ANOTHER SUCH VICTORY: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945–1953

Arnold A. Offner, Author . Stanford Univ. $37.95 (656p) ISBN 978-0-8047-4254-2

Readers of this cramped assessment of foreign policy during Truman's watch won't learn that the accidental president inherited the Cold War—instead, he and his "parochial and nationalistic heritage" apparently bear much of the blame for it. Offner, a professor at Lafayette College, also considers Mao a "populist" despot and deems Stalin obsessed by legitimate national security concerns. Yet after dumping on Truman for his inexperienced, shoot-from-the-hip leadership, Offner reluctantly acknowledges the unprepared president's surprising resolve and capacity. Containment of Soviet ambitions was a "jaundiced" Truman strategy that worked, for example. But in the pre-Cold War chill bequeathed to Truman, even Lend-Lease American aircraft being ferried to Russia in 1941 could not cross into Soviet space with American pilots, a fact the author ignores. And Truman's decisions in Korea, the author argues, would lead his successors to make "extravagant claims of presidential power while leading the nation into conflicts that ultimately diminished the office." Also, Truman's airlift to save West Berlin, his creation of NATO and the economic miracle of the Marshall Plan sowed discord and divided both Germany and Europe in "indefinite stalemate." In scolding Truman for personal diplomacy and for giving in to congressional hawks (as on China), Offner also ignores the constraints that the Republican opposition placed upon him. B&w photos. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 01/01/2002
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-8047-4774-5
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