HENRY WALLACE, HARRY TRUMAN AND THE COLD WAR by Richard J. Walton

HENRY WALLACE, HARRY TRUMAN AND THE COLD WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Henry Wallace is today considered, nostalgically or contemptuously, to have been a failure. Dumped as Secretary of Commerce by Truman for bucking the post-WW II anti-Communist wave, he made a hopeless third-party try for the presidency. Walton, too, tends to see Wallace as a failure, but his rich investigation of the 1948 Progressive Party campaign focuses on what Wallace actually believed and said. The ""first peace candidate,"" Wallace wanted a ""progressive"" or ""humanistic capitalism"" (in his words), based on US industrial output and world trade rather than nuclear threats or the force of arms. After he was kicked out of the administration (the last New Dealer to go), 13,000 letters a month reached Ms home and 100,000 people paid to hear him speak, exceptional popularity in that period. This was because he demanded peace and bore the mantle of FDR, according to the author, who describes a barrage of vilification and harassment from the press, the FBI, the liberal cold warriors of the ADA, and Wallace's own friends. But after all, Wallace was vindicated in his belief that war with the USSR could be prevented; Truman was forced leftward in his own presidential campaign, and the hawk Dewey was defeated. The book--which also tells how campaign manager Beanie Baldwin whipped together a new party in a few months--amounts to a sympathetic yet analytical re-examination, one of the most interesting among the recent spate of late-1940s studies.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1976
Publisher: Viking