Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman

Overview
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1945–1953). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 (1945), he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his unprecedented fourth term.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Truman served in combat in France as an artillery officer in his National Guard unit.
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Timeline

1947   Cold War: in an effort to fight the spread of Communism, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs an act into law that will later be called the Truman Doctrine. The act grants $400 million in military and economic aid to Turkey and Greece, each battling an internal Communist movement.

1947   Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.

1947   The first televised White House address is given by U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

1948   President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

1948   U.S. President Harry S. Truman issues a peacetime military draft in the United States amid increasing tensions with the Soviet Union.

1948   U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.

1949   Point Four Program a program for economic aid to poor countries announced by United States President Harry S. Truman in his inaugural address for a full term as President.

1949   U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment, streamlining the defense agencies of the United States government, and replacing the Department of War with the United States Department of Defense.

1950   President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.

1950   Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempt to assassinate US President Harry S. Truman at Blair House.

 
Quotations

Some of my best friends never agree with me politically.

To a group of four congress freshmen on 2 July 1947. Quoted in The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 44.

I sincerely wish that every member of Congress could visit the displaced person's camp in Germany and Austria and see just what is happening to 500,000 human beings through no fault of their own.

Letter to Walter F. George|Walter F. George (October 1946); as quoted in Great Jewish Quotations (1996) by Alfred J. Kolatch, p. 463

No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected.

s:Truman Doctrine|Speech to a joint session of the US Congress (12 March 1947), outlining what became known as Truman Doctrine|The Truman Doctrine.
Encyclopedia
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 (1945–1953). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 (1945), he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his unprecedented fourth term.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Truman served in combat in France as an artillery officer in his National Guard unit. After the war, he joined the Democratic Party political machine
Political machine
A political machine is a political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses , who receive rewards for their efforts...

 of Tom Pendergast
Tom Pendergast
Thomas Joseph Pendergast controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri as a political boss. "Boss Tom" Pendergast gave workers jobs and helped elect politicians during the Great Depression, becoming wealthy in the process.-Early years:Thomas Joseph Pendergast, also known to close friends as...

 in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. He was elected a county official and in 1934 United States senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. After he had gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

 as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.

Truman faced many challenges in domestic affairs. The disorderly postwar reconversion of the economy of the United States
Economy of the United States
The economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy. Its nominal GDP was estimated to be nearly $14.5 trillion in 2010, approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. The European Union has a larger collective economy, but is not a single nation...

 was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft–Hartley Act over his veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

. He confounded all predictions to win election in 1948
United States presidential election, 1948
The United States presidential election of 1948 is considered by most historians as the greatest election upset in American history. Virtually every prediction indicated that incumbent President Harry S. Truman would be defeated by Republican Thomas E. Dewey. Truman won, overcoming a three-way...

, helped by his famous Whistle Stop Tour
Whistle stop train tour
A whistle stop or whistle-stop tour is a style of political campaigning where the politician makes a series of brief appearances or speeches at a number of small towns over a short period of time...

 of rural America. After his election, he passed only one of the proposals in his liberal Fair Deal
Fair Deal
The Fair Deal was the term given to an ambitious set of proposals put forward by United States President Harry S. Truman to the United States Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address. The term, however, has also been used to describe the domestic reform agenda of the Truman...

 program. He used executive orders to end racial discrimination in the armed forces and created loyalty checks that dismissed thousands of communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 supporters from office. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs
Foreign relations of the United States
The United States has formal diplomatic relations with most nations. The United States federal statutes relating to foreign relations can be found in Title 22 of the United States Code.-Pacific:-Americas:-Caribbean:...

, with the defeat of Nazi Germany and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

, the founding of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

 to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

 to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Berlin Airlift, the creation of NATO, the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

, and the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. Corruption in Truman's administration, which was linked to certain members in the cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

 and senior White House staff, was a central issue in the 1952 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

 and helped cause Adlai Stevenson, Truman's successor for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, to lose to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 in the 1952 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

.

Truman, in sharp contrast to the imperious Roosevelt who kept personal control of all major decisions, was a folksy, unassuming president who relied on his cabinet. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen." His approval ratings in the polls started out very high, then steadily sank until he was one of the most unpopular men to leave the White House. Popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency eventually became more positive after his retirement from politics. Truman's legendary upset victory in 1948
United States presidential election, 1948
The United States presidential election of 1948 is considered by most historians as the greatest election upset in American history. Virtually every prediction indicated that incumbent President Harry S. Truman would be defeated by Republican Thomas E. Dewey. Truman won, overcoming a three-way...

 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates.

Personal life


Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri
Lamar, Missouri
Lamar is a city in Barton County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,474 at the 2011 census. It is the county seat of Barton County. Lamar is well known as the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman.-Geography:...

, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman (1851–1914) and Martha Ellen Young Truman
Martha Ellen Young Truman
Martha Ellen Young Truman was the mother of U.S. president Harry Truman.Martha Ellen Young was born in Jackson County, Missouri, on November 25, 1852, to Solomon Young, a successful farmer who also had a business running Conestoga wagon trains along the Overland Trail, and his wife Harriet Louisa...

