ABSTRACT

The German military threat held the Grand Alliance together. Harry S. Truman inherited a cluster of issues over which his predecessor had temporized or, as in the case of Poland, faced only during the last days of his life. The men from whom Truman sought advice ranged the political spectrum. James F. Byrnes's relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and the fact that he had attended the Yalta Conference enhanced his value to Truman. Byrnes had kept a shorthand record of the plenary sessions, which he had discussed with Truman before FDR's death. Truman's instructions to Hopkins are revealing. He said he wanted to have a "fair understanding" with the Soviets and that Hopkins "could use diplomatic language, or he could use a baseball bat if he thought that was proper approach to Mr. Stalin." The Hopkins mission confirmed Truman's assumption about the Soviet government and the proper way to deal with it.