America: Victory followed by conciliation with the vanquished

In 1961, as a young academic, I called on President Harry S. Truman when I found myself in Kansas City delivering a speech. To the question of what in his presidency had made him most proud, Truman replied: “That we totally defeated our enemies [Germany and Japan in WWII] and then brought them back to the community of nations. I would like to think that only America could have done this”. Conscious of America’s vast power, Truman took pride above all in its humane and democratic values. He wanted to be remembered not so much for America’s victories as for its conciliation.

–Henry Kissinger, World Order, Penguin Press, 2014