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Untrodden GroundHow Presidents Interpret the Constitution$
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Harold H. Bruff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226211107

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226211244.001.0001

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Going to Hell

Going to Hell

Truman and Eisenhower

(p.261) Chapter Nine Going to Hell
Untrodden Ground

Harold H. Bruff

University of Chicago Press

President Harry Truman used his constitutional powers to drop the atomic bomb and to set Cold War strategy, including containment, after World War II. He fought segregation with executive orders. He guided the nation to new international commitments through NATO and aided creation of the national security bureaucracy under presidential command. He unilaterally committed the United States to war in Korea, fired the insubordinate General Douglas MacArthur. When Truman seized the steel mills to stop a strike, the Supreme Court held that he had violated a statute. In the postwar Red scare, both Truman and Dwight Eisenhower had mixed records of protecting civil liberties against assaults from Senator Joseph McCarthy and others. Eisenhower broadly asserted constitutional executive privilege to protect confidential records. He also set the nuclear policy of massive retaliation while engaging in covert activity around the world. He sent troops to Little Rock to enforce desegregation orders.

Keywords:   Harry Truman, atomic bomb, Cold War, segregation, Korean War, Douglas MacArthur, steel seizure, Dwight Eisenhower, red scare, executive privilege

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