An Unplanned Life: A Memoir by George McKee Elsey

By George McKee Elsey

  An Unplanned existence is the scintillating memoir of George Elsey, a small-town child from western Pennsylvania who, at age twenty-four, was once assigned to Franklin Roosevelt’s top-secret intelligence and communications heart within the White condo. As an officer within the U.S. Naval Reserve, Elsey helped short the president and his senior affiliates on warfare occasions. He and his map room colleagues acted because the secretariat for Roosevelt’s cabled exchanges with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek; filed documents of “summit conferences”; and kept in safes plans for destiny operations. He additionally traveled with the president that allows you to code and decode the labeled messages that flowed among the presidential teach or send and the White condo. Elsey’s tasks persevered with Harry Truman’s succession to the presidency. He decoded the recognized message from Secretary of battle Henry Stimson reporting the shedding of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and carried it to President Truman. In 1947, he shed his Naval Reserve uniform and joined the White House’s civilian employees as assistant to the specified information to the president. In 1949, he turned administrative assistant to the president, and, in 1952, he turned a member of the Mutual safety service provider employees. in the course of these years, he grew very just about Harry Truman, and therefore, an immense section of An Unplanned lifestyles pertains to his reviews then. within the first postwar wintry weather, Elsey was once usually the single employees member who followed President Truman at the USS Williamsburg. In September 1946, Elsey submitted a report back to Truman on U.S.-Soviet family members, which got here to be popular because the “Clifford-Elsey Report.” Providing Truman with notes for a few 200 of his “back-of-the-train” casual talks, Elsey performed a component within the top remembered function of the “Whistle-Stop crusade” that led to “the political disenchanted of the century.” as well as his years on the White condo, Elsey additionally touches on his post–White condo years—his time in deepest undefined, his months with Clark Clifford whilst Clifford  was making an attempt unsuccessfully to extricate the US from Vietnam, and his lengthy organization with the yankee crimson go.             An Unplanned existence is an interesting examine the lifetime of a rare person who performed a major and remarkable half in varied presidents’ judgements and affected the process our country. someone with an curiosity in background will locate this memoir interesting and useful.

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Why so simple a solution had not been adopted years earlier baffled me. I was happy to be rid of the mess and to no longer have to know or care about the miscreants, even though reading salacious details about the sexual antics of some of them, highlighted in a few cases with photographs, had brightened dull hours of long night watches. Almost immediately after Mott’s departure, I was caught up in a tussle between our navy and the admiralty in London. Admiral King was furious (his usual state of emotion) over what he regarded as British sloppiness in protecting security in the antisubmarine campaign.

I learned the most secret of all secrets—that the United States and England had broken many of the Japanese and German codes. Although the duties of Mott’s watch officers could have been handled by any clerk, civilian or military, it was the highly classified character of the information to which we were privy that required us to be commissioned officers. Because the hours were irregular and the street-car ride from Shaw’s apartment on Capitol Hill was tedious, I left the apartment with warm thanks for Tom’s hospitality and moved to a rooming house on Seventeenth Street within walking distance of the Navy Department.

Now it was my turn to be ecstatic! I could not conceive of a more exciting post for a prospective teacher of American history than to be at the White House during the nation’s greatest war. Chapter Two The Map Room The first White House Map Room took shape in a cluttered temporary space in the West Wing of the White House. In the hectic days that followed the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, the naval aide to the president, Captain John Beardall, took over what was known as the Fish Room.

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