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        #202: Truman Wins the Election of 1948

        作者:Steve Ember 發布日期:9-1-2013

        President Harry Truman holds up a newspaper that, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman"
        President Harry Truman holds up a newspaper that, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman"

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember

        HARRY TRUMAN: "I want to say to you, for the next four years, there'll be a Democrat in the White House, and you're looking at him."

        (MUSIC)

        Presidential elections are exciting events in American politics. Few elections for the White House have been as exciting as the one in nineteen forty-eight. And few have had such surprising results.

        ANNOUNCER: "This is NBC Television." SENATOR J. HOWARD McGRATH: "We have obtained the results from the state of Ohio which assures victory for President Truman and Senator Barkley. With Ohio's twenty-five electoral votes, President Truman and Senator Barkley will have a total of two hundred and sixty-six votes in the Electoral College.? This is the minimum figure necessary for victory."

        (MUSIC)

        Four candidates were nominated for president in the nineteen forty-eight election. One was the man already in the White House, the candidate of the Democratic Party, President Harry S. Truman.

        Truman had been the party's vice presidential candidate with Franklin Roosevelt in nineteen forty-four. When Roosevelt died a year later, Truman became president. He was the one who made the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan to end World War Two.

        But Truman did not do well during his first few months in office. He made several serious mistakes. He had trouble with the economy and organized labor. His party lost control of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the congressional elections of nineteen forty-six.

        Most Americans had little faith in Truman's ability as a leader. They expected that he would lose the presidential election in nineteen forty-eight if he chose to be a candidate.

        President Truman did choose to run. He took several strong steps to show his leadership in the months following the Democratic defeat in the congressional elections.

        Truman called on Congress to pass a number of laws to help black people. He took firm actions in his foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. These included the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift, as we discussed in our last two programs. And he began to speak out with much more strength to the American people.

        (MUSIC)

        Truman succeeded in winning the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. He chose Alben Barkley, a senator from Alabama, for vice president. "Senator Barkley and I will win this election and make these Republicans like it -- don't you forget that!" Truman declared in accepting the nomination.

        Thomas Dewey, center, at a campaign event in 1948
        Thomas Dewey, center, at a campaign event in 1948

        The Republicans nominated New York State Governor Thomas Dewey.

        Dewey was a wise and courageous man. He was also very serious. Truman campaigned by telling the voters that Dewey did not understand the needs of the average American. He called Dewey a candidate of rich people.

        One day, Dewey got angry at a railroad engineer because his campaign train was late for a speech. Truman said this proved that Dewey did not understand the problems of railroad engineers and other working Americans. He tried to make the election a choice between hard-working Democrats and rich Republicans.

        Two other men also were candidates for the presidency. Both were from newly created parties.

        One was Strom Thurmond from South Carolina. He was the candidate of the States Rights Democratic Party, also known as the Dixiecrat Party. Most of his supporters were white people from the southeastern part of the country. They opposed giving full rights to black people.

        The other candidate was Henry Wallace of the Progressive Party. His supporters believed that Truman had turned away from the progressive ideas of Franklin Roosevelt.

        Both Thurmond and Wallace had broken away from the Democratic Party. Most political experts believed these two candidates would take votes away from President Truman. They believed the Republican Dewey would surely win the election. President Truman did not have strong public support.

        But Harry Truman was a fighter. He did not believe the election was lost. He took his campaign to the American people.

        HARRY TRUMAN: "On Election Day, the president, the Congress, the governor, the mayor all cease as the government. You are the government, because then you decide what sort of government you want. And when you do like you did in nineteen forty-six, when two-thirds of you stayed at home, you get just what you deserve -- you got that good for nothing Eightieth Congress."

        He said he had always campaigned by going around talking to people and meeting them. Running for president was no different, he said.? He just got on a train and started across the country to tell people what was going on. He wanted to talk to them face to face. When you stand there in front of them and talk to them, he said, the people can tell whether you are telling them the facts or not.

        HARRY TRUMAN: "If you give the Republicans complete control of this government, you might just as well turn it over to the special interests, and we'll start on a boom-and-bust cycle and try to go through just what we did in the twenties and end up with a crash, which in the long run will do nobody any good but the communists."

        Truman campaigned with great energy.

        (SOUND: Truman's campaign train)

        He made hundreds of speeches as his train crossed the country. It became known as the "whistle stop" campaign, because it stopped at some of the smallest towns and villages in the country. Truman gave speeches from the back of his campaign train, the Ferdinand Magellan. He spoke to farmers in Iowa. He visited a children's home in Texas. And he discussed issues with small groups of people who came to visit his train when it stopped in rural areas of Montana and Idaho.

        Dewey and the Republicans laughed at Truman's campaign. They said it showed that Truman needed votes so badly that he had to spend his time looking for them in small villages. Truman said the criticism proved that Republicans did not care for the average American.

