July 27th: The 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice

Truman's Memo at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation
Truman’s Memo at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation

Today, July 27th, is the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s Between the Lines features a handwritten letter from President Harry Truman to his Secretary of State. The Between the Lines piece, entitled An Historic Memo: Truman Salutes Secretary of State Acheson’s Crucial Role in Going to War With Korea, explains how Truman’s memo to Dean Acheson reflects the very beginning of the Cold War conflict.

Regarding June 24 and 25 – Your initiative in immediately calling the Security Council of the UN on Saturday night and notifying me was the key to what developed afterwards,”  Truman wrote. “Had you not acted promptly in that direction, we would have had to go into Korea alone. The meeting Sunday night at the Blair House was the result of your action Saturday and the results obtained show that you are a great Secretary of State and a diplomat. Your handling of the situation since has been superb.”

The Foundation explains: “But the victory hoped for, prayed for, so seemingly at hand, did not take place. Taejon, after two days of ferocious fighting, was a cruel defeat. The American commander was captured; the shattered remnants of the Twenty-Fourth were forced to retreat. Truman later said that sending troops to fight in Korea was the most difficult decision of his presidency: Acheson, this handwritten memo attests, was the person who made that decision possible.”

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George Bennett is a high school history teacher and American president enthusiast. As a grandfather of two, he takes great interest in children's education and literature. His hobbies include model airplanes, kite flying and swimming. Contact George at george[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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