24 June 2009
TRUMAN, Harry S. (1884-1972). Autograph speech manuscript, unsigned, undated [ca. 1938]. 11 pages, 4to, on Biloxi, Mississippi stationery, punch holes along top edges catching portions of some words, with 4-page carbon transcription. OVER 1,000 WORDS IN TRUMAN'S HAND.
"IN THE COMING STRUGGLE BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP, DEMOCRACY MUST BE PREPARED"
An extensive speech manuscript and an important statement of Truman's foreign policy views in the years just before Pearl Harbor (delivered before a meeting of WW I veterans in Larchmont, N.Y. in 1938). "We are a peace loving nation and all of us hate the very thought of war. None of us wants to see another World War in which we are likely to be involved; particularly those of us who were in the last one. But we must not close our eyes to the possibility of another war because conditions in Europe have developed to a point, likely to cause an explosion at any time... But my friends we are living in a world of realities.... Now no man can keep his property or guard his wealth without defending it. That is why we have Courts and police forces. In the coming struggle between Democracy and Dictatorship, Democracy must be prepared to defend its principals [sic] and its wealth."
The American people "went rather hysterical on disarmament" after 1918, Truman continues. "We refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles [and] did not accept our responsibility as a world power..." He goes on to quote George Washington and Andrew Jackson on the need for a strong military: "Andrew Jackson, the fighting old president from Tennessee said, 'We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is understood that we are prepared for war.'... The world knows," he concludes, "that we can and will fight for our rights in spite of a small and vociferous pacifist group. The World knows our honorable record in the World War...We fought for liberty and honor, just as we always have and just as we always will when occasion demands it." After he became President, Truman put into practices the ideas of this speech, building up a massive military establishment and deepening America's diplomatic commitments abroad through organizations like NATO. TRUMAN AUTOGRAPH SPEECH MANUSCRIPTS ARE QUITE RARE.
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