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.
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.