Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Harry!

Today is Harry Truman's 124th birthday (born May 8, 1884), so I thought I'd share something from his library site. You can read the log of Truman's trip to the Berlin Conference in 1945. First, a summary of the event:
In the late summer of 1945, President Truman journeyed to Berlin for a conference between the three major allied powers-the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The President and his party sailed from the United States to Antwerp, Belgium aboard the U. S. S. Augusta, a heavy cruiser, and traveled by plane and car to Berlin. This particular trip was different than most other trips the President made, as it took place during wartime. While on board the ship, the President witnessed several military exercises, including radar-tracking demonstrations, target practice ships, and the landing of planes on ships at sea. He also participated in an "abandon ship" drill.

While at this conference, Truman met both Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill for the first time. The three leaders and their advisors settled many issues, including the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers to further work on the peace treaties, the governing of Germany during occupation by the Allies, German reparations, the methods for handling war criminals, and the admission of the defeated countries to the United Nations, and other topics.

As Truman met with the British and Russians to prepare for peace, preparations were also taking place for the final assault on Japan. Truman received word of the first successful test of the atomic bomb while in Potsdam, and authorized its use against Japan. On his return voyage after the conference, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, which gave President Truman great hope that the war would soon be over.

Now you can go check out each day of his trip online. I just picked a random day to share some of the log - July 25:
0920: Admiral Lord Louis Moutbatten (Supreme Commander, Allied Forces in the India-Burma Theatre) called on the President at the Little White House.

1000: General Marshall called on the President.

1035: The Presidend and his party left the Little White House for Cecilienhof where they arrived at 1045. Before the conference was called to order, the President, the Prime Minister, and the Generalissimo posed in the Palace garden for still and motion pictures. Photographers (service and civilian) from all three nations were represented.

1100: The Big Three and other delegates entered the conference room and the ninth meeting of the Berlin Conference was called to order by the President. The meeting adjourned at 1200, at which time the President left to return to the Little White House.

Admiral Leahy, accompanied by Rear Admiral H.A. Flenigan, U.S.N., Captain Vardaman, Colonel Rusk, Lieutenant Elsey, Lieutenant Edelstein, Lieutenant Rigdon, and First Lieutenant Vardaman left Babelsberg this morning for a flight to London. They returned to Babelsberg Thursday afternoon.

2000: Ambassador Murphy, Ambassador Caffery, and General Somervell were dinner guests at the Little White House this evening. Dinner music was played by an eight-piece band from the 278th Army Ground Force band with Staff Sergeant Joe Borrelli conducting. Vocal selections were rendered by Pfc Jules Navarra.

You can go enjoy the rest as well as lots of other documents on the trip.

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