 (1852–1947). His parents chose the name Harry after his mother's brother, Harrison Young (1846–1916), Harry's uncle. His parents chose "S" as his "middle name" to please both of Harry's grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. The initial did not stand for anything, a common practice among the Scots-Irish. A brother, John Vivian (1886–1965), soon followed, along with sister Mary Jane Truman (1889–1978).

In his autobiography, Truman stated, "I was named for ... Harrison Young. I was given the diminutive Harry and, so that I could have two initials in my given name, the letter S was added. My Grandfather Truman's name was Anderson Shippe [sometimes also spelled 'Shipp'] Truman and my Grandfather Young's name was Solomon Young, so I received the S for both of them." He once joked that the S was a name, not an initial, and it should not have a period, but official documents and his presidential library all use a period. The Harry S. Truman Library
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
The Harry S Truman Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving papers, books, and other historical materials relating to the 33rd President of the United States Harry S Truman. It is located on a small hill facing U.S...

 has numerous examples of the signature written at various times throughout Truman's lifetime where he uses a period after the S. The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 Stylebook has called for a period after the S since the early 1960s, when Truman indicated he had no preference.

His father John Truman was a farmer and livestock dealer. The family lived in Lamar until Harry was ten months old. They then moved to a farm near Harrisonville
Harrisonville, Missouri
Harrisonville is a city in Cass County, Missouri, United States. The population was 10,019 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of CassCounty.Harrisonville was found in 1837, and was named for Congressman Albert G. Harrison...

, then to Belton
Belton, Missouri
Belton is a city in Cass County, Missouri, and part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 21,730.-Geography:Belton is at ....

, and in 1887 to his grandparents' 600-acre (240-ha) farm in Grandview
Grandview, Missouri
Grandview is a city in Jackson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 24,475 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Grandview is located at , along U.S...

. When Truman was six, his parents moved the family to Independence
Independence, Missouri
Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

, so he could attend the Presbyterian Church Sunday School. Truman did not attend a traditional school until he was eight.

As a young boy, Truman had three main interests: music, reading, and history, all encouraged by his mother, to whom he was very close. As president, he solicited political as well as personal advice from her. He got up at five every morning to practice the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

, which he studied twice a week until he was fifteen. Truman was a page at the 1900 Democratic National Convention
1900 Democratic National Convention
The 1900 Democratic National Convention was a United States presidential nominating convention that took place the week of July 4, 1900 at Convention Hall in Kansas City, Missouri....

 at Convention Hall
Convention Hall
Convention Hall was a convention center in Kansas City, Missouri that hosted the 1900 Democratic National Convention and 1928 Republican National Convention.It was designed by Frederick E...

 in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

.

After graduating from Independence High School (now William Chrisman High School
William Chrisman High School
William Chrisman High School is a high school located in Independence, Missouri as part of the Independence School District. The school was founded in 1888 and was originally known as Independence High School. The first building was located at the intersection of Pleasant and Truman Road, the...

) in 1901, Truman worked as a timekeeper on the Santa Fe Railroad
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway , often abbreviated as Santa Fe, was one of the larger railroads in the United States. The company was first chartered in February 1859...

, sleeping in "hobo
Hobo
A hobo is a term which is often applied to a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, often penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike 'tramps', who work only when they are forced to, and 'bums', who do not...

 camps" near the rail lines; he then worked at a series of clerical jobs. He worked briefly in the mailroom of the Kansas City Star. Truman decided not to join the International Typographical Union
International Typographical Union
The International Typographical Union was a labor union founded on May 3, 1852 in the United States as the National Typographical Union. In its 1869 convention in Albany, New York, the union—having organized members in Canada—changed its name to the International Typographical Union...

. He returned to the Grandview farm in 1906 where he remained until entering the army in 1917. During this period, he courted Bess Wallace
Bess Truman
Bess Truman , was the wife of Harry S. Truman and First Lady of the United States from 1945 to 1953.-Early life:...

 and proposed to her in 1911. She turned him down. Truman said that before he proposed again, he wanted to be earning more money than a farmer did.

World War I



Truman enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard
Missouri Army National Guard
The Missouri Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization...

 in 1905, and served until 1911. At his physical in 1905, his eyesight had been an unacceptable 20/50
20/20 Vision
20/20 Vision is the seventh studio album from country music artist Ronnie Milsap, it was released in 1976.-Track listing:# "20/20 Vision"  – 3:05# "Lovers, Friends and Strangers"  – 2:52...

 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left. Reportedly, he passed by secretly memorizing the eye chart.

With the onset of American participation in World War I, Truman rejoined the Guard. Before going to France, he was sent to Camp Doniphan
Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma
Camp Doniphan was a military base adjacent to Fort Sill, just outside of Lawton, in Comanche County, Oklahoma, that was activated for use in World War I for artillery training....

, near Lawton
Lawton, Oklahoma
The city of Lawton is the county seat of Comanche County, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Located in the southwestern region of Oklahoma approximately southwest of Oklahoma City, it is the principal city of the Lawton Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 for training. He ran the camp canteen with Edward Jacobson
Edward Jacobson
Edward Jacobson was an American-Jewish businessman. He was also a U.S. Army associate, business partner, and close friend of President Harry S. Truman....