        Dewey also campaigned across the country by train. But he showed little of the fire and emotion in his speeches that made Truman's campaign so exciting. Dewey's speeches were "safe." One reporter wrote that Dewey was acting like a man who had already been elected and was only passing time, waiting to take office.

        Dewey had good reasons to feel so sure of being elected. Almost every political expert in the country said Truman had no chance to win. The Wall Street Journal, for example, printed a story about what Dewey would do in the White House after the election. And the New York Times said that Dewey would win the election by a large majority.

        Truman refused to accept these views. Instead, he spoke with more and more emotion against Dewey. Most Americans still believed that Truman would lose. But they liked his courage in fighting until the end. One supporter shouted "Give 'em hell, Harry!" -- "them" being the Republicans. Soon supporters across the country were shouting "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

        Truman made special appeals to working people, Jews, blacks, Catholics and other traditional supporters of the Democratic Party. In his final radio speech before the election, he promised to work for peace and a government that would help all people. Then he went to his home in the state of Missouri to wait with the rest of the country for the election results.

        Republicans across the country greeted Election Day happily. They were sure that this was the day that the people would choose to send a Republican back to the White House after sixteen years.

        Some of the early voting results from the northeastern states showed Truman winning. But few Republicans worried. They were sure Dewey would be the winner when all the votes were counted.

        The Chicago Tribune was also sure who the next president would be, declaring in a huge headline "Dewey Defeats Truman."

        But the newspaper was wrong. Everyone was wrong. Everyone, that is, except Harry Truman and the Americans who gave him their votes. Truman went to bed on election night before all the votes were counted. He told his assistant that he would win.

        He awoke early the next morning to learn that he was right. Not only did he defeat Dewey, as he thought he would, but he won by a good number of votes. And he helped many Democratic congressional candidates win as well. The Democrats captured both houses of Congress.

        After the results were announced, as heard in this old recording Truman showed his sense of humor by joking about the predictions of his defeat.

        HARRY TRUMAN: "I had on the National Broadcasting Company and [commentator HV] Kaltenborn was saying 'While the president is a million votes ahead in the popular vote, we have yet to hear from [words drowned out by applause], and we are very sure that when the country votes come in, Mr. Truman will be defeated by an overwhelming majority.' And I went back to bed and went to sleep."

        (MUSIC)

        Harry Truman would make many difficult decisions as America moved into the second half of the twentieth century.

        Truman would send American troops to help the United Nations defend South Korea against aggression from the North. He would join other Western leaders in establishing a new alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They established NATO to provide for the joint defense of Europe and North America.

        Truman and later presidents would make decisions to send large amounts of economic and military aid to countries around the world.

        Many of these decisions were necessary because of America's new responsibilities after World War Two as leader of the Western world.

        (MUSIC)

        You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. And you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        Contributing: David Jarmul

        This was program #202. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        在美國,總統大選從來都是政治生活中振奮人心的事件。然而,美國歷史上沒有幾次大選像1948年那次一樣令人激動,也沒有幾次大選的結果更為出人意料。

        1948年共有四位總統候選人,其中包括現任總統、代表民主黨參選的杜魯門。在1944年的上屆選舉中,杜魯門是副總統候選人、富蘭克林.羅斯福的搭檔。誰知,當選一年后,羅斯福不幸去世,杜魯門繼任總統,做出了向日本投擲原子彈的決定。

        杜魯門在繼任總統的最初幾個月里,犯了好幾個嚴重錯誤。經濟搞不好,跟工會關系又很僵,杜魯門所在的民主黨還在1946年舉行的中期選舉中失去了國會參眾兩院的多數席位。

        大多數美國人對杜魯門的領袖才干缺乏信心,在他們看來,如果杜魯門決定參加1948年的總統大選,必輸無疑。

        民主黨在中期選舉中失利后,杜魯門采取強有力的措施,證明自己的領導才干,而且決定參加1948年的總統大選。

        杜魯門要求國會通過了好幾項幫助黑人的法律,在對蘇聯的外交上采取強硬立場,包括推行馬歇爾計劃和采取柏林空運行動,在向美國人民的講話中也表現得更為有力。

        杜魯門成功獲得民主黨總統提名,他選擇阿拉巴馬州參議員巴克利做自己的副總統競選搭檔。杜魯門在接受黨內提名的時候宣布:"巴克利參議員和我一定會贏得大選,共和黨人不喜歡也得喜歡,你們不要忘記我說的話。"

        共和黨總統候選人是紐約州州長托馬斯.杜威。杜威足智多謀,敢做敢為,而且十分嚴肅。杜魯門在競選中告訴選民,說杜威不理解普通民眾的需要,說他是代表富人的候選人。

        有一次,列車誤點,讓杜威參加演講遲到了,杜威為此對鐵路機械師大發脾氣。杜魯門說,這就證明,杜威根本不了解鐵路機械師等美國工薪階層面對的問題,杜魯門設法將這次選舉描繪成一場辛勤的民主黨人和有錢的共和黨人之間的選戰。

