United States History Since 1945
November 21, 2011
“The Way to Peace: The Vision of Henry Agard Wallace”
During the 1930s and 1940s, many people in the United States government organized for war. However, some strove for peace and the continuation of the reforms which began during the New Deal. One such man was Henry Agard Wallace, Vice President under Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945, and Secretary of Commerce until his resignation in 1946. In these key positions, Wallace was a direct witness to the momentous and often confusing events of those years. From 1942 to 1946, he kept a diary of his activities, encounters, and thoughts. It is not only a window into history, but also an intensely personal document revealing his dreams and ambitions for the United States. In both his diary and his other works, Wallace brought forth the ideas and ideals which he hoped America would accept.
Throughout much of his early life before his career in government, as well as his later life, after he resigned from politics, Henry A. Wallace dedicated himself to agrarian studies. As Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940, administrator of the vast farm programs, spokesman for rural America, and theorist for the New Deal programs, Wallace was a public figure who held many positions in which he was able to carry his ideas to the American people. Roosevelt once said that “no man was more of the American soil than Wallace”. President Roosevelt noticed Wallace’s developing popularity with farmers and the common people, and subsequently selected Wallace as his vice-presidential candidate in his third term election of 1940. Roosevelt granted Wallace responsible positions in the mobilization for war, particularly as the chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare, and he gained even more standing in the eyes of the people. In his diary, Wallace kept a meticulous log of his activities and thoughts from 1942 until 1946. His diary not only reveals much of went on...