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truman baby - Jon Coleman T 4-5 Follow the Leader The...

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Jon Coleman 11/18/2010 T 4-5 Follow the Leader “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. These words as penned by Martin Luther King Jr. describe the essence of leadership at its most basic level. Leadership requires courage, it requires perseverance, and it requires a litany of other traits applicable to different circumstances and obstacles. In discussing historical issues of public policy, it is essential to discuss the integral roles that various leaders have played in shaping, formulating, and implementing policy. Leadership thus is tantamount to power, in that a leader’s ability to shape the context of a situation can affect the lives of millions of people. President Truman, who served from 1945- 1953, served during a particularly formative period in American and world history. Decision- making, a natural feature of leadership, became increasingly difficult as Truman had to grapple with debates concerning the decision to drop the atomic bomb, American recognition of an independent Israeli state, and U.S.-Soviet relations. These three issues culminated to define the presidency of Harry S. Truman, and the decisions he made regarding them helped to shape the international political structure for years to come. Likewise, about 400 years before Truman, Queen Elizabeth I of England faced a problem with internal religious strife. Her handling of the Catholic/Protestant conflict has become a case study in the application of politique , a diplomatic tool comprising of diplomacy and compromise. In avoiding civil war, Queen Elizabeth’s application of politique shows that sometimes problems cannot be solved, only managed and contained. 1
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By the time Truman assumed the presidency following the death of President Roosevelt, the Zionist Movement in America had established itself as a serious force. The creation of the Jewish State was not yet inevitable, yet it had the sort of grinding momentum that seemed to be headed for success. In the aftermath of World War II, the Nazi atrocities of the Holocaust began to be made public. Images of gas chambers, death camps, and starved prisoners created a sense of justifiable sympathy toward the Jewish people. The Jewish quest for a homeland now became headline news, and it took on the aura of global importance. The Truman Administration, eager to show U.S. leadership and competence, thus took an active role in supporting the creation of Israel. In making this decision, it is important to understand both the character of Harry Truman the man, as well as his frame of mind going forward. President Truman was a simple man from Independence, Missouri. He was a very religious man, known to quote scripture as well as frame problems in a Biblical sense.
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