By Stephen Schlesinger
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Extra resources for Act Of Creation: The Founding Of The United Nations
His education gave him a solid grounding in his early years. But his need to earn a living soon eclipsed his academic pursuits; a career in business intervened. When he was thirty-three, however, and not having enjoyed great success, he quit his commercial work and went to France to fight in the World War I. He rose to the rank of captain. 4 All this was a part of Truman’s intellectual heritage when Edward Stettinius, the secretary of state, knocked on Mrs. Roosevelt’s study door and entered, his eyes red and swollen.
And, ultimately, there was also Truman’s own deep commitment to such a federation expressed in the Tennyson poem that he had kept in his wallet all these years and reflecting a mind constantly tinkering with how to bring countries together to create peace. Truman went a step further. Shortly after his brief cabinet meeting, Truman, sitting with his wife and daughter in the Oval Office, invited Stettinius, Steve Early, and his own press secretary, Jonathan Daniels, to stay for a moment. He asked them what he could further do regarding the United Nations situation, for he was still anxious that he had not said enough.
It was a laborious task—but over the period of about six months, I managed to accumulate the entire public story of the conference; this gave me a real sense for the first time of how crises erupted and died away at San Francisco, of the constant flow of commentary and analysis that influenced events, of who was or wasn’t a key figure at various public sessions. In due course, I also supplemented my research with the private notes of the participants at two libraries, the Truman Presidential Library and the Stettinius Archives at the University of Virginia.