, a Kansas City clothing store clerk. At Ft. Sill, he also met Lieutenant James M. Pendergast, nephew of Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Pendergast
Tom Pendergast
Thomas Joseph Pendergast controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri as a political boss. "Boss Tom" Pendergast gave workers jobs and helped elect politicians during the Great Depression, becoming wealthy in the process.-Early years:Thomas Joseph Pendergast, also known to close friends as...

, a Kansas City politician. Both men were to have a profound influence on Truman's later life.

Truman became an officer, and then battery
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...

 commander in an artillery regiment in France. His unit was Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 60th Brigade, 35th Infantry Division, known for its discipline problems. During a sudden attack by the Germans
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in the Vosges Mountains
Vosges mountains
For the department of France of the same name, see Vosges.The Vosges are a range of low mountains in eastern France, near its border with Germany. They extend along the west side of the Rhine valley in a northnortheast direction, mainly from Belfort to Saverne...

, the battery started to disperse; Truman ordered them back into position using profanities that he had "learned while working on the Santa Fe railroad." Shocked by the outburst, his men reassembled and followed him to safety. Under Captain Truman's command in France, the battery did not lose a single man. His battery also provided support for George S. Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

's tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, or Maas-Argonne Offensive, also called the Battle of the Argonne Forest, was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire western front.-Overview:...

. On November 11, 1918 his artillery unit fired some of the last shots of World War I into German positions after the armistice was signed at 5 am but before the ceasefire took effect at 11 am. In a letter he wrote, "It is a shame we can't go in and devastate Germany and cut off a few of the Dutch kids' hands and feet and scalp a few of their old men". The war was a transformative experience that brought out Truman's leadership qualities; he later rose to the rank of Colonel in the Army Reserves, and his war record made possible his later political career in Missouri.

Family, education and early business career


At the war's conclusion, Truman returned to Independence as a captain and married his girlfriend, Bess Wallace, on June 28, 1919. The couple had one child, Mary Margaret (February 17, 1924 – January 29, 2008).

Truman was the only president who served after 1897 without a college degree: poor eyesight prevented him from applying to West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 (his childhood dream). When his high school friends went off to the state university in 1901, Truman instead enrolled in a local business school, but only lasted a semester. In 1923–25 he took night courses toward a law degree at the Kansas City Law School (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law), but dropped out after losing his government job.

A month before Truman married, he and Jacobson opened a haberdashery at 104 West 12th Street in downtown Kansas City. After a few successful years, the store went bankrupt during the recession of 1921
Post-WWI recession
The post–World War I recession was an economic recession that hit much of the world in the aftermath of World War I.In many nations, especially in North America, this growth continued during the war as nations mobilized their economies to fight the war in Europe. After the war ended, however, the...

. Truman worked to pay off the debts until 1934. As he was about to enter the U.S. Senate, banker William Thornton Kemper, Sr.
William Thornton Kemper, Sr.
William Thornton Kemper, Sr. , aka William T. Kemper, is the patriarch of the Missouri Kemper family who developed both Commerce Bancshares and United Missouri Bank to become major a banking family in the Midwest. He also founded the Kemper Grain Company and the Kemper Loan and Investment Company...

 retrieved the note during the sale of a bankrupt bank and allowed Truman to pay it off for $1,000. At the same time, Kemper made a $1,000 contribution to Truman's campaign. Jacobson and Truman remained close friends, and Jacobson's advice to Truman on Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 later played a critical role in the US government's decision to recognize Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

Freemasonry


On February 9, 1909, Harry Truman was initiated into Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 in the Belton Lodge, Missouri. In 1911, he helped establish the Grandview Lodge, and he served as its first Worshipful Master. In 1940, Harry Truman was elected the 97th Grand Master of the Masons of Missouri. In 1945, he was made a 33° Sovereign Grand Inspector General and an Honorary Member of the supreme council at the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington D.C. In 1959, he was awarded the 50-year award.

Hereditary memberships


Truman was a member of Sons of the Revolution and a card-carrying member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans is an American national heritage organization with members in all fifty states and in almost a dozen countries in Europe, Australia and South America...

. Two of his relatives were Confederate soldiers.
Truman's grandmother Harriet (Gregg) Young was put in a "prison camp" due to Gen. Thomas Ewing
Thomas Ewing, Jr.
Thomas Ewing, Jr. was an attorney, the first chief justice of Kansas and leading free state advocate, Union Army general during the American Civil War, and two-term United States Congressman from Ohio, 1877-1881. He narrowly lost the 1880 campaign for Ohio Governor.-Early life and career:Ewing...

's General Order No. 11 and his mother remembered her home being burned as a child, following Order #11.

Jackson County judge


In 1922, with the help of the Kansas City Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 machine
Political machine
A political machine is a political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses , who receive rewards for their efforts...

 led by boss
Political boss
A boss, in politics, is a person who wields the power over a particular political region or constituency. Bosses may dictate voting patterns, control appointments, and wield considerable influence in other political processes. They do not necessarily hold public office themselves...

 Tom Pendergast
Tom Pendergast
Thomas Joseph Pendergast controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri as a political boss. "Boss Tom" Pendergast gave workers jobs and helped elect politicians during the Great Depression, becoming wealthy in the process.-Early years:Thomas Joseph Pendergast, also known to close friends as...

