-wing was gonna lay off instead the right-wing uses the Democratic legitimization of these policies and doubles down and takes it to a further extreme position we see that with McCarthyism we see that with the Cold War we see that with the nuclear arms race we’re gonna see it over and over yeah we see it from the transition from Obama to Trump but I’m jumping ahead just quickly before this segment as a lot of our younger viewers are probably because of how terribly history is taught in the American school system probably not even know what the New Deal is and and and the context let me just quickly try to frame it and then if you can help develop it in the midst of the Great Depression and great crisis of global capitalism in the 1930s Roosevelt saw as the method of dealing with the crisis unlike in Europe where fascism and the use of brute force to try to destroy the workers movement in the United States there was concessions made to the working workers to the working class to ordinary people jobs there was various kinds of stimulus and so on that New Deal by the end of the war I think in terms of the elites they said well we don’t need this new deal anymore we gave working people way too much now let’s get it back does that jive with the way you see it I think the attack on the New Deal actually starts earlier you’ve got the rise of a new right wing in the United States which doesn’t gain any footing really but at least they’re there in the 35:36 period you’ve got Roosevelt announcing in 38 39 that the New Deal reform phase is over which is tragic because in 1939 you had the Wagner Act which was to create a national healthcare system in the United States it was supported in a tremendous support across the board to create a real national health care program not the silly stuff for the limited stuff we see under Obama Obamacare but a real national health care program and Roosevelt actually stabs that in the back in 1939 pulls his support from that even though many people assume that was going to be the leading edge of America’s reform program going forward then during the the early 1940s you’ve got a battle between Jesse Jones and Henry Wallace Wallace initially had tremendous power and influence but thicken there’s a conservative backlash against that and Roosevelt does not stand up strongly in support Wallace so in some ways the undercut Wallace even earlier the 1944 so but but clearly you’ve got the corporate interest who as you suggest are waging a counter-attack against the New Deal the New Deal was a very democratic very progressive and very Pro working class policies of social reform the opposite of what we saw in much of Europe at that time where we see the Hitler’s in the Mussolini’s in the right way taking over the United States had moved sharply to the left during that that period but there was there were blunders and missteps is packing the Supreme Court in 1937 a lot of things that weakened the New Deal reform program even before the right-wingers were able to stage their coup in 1944 and they even more so in 1948 okay in the next segment we’re going to pick up this history of the struggle within the Democratic Party with historian Peter kuznick please join us for that on the real news network

23 Comments

  1. Robert PuKeyRay
    Robert PuKeyRay December 7, 2017

    Those who fail History class are doomed to repeat it.

  2. Abdullah Bueno
    Abdullah Bueno December 7, 2017

    Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] better known by his pen name George Orwell. The oligarchs are must have been incorporating his book 1984 as a strategy guild after the Powell memo.

  3. Alea iacta est
    Alea iacta est December 7, 2017

    What an amazing history lesson! Thx to TheRealNews! It goes to show what sort of character is needed, a fighter. That is often the "weakness" of the left, they compromise too much.

  4. Ryan S
    Ryan S December 7, 2017

    Excellent series! More Please!

  5. David Schlessinger
    David Schlessinger December 7, 2017

    I never liked Truman. He dropped the atomic bombs, escalated the cold war, especially in Korea; and now it shows he tried to dismantle the new deal and progressives. I've never understood why he is considered a great president

  6. Alan Mann
    Alan Mann December 7, 2017

    This guy is a really good guest. Thanks for this.

  7. Stand
    Stand December 7, 2017

    The actual history of the US is pretty bleak. If Americans really knew it, few if any with real ethics, morals and intellect would support today.

  8. Yuri muckraker
    Yuri muckraker December 8, 2017

    great stuff Real News! I've watched the Untold History of the United States that Peter did with Oliver Stone, but these crucial details unless I missed it weren't mentioned on why Wallace failed, FDR throwing him under the bus and Eleonore and his family being furious with him on it. Its bizarre how even when your popular and fight for the broad working class or a huge segement of them like Wallace did or Teddy Rossevelt before him, once you try to run not as a Democrat or Republican, the people shun you. forget the corporate media which will always side with the Crips or the Bloods, but that people can't vote for a Rossevelt as a Progressive or Wallace or Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, or Dr. Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson or Gloria La Riva just baffles me to know end (the faux left media and lesser of two evilism infuriates me in that respect and controlled opposition). Pity 🙁

  9. Brian Booker
    Brian Booker December 8, 2017

    I've read Peter K. and Oliver S. book "Untold History", watched the series numerous times and seen tons of their videos and still learned some things from this video. Kudos to TRN, you never disappoint. I'd like to believe that the American experience has been an organic one but I'm to old to accept that narrative. There is a sinister force at play here and whatever is causing it the end result has been and continues to be genocide.

  10. Germaine Hascall
    Germaine Hascall December 8, 2017

    Where is part one?

  11. Bertil Sigfrid
    Bertil Sigfrid December 9, 2017

    Where is part 1??

  12. Patrick McCormack
    Patrick McCormack December 9, 2017

    When did Stalin not become a significant talking point?

  13. Steve Harrod
    Steve Harrod December 10, 2017

    History does repeat itself . The Dems need to go hard left ( it might not be all that hard to do after Trump ) .

  14. Hippasus
    Hippasus December 10, 2017

    Wallace: the only honest politicians in American History?

  15. Patricia M
    Patricia M December 11, 2017

    "revenge for 9/11" ? We implemented 9/11 with Mossad for the evil of the PNAC plan.

  16. Des Troya
    Des Troya December 14, 2017

    The Cold War was set up by FDR's actions. He was instrumental in creating the communist empire in its post WWII form. He put no restraints on them, and gave them unlimited arms as needed even after Yalta conference in 1945…

  17. JohnWesleyHardin1853
    JohnWesleyHardin1853 December 15, 2017

    " … the Soviets and other progressive forces … " ??? That is utter tripe. Stalin was one of the most vile, if not the most vile, totalitarian dictators of the 20th century. While I agree with much of what Kuznick says about the purge of the Democratic Party, Kuznick's view of Stalin and the Soviet Union is so pollyannaish, so naive, so seen through rose colored glasses, that absolutely nothing he says about Stalin and the Soviets is valid or accurate. He is especially wrong about a) the dropping of the bomb on Japan, and b) that there was anyway that Stalin would have backed off on developing a Soviet bomb.

  18. Keith
    Keith December 16, 2017

    You guys are awesome! I really hope you meet all your funding needs to keep this going.

  19. SARAH Connors
    SARAH Connors January 26, 2018

    Truman sold all of us out, Eisenhower TRIED to warn the people of the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX which is alive and doing quite well with the VERY VERY RICH.

  20. Yasmin Baron
    Yasmin Baron November 13, 2018

    Que historiador manipulador. Comunista mentiroso. Na verdade o grande erro foi oEstados Unidos não ter acabado com Stalin juntamente com Hitler, sendo aquele uma ameaça ainda maior. A própria KGB está aí até hoje um século depois aterrorizando e manipulando o mundo.

  21. Camilo M
    Camilo M January 13, 2019

    The truth they dont want us to know while they have us all distracted with sports,hollywood and the mass media circus we witness today. We would of never had all the Coups in Latin America, but Che saw it first hand in Guatemala thanks to the Dulles brothers in 1954. The red scare still exist, but we rarely hear about the Fascist scare.

  22. Vic Oilsteems
    Vic Oilsteems March 25, 2019

    Please label series parts

  23. Danish Khawaja
    Danish Khawaja August 21, 2019

    Truman's level of education reflects his foreign policy

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