Henry Wallace was the Vice President of the United States during FDR’s third term in office. If he had been selected at the 1944 Democratic Convention to run for election with FDR for another term, the world would have been a much different place.
Instead, a relatively unknown, uneducated and inexperienced Senator from Missouri named Harry S. Truman was nominated as the candidate for Vice-President. Truman was considered to be a puppet of Kansas City Irish political “boss”, Tom Pendergast.
Wallace was a liberal new dealer. He worked tirelessly to support FDR’s new deal programs. By 1944, high taxes, rationing and continued unemployment were beginning to erode Roosevelt’s popularity. If the war had ended by 1944, it is doubtful that FDR could have been reelected.
By 1944, It was clear to Democratic leaders that FDR was in poor health and probably would not live long. They needed a Vice President they could trust to nurture and develop what Eisenhower later called the “Military-Industrial Complex”. Roosevelt, in dropping Wallace, demonstrated a stunning preference for power over loyalty.
Wallace saw the Soviets as true allies and later advocated turning over atomic stockpiles to the UN and sharing atomic secrets. He believed that colonization in Asia should end and saw the end of the war as the beginning of the “Century of The Common Man”. His vision included cooperating with Russia to build a vast system of highways linking China and South America with the industrialized world. Wallace’s views on colonization drove our British Allies to work tirelessly for his removal.
It is almost certain that Wallace would not have authorized use of the atomic bomb. Truman’s later actions in Korea, and his decision to deny post-war aid to our war-ravaged Russian Allies almost certainly encouraged the Cold War. Without our support of the French Colonies in Indo-China, Vietnam would have been a friendly place.
The other disaster Truman set in motion was the recognition of Israel. The current world conflict has roots in that decision. General George Marshall told Truman it was a bad idea, but it’s hard to know how Wallace would have called that one. Perhaps it would have been the same call.
Truman ended his Presidency with approval ratings below 30%. In view of his successors, many now look back at him with a certain wistful fondness.
Strangely, the 1944 Democratic convention is a Wiki “stub” although the decisions made there changed the course of history in a way that few other single events could have done.
Truman spent his last years working in his presidential library in Independence. One room, called a "decision center", shines klieg lights on the audience and asks them late-1940s "loyalty" questions. A man in the shadows with a microphone asking the questions appears to be Senator Joe McCarthy. At the end, the audience is asked if the government should have unrestricted access to E-mail and telephone conversations. Push the red button for "yes" and the blue button for "no". Mrs'. Phred and I reach quickly for the blue button. We are out-voted.