, Truman was elected as a judge of the County Court of the eastern district of Jackson County
Jackson County, Missouri
Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. With a population of 674,158 in the 2010 census, Jackson County is the second most populous of Missouri's counties, after St. Louis County. Kansas City, the state's most populous city and focus city of the Kansas City Metropolitan...

 — an administrative, not judicial, position similar to county commissioners elsewhere.

In 1922, Truman gave a friend $10 for an initiation fee for the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

, but later asked to get his money back; he was never initiated, never attended a meeting, and never claimed membership. Though Truman at times expressed anger towards Jews in his diaries, his business partner and close friend Edward Jacobson
Edward Jacobson
Edward Jacobson was an American-Jewish businessman. He was also a U.S. Army associate, business partner, and close friend of President Harry S. Truman....

 was Jewish. Tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African American veterans upon their return from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 infuriated Truman, and were a major factor in his decision to issue Executive Order 9981
Executive Order 9981
Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. It expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins."In 1947, Randolph, along...

, in July 1948, to back civil rights initiatives and require equal opportunity in the armed forces.

He was not reelected in 1924, but in 1926 was elected the presiding judge for the court, and was reelected in 1930. In 1930 Truman coordinated the "Ten Year Plan," which transformed Jackson County and the Kansas City skyline with new public works projects, including an extensive series of roads, construction of a new Wight and Wight
Wight and Wight
Wight and Wight, known also as Wight & Wight, was an architecture firm in Kansas City, Missouri consisting of the brothers Thomas Wight and William Wight who designed several landmark buildings in Missouri and Kansas....

-designed County Court building, and the dedication of a series of 12 Madonna of the Trail
Madonna of the Trail
Madonna of the Trail is a series of 12 monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. The monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution...

 monuments honoring pioneer women.

In 1933 Truman was named Missouri's director for the Federal Re-Employment program (part of the Civil Works Administration
Civil Works Administration
The Civil Works Administration was established by the New Deal during the Great Depression to create manual labor jobs for millions of unemployed. The jobs were merely temporary, for the duration of the hard winter. Harry L. Hopkins was put in charge of the organization. President Franklin D...

) at the request of Postmaster General James Farley
James Farley
James Aloysius Farley was the first Irish Catholic politician in American history to achieve success on a national level, serving as Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as Postmaster General simultaneously under the first two...

 as payback to Pendergast for delivering the Kansas City vote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1932
The United States presidential election of 1932 took place as the effects of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, the Revenue Act of 1932, and the Great Depression were being felt intensely across the country. President Herbert Hoover's popularity was falling as...

. The appointment confirmed Pendergast's control over federal patronage
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 jobs in Missouri and marked the zenith of his power. It was also to create a relationship between Truman and Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration , which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country...

 and assure avid Truman support for the New Deal.

First term


After serving as judge, Truman wanted to run for Governor or Congress, but Pendergast rejected these ideas. In 1934, Pendergast's aides suggested Harry Truman as a candidate for Senator; after three other men turned him down, Pendergast reluctantly backed Truman as the candidate for the 1934 U.S. Senate election for Missouri. During the Democratic primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

, Truman defeated John J. Cochran
John J. Cochran
John Joseph Cochran was a U.S. Representative from Missouri.Cochran was born in Webster Groves, Missouri and attended the public schools there. He was employed in the editorial department of various St. Louis newspapers for many years, and served as assistant to the election commissioners of St...

 and Tuck Milligan, the brother of a federal prosecutor Maurice M. Milligan
Maurice M. Milligan
Maurice Morton Milligan , a U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is most famous for the successful 1939 prosecution of Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast....

. Truman then defeated the incumbent Republican, Roscoe C. Patterson
Roscoe C. Patterson
Roscoe Conkling Patterson was a United States Representative and Senator from Missouri.Born in Springfield, Missouri, he attended public and private schools, Drury College, and the University of Missouri in Columbia. He graduated from the law department of Washington University Roscoe Conkling...

, by nearly 20%.

Truman assumed office as "the senator from Pendergast." He gave patronage decisions to Pendergast but always maintained he voted his conscience. Truman always defended the patronage by saying that by offering a little, he saved a lot.

In his first term as a U.S. Senator, Truman spoke out against corporate greed and the dangers of Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 speculators and other moneyed special interests attaining too much influence in national affairs. He was largely ignored by President Roosevelt, who did not take him seriously at this stage, and had difficulty getting White House secretaries to return his calls.

1940 election


In 1940, both Stark and Maurice Milligan challenged him in the Democratic primary for the Senate. Truman's organization was a loose-knit network of old friends, prominent Masons, Army buddies, and National Guard activists, combined with old Pendergast allies in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas. Truman was especially weak in the St. Louis area, where Robert E. Hannegan
Robert E. Hannegan
Robert Emmet Hannegan was a St. Louis, Missouri politician who served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue from October 1943 to January 1944. He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1944 to 1947 and United States Postmaster General from 1945 to 1947...

 controlled the party. Hannegan decided to support Truman; he would go on to broker the 1944 deal that put Truman on the vice presidential ticket for Roosevelt. In the end, Stark and Milligan split the anti-Pendergast vote in the Democratic primary, and Truman won by 8000 votes. In the November election, Truman trailed Roosevelt slightly, but defeated the Republican Manvel H. Davis
Manvel H. Davis
Manvel Humphrey Davis was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri State Senate. Davis, a Republican, challenged Harry S...

 by a margin of 51% to 49%.

