|The Man With the Iron Heart|
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
Jerry Duncan was a Republican US Congressman from Indiana. A member of the conservative wing of the GOP, Duncan had opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and had been isolationist until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. After World War II ended, Duncan became one of the critical Congressional leaders in calling for an end to the occupation of Germany.
Duncan began his opposition after one of his constituents, Diana McGraw, shared with him the fact that nearly one thousand American troops had been killed by the actions of the German Freedom Front in the six months immediately following Germany's official surrender. Astonished, Duncan agreed to begin looking into the occupation and the Truman Administration's handling of it. Duncan was never truly dedicated as McGraw was, he only used the occupation to bring the Republicans back to power and to take revenge upon the Democrats.
In the aftermath of the first protest organized by McGraw in Indianpolis, Duncan brought the concerns McGraw had raised to the House floor. He was met with sharp criticism and conflict, in part led by Sam Rayburn (D-Texas).
In December 1945, Duncan was able to gather a bi-partisan group of legislators who opposed the occupation. Chief among these was Senator Robert Taft (R-Ohio). Duncan, Taft, and their colleagues joined a protest staged by Diana McGraw's Mothers Against the Madness in Germany outside the White House to much press coverage.
Throughout 1946, Duncan maintained his fiery oratory on the House floor. After the GFF detonated a radium bomb in the American compound in Frankfurt, Duncan heavily grilled Secretary of War Robert Patterson, demonstrating that the War Department had failed on multiple levels prior to the incident.
As November approached, Duncan pushed the issue of the occupation harder. He easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Douglas Catledge. Moreover, the Republican Party was able to take control of the Congress for the first time since 1933.
The House, under the Speakership of Joseph Martin immediately began to plan the new budget for 1947. Duncan, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, participated in the planning. As expected, the proposed budget cut off all funding for the continued occupation. President Truman immediately vetoed, and the Congress could not muster the votes to override.
Duncan was pleased to see that ultimately, the Republicans would have their way. Congress would not fund the occupation, and Truman couldn't force them to. By 1948, most of the American occupations forces had been withdrawn from Germany, and the Republicans were mounting their challenge to Truman in the November election.