Choosing Truman: The Democratic Convention of 1944 by Robert H. Ferrell

By Robert H. Ferrell

As Franklin D. Roosevelt's overall healthiness deteriorated within the months major as much as the Democratic nationwide conference of 1944, Democratic leaders faced a dire state of affairs. Given the inevitability of the president's demise in the course of a fourth time period, the alternative of a working mate for FDR used to be of profound value. The Democrats wanted a guy they can belief. They wanted Harry S. Truman.

Robert Ferrell tells an engrossing story of ruthless ambition, mystery conferences, and social gathering politics. Roosevelt emerges as a manipulative chief whose wish to maintain energy ended in a blatant put out of your mind for the loyalty of his subordinates and the aspirations of his vice presidential hopefuls. Startling in its conclusions, impeccable in its examine, Choosing Truman is an engrossing, behind-the-scenes examine the making of the nation's thirty-third president.

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He said he liked Jimmy better than anyone around the White House, that he did not want Byrnes to resign. During the conversation he told Crowley that Hannegan was going to write him a letter asking if he had any objection to Truman or Douglas and he was going to reply that he had none. Crowley, with a considerable gumption (according to Brown's log), said Roosevelt could not afford to do that because he would be taking sides, and the president shamefacedly admitted as much. The day ended with a felicitous Hopkins touch.

The president professed great surprise at this news. 51 The leaders' conference that evening eliminated Wallace and saw assignment of Hannegan to tell Wallace as much. On Wednesday morning around noontime Hannegan performed his mission. He did not use kid gloves with the vice-president, as Ickes and Rosenman had done on Monday and Guffey perhaps had done that evening and the next day. In Wallace's words, put in his diary some days later, "He said he wanted to tell me that I did not have a chance.

71 That evening he entrained for Chicago and points west. As the train made its way across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, he must have thought about what was necessary to stop his two inconvenient vice-presidential candidates at the forthcoming convention. He had arranged to give Wallace a lukewarm endorsement, which would ~o him no good. The question momentarily was Byrnes. Indeed the president may already have thought about the Byrnes problem: the previous Thursday he had talked with Hillman, just after he was plying Byrnes with uncertainties about Negroes and age.

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