In September 1940, during the general election campaign, Truman was elected Grand Master
Grand Master (Masonic)
In Freemasonry a Grand Master is the leader of the lodges within his Masonic jurisdiction. He presides over a Grand Lodge, and has certain rights in the constituent lodges that form his jurisdiction....

 of the Missouri Grand Lodge
Grand Lodge
A Grand Lodge, or "Grand Orient", is the usual governing body of "Craft", or "Blue Lodge", Freemasonry in a particular jurisdiction. The first Masonic Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717 as the Premier Grand Lodge of England....

 of Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

. Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election.

Foreign policy


On June 23, 1941, the day after Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 attacked
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Senator Truman declared: "If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word." Although the sentiment was in line with what many Americans felt at the time, it was regarded by later biographers as both inappropriate and cynical.

Truman Committee


Truman gained national visibility by fighting waste and mismanagement in the war effort through his committee (popularly known as the "Truman Committee"). The Roosevelt administration had initially feared the Truman Committee would hurt war morale, and Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson
Robert P. Patterson
Robert Porter Patterson was the United States Under Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt and the United States Secretary of War under President Harry S. Truman from September 27, 1945 to July 18, 1947....

 wrote to the president declaring it was "in the public interest" to suspend the committee. Truman replied that the committee was "100 percent behind the administration" and did not intend to criticize the military conduct of the war. The committee is reported to have saved at least $15 billion and thousands of lives. Truman's advocacy of common-sense cost-saving measures for the military attracted much attention. In 1943, he appeared on the cover of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

. He would eventually appear on nine Time covers and would be named the magazine's Man of the Year
Person of the Year
Person of the Year is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."- History :The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year...

 for 1945 and 1948. After years as a marginal figure in the Senate, Truman was cast into the national spotlight after the success of the Truman Committee.

Vice presidency


Following months of uncertainty over whether Vice President Henry Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

 would continue as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944
United States presidential election, 1944
The United States presidential election of 1944 took place while the United States was preoccupied with fighting World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been in office longer than any other president, but remained popular. Unlike 1940, there was little doubt that Roosevelt would run for...

, Truman was ultimately selected to replace him as the vice presidential candidate in a deal worked out by Hannegan, who was Democratic National Chairman that year. Roosevelt's physical condition had deteriorated sharply by mid-1944. Key FDR advisers, including outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairman Frank C. Walker, incoming Chairman Robert Hannegan, party treasurer Edwin W. Pauley
Edwin W. Pauley
Edwin Wendell Pauley, Sr. was an American businessman and political leader.-Early life:Born in Indianapolis, Indiana to Elbert L...

, strategist Ed Flynn, and lobbyist George E. Allen wanted to keep Wallace off the ticket. They considered Wallace too liberal and "realized that the man nominated to run with Roosevelt would in all probability be the next President. . ."

After meeting personally with the party leaders, FDR agreed to replace Wallace however Roosevelt left the final selection of his running mate until the end of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Before the convention began, Roosevelt wrote a note saying he would accept either Truman or Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Justice William O. Douglas
William O. Douglas
William Orville Douglas was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. With a term lasting 36 years and 209 days, he is the longest-serving justice in the history of the Supreme Court...

. State and city party leaders strongly preferred Truman, but Truman himself did not campaign for the number two spot and later maintained he had not wanted the job of vice president. Roosevelt devised a plan to pressure him to accept the vice presidency and on July 19, the party bosses summoned Truman to a suite in the Blackstone Hotel
Blackstone Hotel
The Renaissance Blackstone Hotel is located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Balbo Street in the Michigan Boulevard Historic District in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. This 21-story hotel was built from 1908 to 1910 and designed by Marshall and Fox. On May 29, 1998, the...

 to listen in on a phone call that, unknown to the senator, they had rehearsed in advance with the president. During the conversation, FDR asked the party bosses whether Truman would accept the position. When they said no, FDR angrily accused Truman of disrupting the unity of the Democratic Party in the middle of a war, then hung up. Feeling that he had no choice, Truman reluctantly agreed to become Roosevelt's running mate.

Truman's candidacy was humorously dubbed the second "Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

" at the 1944 Democratic National Convention
1944 Democratic National Convention
The 1944 Democratic National Convention was held at the Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois from July 19 - July 21, 1944. The convention resulted in the re-nomination of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt for an unprecedented fourth term. Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri was nominated for...

 in Chicago, and his broad appeal contrasted with that of the liberal Wallace and the conservative James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
James Francis Byrnes was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives , as a Senator , as Justice of the Supreme Court , as Secretary of State , and as the 104th Governor of South Carolina...

. His nomination was well received, and the Roosevelt–Truman ticket went on to a 432–99 electoral-vote
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

 victory in the 1944 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1944
The United States presidential election of 1944 took place while the United States was preoccupied with fighting World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been in office longer than any other president, but remained popular. Unlike 1940, there was little doubt that Roosevelt would run for...

, defeating Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York and Governor John Bricker of Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. Truman was sworn in as vice president on January 20, 1945, but was to serve less than three months.