        參加1948年大選的另外兩位候選人來自新成立的政黨,一個是南卡羅來納州代表州權民主黨的斯特羅姆.瑟蒙德,他的大部分支持者是美國東南部的白人,這些人反對讓黑人享受白人享受的所有權利。

        另一位候選人是代表進步黨的亨利.華萊士。他的支持者們認為,杜魯門已經背離了富蘭克林.羅斯福的進步理念。

        瑟蒙德和華萊士都是從民主黨分裂出去的。大多數政治問題專家都認為,這兩個人會分散杜魯門原本可能得到的選票,這樣一來,共和黨候選人杜威就贏定了。

        雖然杜魯門缺少民眾支持,但他意志堅定,不相信選舉大勢已去,并積極爭取民眾支持。杜魯門在一次講話中說:"選舉日那天,總統、國會、州長和市長都不再是政府的化身,政府掌握在你們手中,你們要決定自己想要的政府,如果你們像1946年選舉那樣,三分之二的人都待在家里的話,那選舉結果就是你們活該得到的,就像這個沒用的第80屆國會。"

        杜魯門說,他參加競選,向來都是走到民眾中去,跟大家見面,選總統也沒什么兩樣,他坐著火車,橫貫美國,跟民眾面對面接觸。杜魯門說,如果你站在他們眼前,他們就會知道你說的是不是事實。

        杜魯門說:"如果你們讓共和黨人徹底控制政府,還不如索性把政府交給特殊利益集團,我們會再次經歷繁榮和破滅的經濟周期,就像20年代一樣,最終對誰都沒有好處,除了共產黨人以外。"

        杜魯門全力以赴參加1948年總統大選。他坐著火車橫穿美國,沿途發表了數百次講話,其中包括一些沒什么人知道的城鎮和鄉村,后人稱他這次選戰為 whistle stop campaign,"鄉間小鎮"的選戰。

        杜魯門站在專列的車尾發表演講。他的聽眾包括愛奧華的農民、德克薩斯孤兒院的孩子、蒙塔那和愛達荷州的鄉村居民。

        杜威和共和黨人笑話杜魯門,說他迫不得已,連小鄉村里的選票也不放過。杜魯門則反駁說,這一批評恰恰證明,共和黨人根本沒把普通民眾放在眼里。

        杜威也乘坐火車到全國各地去爭取支持,但是他的講話不疼不癢,遠沒有杜魯門的演講那么令人熱血沸騰。當時的一個記者說,杜威表現得好像一位已經當選的總統,在宣誓就職前打發時間。

        杜威的這種表現并不奇怪,因為美國幾乎所有政治問題專家都認為,杜魯門沒有任何獲勝的機會。華爾街日報的一篇報導,說的就是杜威入主白宮后將會采取的行動,紐約時報也說杜威可能會大獲全勝。

        杜魯門拒絕認輸,相反的,他加倍努力。大多數美國人雖然認為杜魯門會輸,但同時又對他斗到底的精神很佩服,他的一個支持者就曾高喊,"哈里,給他們點顏色看看!"這里的他們指的是共和黨人。沒過多久,全國各地支持杜魯門的人都開始高呼,"哈里,給他們點顏色看看!"

        杜魯門極力爭取工薪階層、猶太人、黑人和天主教徒等一貫支持民主黨的選民。在大選日前的最后一次廣播講話中,杜魯門保證要維持和平,保證領導一個努力幫助人民的政府。他隨后返回密蘇里的家中,等待選舉結果。

        美國各地的共和黨人興高采烈地迎接選舉日的來臨。他們十分肯定,16年后,共和黨人終于可以重返白宮了。來自美國東北部幾個州的選舉初步結果顯示,杜魯門暫時領先,但是共和黨人并不擔心。他們堅信,最后的計票結果一定是杜威當選。

        芝加哥論壇報更是早早就登出了"杜威擊敗杜魯門"的頭版頭條。但是芝加哥論壇報錯了,所有的人都錯了,除了杜魯門和把票投給他的人以外。選舉日當天晚上,票還沒有清點完畢,杜魯門就上床睡覺了,他告訴自己的助手說,他贏了。

        第二天早上起床后,杜魯門發現,他真地當選連任了。杜魯門不僅擊敗了杜威,而且選票還相當懸殊,很多國會民主黨候選人也沾了杜魯門的光,民主黨人一舉奪回了國會參眾兩院的多數席位。

        杜魯門領導美國進入二十世紀下半葉,做出了很多艱難的決定,其中包括派遣美軍幫助韓國抵御朝鮮的進攻,跟其他西方領導人一起建立北大西洋公約組織,保衛歐洲和北美國家的安全。杜魯門和他之后的美國總統還決定向世界其他地區的國家提供大筆的經濟和軍事援助。第二次世界大戰結束后,美國成為西方民主國家的領袖,自然要承擔起新的責任。

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