President Harry Truman Defined Political Correctness in Telegraph-Investigation Pending!
President Harry Truman Defined Political Correctness in Telegraph-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:A chain email says that President Harry Truman said political correctness was a doctrine fostered by a “delusional, illogical minority” and promoted by a “sick” mainstream media in a series of telegraphs to General Douglas A. MacArthur in 1945.
The Truth:President Truman did not explain political correctness to General MacArthur in a series of telegraphs. The chain email claims General MacArthur had never heard of the the term “politically correct” and that President Truman had to explain it to him just before Japan's World War II surrender in 1945. But the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum told TruthorFiction.com that those correspondences "do not exist in the library’s holdings." The library spokesperson also added that the chain email got Chester Nimitz’s middle initial wrong. It’s Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, not C.H. Nimitz. The chain email doesn’t make sense when it comes to other historical details as well. The earliest use of the term “politically correct” came in 1936, according to Merriam-Webster:
“Full Definition of POLITICALLY CORRECT: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.”It seems unlikely that General MacArthur wouldn’t have heard of the term before the Surrender Document with Japan in September of 1945. And the chain email unfairly paints General MacArthur as a simple military commander who wasn’t familiar with the finer points of diplomacy, but that wasn’t the case. He spent five years rebuilding Japan after the war ended, according to his biography:
“While showing appropriate respect for the Emperor, MacArthur purged the Japanese militarists, throwing some in jail and prosecuting others for war crimes. Working through the Japanese government, he disarmed the country’s military forces, confiscated chemical warfare supplies, and ordered the destruction of tanks, planes, bombs, and other military equipment. He also developed and implemented emergency food and medical assistance programs that Morris estimates saved up to three million lives.
“His most significant and lasting accomplishment during the occupation, however, was political reform. Japan’s new constitution transformed the country into a modern Western-style democracy with “the world’s most liberal guarantees of civil rights.” Sixty-five years later, Japan remains a vibrant, free, democratic society—a living monument to the success of MacArthur’s occupation policies. As Morris writes, “America’s successful exercise in the occupation of a country … was … America’s greatest feat by America’s greatest general.”For all those reasons, this eRumor is false..
Collected on: 04/02/2015
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
FINALLY, A DEFINITION OF THE TERM “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS… Defined.
For the last six odd years, almost all of the things I wanted to write or say, have been stymied by a recently coined term referred to as “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”! Although I consider myself rather fluent in the English language, that term was not in my vocabulary. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do a little research and after two weeks of chasing fruitless leads, I found what I’d been looking for at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence Missouri. A unnamed source there sent me copies of four telegrams that were between Harry Truman and Douglas MacArthur on the day before the actual signing of the Surrender Agreement. The contents of those four telegrams below are exactly as received, not a word has been added or deleted!
To: President Harry S Truman
From: General D A MacArthur
Tomorrow we meet with those yellow bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions!
(2) Washington, D C
1300-September 1, 1945
To: D A MacArthur
From: H S Truman
Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious
dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press, because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically
(3) Tokyo, Japan
1630-September 1, 1945
To: H S Truman
From: D A MacArthur and C H Nimitz
Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?
(4) Washington, D C
2120-September 1, 1945
To: D A MacArthur/C H Nimitz
From: H S Truman
Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of sh*t by clean end!
Now, with special thanks to my friends at the Truman Museum and Harry, you and I finally have a full understanding of what “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS” really means!—Allan—