Truman's brief vice-presidency was relatively uneventful. Roosevelt rarely contacted him, even to inform him of major decisions, and they met infrequently. In one of his first acts as vice president, Truman dismayed many when he attended the funeral of his disgraced patron Tom Pendergast
Tom Pendergast
Thomas Joseph Pendergast controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri as a political boss. "Boss Tom" Pendergast gave workers jobs and helped elect politicians during the Great Depression, becoming wealthy in the process.-Early years:Thomas Joseph Pendergast, also known to close friends as...

 a few days after taking office. He brushed the criticism aside, saying simply, "He was always my friend and I have always been his."

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, Truman was presiding over the Senate in his capacity as president of the chamber. He had just adjourned the session for the day and was preparing to have a drink in House Speaker
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn , often called "Mr. Sam," or "Mr. Democrat," was a Democratic lawmaker from Bonham, Texas, who served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for seventeen years, the longest tenure in U.S. history.- Background :Rayburn was born in Roane County, Tennessee, and...

's office when he received an urgent message to go immediately to the White House. Truman assumed that President Roosevelt, who he knew was in Warm Springs, GA, had returned earlier than expected and wanted to meet with him, but upon his arrival, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 informed him that the president had died after suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Truman's first concern was for Mrs. Roosevelt. He asked if there was anything he could do for her, to which she replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? You are the one in trouble now!"

Presidency 1945–1953



Assuming office




Truman had been vice president for only 82 days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. He had rarely discussed world affairs or domestic politics with Roosevelt and was uninformed about major initiatives relating to the war and the top secret Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

, which was about to test the world's first atomic bomb.

Shortly after taking the oath of office, Truman said to reporters:
"Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know if you fellas ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me what happened yesterday, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."


Upon assuming the presidency, Truman asked all the members of FDR's cabinet to remain in place, told them that he was open to their advice, but laid down a central principle of his administration: he would be the one making decisions, and they were to support him. On May 8, 1945, the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 achieved victory
Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day commemorates 8 May 1945 , the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. The formal surrender of the occupying German forces in the Channel Islands was not...

 in Europe.

Atomic bomb


Truman, who had not known of it beforehand, was briefed on the ultra secret Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

 by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
Henry L. Stimson
Henry Lewis Stimson was an American statesman, lawyer and Republican Party politician and spokesman on foreign policy. He twice served as Secretary of War 1911–1913 under Republican William Howard Taft and 1940–1945, under Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the latter role he was a leading hawk...

 on the day Roosevelt died, following his first Cabinet meeting as President. While in Europe for the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, he learned the news that the Trinity test of the first atomic bomb on July 16 had been successful. He hinted to Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 that the U.S. was about to use a new kind of weapon against the Japanese. Though this was the first time the Soviets had been officially given information about the atomic bomb, Stalin was already aware of the bomb project, having learned about it (through espionage
Atomic Spies
Atomic Spies and Atom Spies are terms that refer to various people in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada who are thought to have illicitly given information about nuclear weapons production or design to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early Cold War...

) long before Truman himself did.

In August, after the Japanese government refused the terms of the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

, Truman authorized the use of atomic weapons against Japan.

On Sunday morning, August 6, 1945, at 8:15am local time, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay
Enola Gay
Enola Gay is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named after Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of the pilot, then-Colonel Paul Tibbets. On August 6, 1945, during the final stages of World War II, it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war...

dropped a uranium-fueled atomic bomb, Little Boy
Little Boy
"Little Boy" was the codename of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets of the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, of the United States Army Air Forces. It was the first atomic bomb to be used as a weapon...

, on Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

. Two days later, after Truman's broadcast warning of further attacks, yet having heard nothing further from the Japanese government, the U.S. military executed its plan to drop a second atomic bomb. On August 9, Nagasaki was devastated using a plutonium implosion-type atomic bomb, Fat Man
Fat Man
"Fat Man" is the codename for the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States on August 9, 1945. It was the second of the only two nuclear weapons to be used in warfare to date , and its detonation caused the third man-made nuclear explosion. The name also refers more...

, dropped by the B-29 bomber Bockscar
Bockscar
Bockscar, sometimes called Bock's Car or Bocks Car, is the name of the United States Army Air Forces B-29 bomber that dropped the "Fat Man" nuclear weapon over Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, the second atomic weapon used against Japan....

. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, with roughly half of those deaths occurring on the days of the bombings. Truman received news of the bombing while aboard the heavy cruiser on his way back to the U.S. after the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

. The Japanese surrender
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 came on August 14.

Supporters of Truman's decision argue that, given the tenacious Japanese defense of the outlying islands, the bombings saved hundreds of thousands of lives that would have been lost in an invasion
Operation Downfall
Operation Downfall was the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation...

 of mainland Japan. In 1954, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 said that Truman had "made the only decision he could," and that the bomb's use was necessary "to avoid tremendous sacrifice of American lives." Others have argued that the use of nuclear weapons was unnecessary and inherently immoral. Truman himself wrote later in life that, "I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war ... I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again."

