Blogs > Liberty and Power > Truman As The "BUTCHER of ASIA"

Oct 20, 2005

Truman As The "BUTCHER of ASIA"

More than once, the bloggers at Liberty and Power have discussed conservative and libertarian critics, such as George S. Schuyler, of Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb.

We can add novelist Zora Neale Hurston to that list. In 1946, Hurston, who later supported the presidential campaign of Robert A. Taft, wrote that she was "amazed at the complacency of Negro press and public" towards Truman's foreign policy actions.

According to Hurston, Truman "is a monster. I can think of him as nothing else but the BUTCHER of ASIA. Of his grin of triumph on giving the order to drop the Atom bombs on Japan. Of his maintaining troops in China who are shooting the starving Chinese for stealing a handful of food....Is it that we are so devoted to a 'good Massa' that we feel that we ought not to even protest such crimes? Have we no men among us? If we cannot stop it, we can at least let it be known that we are not deceived. We can make any party who condones it, let alone orders it, tremble for election time."

Carla Kaplan, ed., Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters (New York: Doubleday, 2002), 546.

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William Marina - 10/22/2005

If you read David McCullough on Truman, you will learn that Harry had no responsibility either, for involving the US in Vietnam.
Forget that in 1945, fifteen boatloads of military equipment were sent to help reinstall the French Empire there. The West Coast longshoremen, to their credit, refused to load the boats, so the military did so.

Kenneth R Gregg - 10/21/2005

One wonders if Truman was ever concerned with Schuyler, Hurston or the other black intellectuals who distrusted him. I do not recall him ever addressing any issues toward them.

Just Ken

Matt Barganier - 10/20/2005

"Of his maintaining troops in China who are shooting the starving Chinese for stealing a handful of food...."

I'm waiting for the resident neocons to explain why US troops should have been in China, shooting starving Chinese for stealing food. (I'll take their defense of the atomic bombings for granted.)