Strikes and economic upheaval



The end of World War II was followed by an uneasy transition from war to a peacetime economy. The president was faced with the renewal of labor-management conflicts that had lain dormant during the war years, severe shortages in housing and consumer products, and widespread dissatisfaction with inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

, which at one point hit 6% in a single month. In this polarized environment, there was a wave of destabilizing strikes in major industries, and Truman's response to them was generally seen as ineffective. In the spring of 1946, a national railway
Rail transport in the United States
Presently, most rail transport in the United States is based on freight train shipments. The U.S. rail industry has experienced repeated convulsions due to changing U.S. economic needs and the rise of automobile, bus, and air transport....

 strike, unprecedented in the nation's history, brought virtually all passenger and freight lines to a standstill for over a month. When the railway workers turned down a proposed settlement, Truman seized control of the railways and threatened to draft striking workers into the armed forces. While delivering a speech before Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 requesting authority for this plan, Truman received word that the strike had been settled on his terms. He announced this development to Congress on the spot and received a tumultuous ovation that was replayed for weeks on newsreels. Although the resolution of the crippling railway strike made for stirring political theater, it actually cost Truman politically: his proposed solution was seen by many as high-handed; and labor voters, already wary of Truman's handling of workers' issues, were deeply alienated.

United Nations, Marshall Plan and the Cold War



As a Wilsonian
Wilsonian
Wilsonianism or Wilsonian are words used to describe a certain type of ideological perspectives on foreign policy. The term comes from the ideology of United States President Woodrow Wilson and his famous Fourteen Points that he believed would help create world peace if implemented.Common...

 internationalist, Truman strongly supported creation of the United Nations, and included Eleanor Roosevelt on the delegation to the UN's first General Assembly. Faced with Communist abandonment of commitments to democracy made at the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, and with Communist advances in Iran, Greece (leading to the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

) and in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Truman and his foreign policy advisors took a hard line against the Soviets.

Although he claimed no personal expertise on foreign matters, Truman won bipartisan support for both the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

, which formalized a policy of containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

, and the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, which aimed to help rebuild postwar Europe. To get Congress to spend the vast sums necessary to restart the moribund
Moribund
Moribund refers to a literal or figurative state of near-death.Moribund may also refer to:* "Le Moribond", a song by Jacques Brel which became better known for its rewritten English-language version, "Seasons in the Sun"...

 European economy, Truman used an ideological argument, arguing that Communism flourishes in economically deprived areas. As part of the U.S. Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 and the Department of the Navy
United States Department of the Navy
The Department of the Navy of the United States of America was established by an Act of Congress on 30 April 1798, to provide a government organizational structure to the United States Navy and, from 1834 onwards, for the United States Marine Corps, and when directed by the President, of the...

 into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

) and creating the U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The act also created the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 and the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

.

Fair Deal



After many years of Democratic majorities in Congress and two Democratic presidents, voter fatigue
Voter fatigue
In politics, voter fatigue is the apathy that the electorate can experience when they are required to vote too often.It is often used as a criticism of the direct democracy system, in which voters are constantly asked to decide on policy via referenda...

 with the Democrats delivered a new Republican majority in the 1946 midterm elections, with the Republicans picking up 55 seats in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and several seats in the Senate. Although Truman cooperated closely with the Republican leaders on foreign policy, he fought them bitterly on domestic issues. He failed to prevent tax cuts or the removal of price controls. The power of the labor unions was significantly curtailed by the Taft–Hartley Act, which was enacted by overriding Truman's veto
Veto override
A veto override is an action by legislators and decision-makers to override an act of veto by someone with such powers - thus forcing through a new decision. The power to override a veto varies greatly in tandem with the veto power itself. The U.S constitution gives a 2/3 majority Congress the...

.

As he readied for the 1948 election, Truman made clear his identity as a Democrat in the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 tradition, advocating national health insurance
National health insurance
National health insurance is health insurance that insures a national population for the costs of health care and usually is instituted as a program of healthcare reform. It is enforced by law. It may be administered by the public sector, the private sector, or a combination of both...

, the repeal of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act, and an aggressive civil rights program. Taken together, it all constituted a broad legislative agenda that came to be called the "Fair Deal
Fair Deal
The Fair Deal was the term given to an ambitious set of proposals put forward by United States President Harry S. Truman to the United States Congress in his January 1949 State of the Union address. The term, however, has also been used to describe the domestic reform agenda of the Truman...

."

Truman's proposals were not well received by Congress, even after Democratic gains in the 1948 election. Only one of the major Fair Deal bills, the Housing Act of 1949
Housing Act of 1949
The American Housing Act of 1949 was a landmark, sweeping expansion of the federal role in mortgage insurance and issuance and the construction of public housing...

, was ever enacted. On the other hand the major New Deal programs still in operation were not repealed, and there were minor improvements and extensions in many of them.

Recognition of Israel



Truman made the decision to recognize the establishment of the State of Israel over the objections of Secretary of State George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

, who feared it would hurt relations with the Arab states. At a meeting in the White House on November 10, 1945, he told envoys to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt: "I am sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism: I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."

Rejecting Arab, British, and U.S. State Department warnings that Jewish immigration to Palestine and a Jewish state would destabilize the Middle East, Truman and Congress continued to support the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people. American policy makers in 1947–48 agreed that the highest foreign policy objective was containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

 of Soviet expansion as the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 unfolded. From Washington's perspective, Palestine was secondary to the goal of protecting the "Northern Tier" of Greece, Turkey, and Iran from Communism, as promised by the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...

. Truman set three goals for the region: a peaceful solution, unwillingness to send US troops, and the need to prevent Soviet penetration.

According to George Lenczowski
George Lenczowski
George Lenczowski was a lawyer, diplomat, scholar, and Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley. Lenczowski was a pioneer in his field as the founder and first chair of the Committee of Middle Eastern Studies at Berkeley...

, Truman's policy on Palestine was influenced by Jewish lobbyists. In his memoirs, Truman wrote that top Jewish leaders in the United States put pressure on him to promote Jewish aspirations in Palestine. At the urging of the British, a special UN committee, UNSCOP, recommended the immediate partitioning of Palestine into two states. With Truman's support, the plan was approved by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947. Secretary of State George Marshall and foreign affairs experts continued to oppose the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. When Truman agreed to meet with Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, the Secretary of State objected but did not publicly dispute his decision. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal
James Forrestal
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense....

 warned about the perils of arousing Arab hostility, which might result in denial of access to petroleum resources in the area, and about "the impact of this question on the security of the United States." Truman recognized the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation.

Truman wrote:

Berlin Airlift




On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked access to the three Western-held sectors of Berlin. The Allies had never negotiated a deal to guarantee supply of the sectors deep within the Soviet-occupied zone. The commander of the American occupation zone in Germany, General Lucius D. Clay
Lucius D. Clay
General Lucius Dubignon Clay was an American officer and military governor of the United States Army known for his administration of Germany immediately after World War II. Clay was deputy to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945; deputy military governor, Germany 1946; commander in chief, U.S....

, proposed sending a large armored column across the Soviet zone to West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 with instructions to defend itself if it were stopped or attacked. Truman believed this would entail an unacceptable risk of war. He approved a plan to supply the blockaded city by air. On June 25, the Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift, a campaign that delivered food and other supplies, such as coal, using military airplanes on a massive scale. Nothing remotely like it had ever been attempted before, and no single nation had the capability, either logistically or materially, to have accomplished it. The airlift worked; ground access was again granted on May 11, 1949. The airlift continued for several months after that. The Berlin Airlift was one of Truman's great foreign policy successes as president; it significantly aided his election campaign in 1948.

Defense cutbacks


Truman adopted a strategy of rapid demobilization after World War II, mothballing ships and sending the veterans home. The reasons for this strategy, which persisted through Truman's first term and well into his second, were largely financial. To fund domestic spending requirements, Truman had advocated a policy of defense program cuts for the U.S. armed forces at the end of the war. The Republican majority in Congress, anxious to enact numerous tax cuts, approved of Truman's plan to "hold the line" on defense spending. In addition, Truman's experience in the Senate left him with lingering suspicions that large sums were being wasted in the Pentagon. In 1949, Truman appointed Louis A. Johnson
Louis A. Johnson
Louis Arthur Johnson was the second United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from March 28, 1949 to September 19, 1950....

 as Secretary of Defense. Impressed by U.S. advances in atomic bomb development, Truman and Johnson initially believed that the atomic bomb rendered conventional forces largely irrelevant to the modern battlefield. This assumption eventually had to be revisited, however, as the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic weapon in the same year.

Nevertheless, reductions continued, adversely affecting U.S. conventional defense readiness. Both Truman and Johnson had a particular antipathy to Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 budget requests. Truman proposed disbanding the Marine Corps entirely as part of the 1948 defense reorganization plan but the idea was abandoned after a letter-writing campaign and the intervention of influential Marine veterans.

By 1950, many Navy ships were sold to other countries or scrapped. The U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, faced with high turnover of experienced personnel, cut back on training exercises, and eased recruitment standards. Usable equipment was scrapped or sold off and ammunition stockpiles were cut. The Marine Corps, its budgets slashed, was reduced to hoarding surplus inventories of World War II-era weapons and equipment. It was only after the invasion of South Korea by the North Koreans in 1950 that Truman sent significantly larger defense requests to Congress — and initiated what might be considered the modern period of defense spending in the United States.

Election of 1948



The 1948 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1948
The United States presidential election of 1948 is considered by most historians as the greatest election upset in American history. Virtually every prediction indicated that incumbent President Harry S. Truman would be defeated by Republican Thomas E. Dewey. Truman won, overcoming a three-way...

 is best remembered for Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory. In the spring of 1948, Truman's public approval rating stood at 36%, and the president was nearly universally regarded as incapable of winning the general election. The "New Deal" operatives within the party — including FDR's son James
James Roosevelt
James Roosevelt was the oldest son of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a United States Congressman, an officer in the United States Marine Corps, an aide to his father, the official Secretary to the President, a Democratic Party activist, and a businessman.-Early life:Roosevelt was...

 — tried to swing the Democratic nomination to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, a wildly popular figure whose political views — and party affiliation — were totally unknown. Eisenhower emphatically refused to accept, and Truman outflanked opponents to his nomination.
At the 1948 Democratic National Convention
1948 Democratic National Convention
The 1948 Democratic National Convention was held at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 12 to July 14, and resulted in the nominations of incumbent Harry S Truman for President and U.S. Senator Alben W...

, Truman attempted to calm turbulent domestic political waters by placing a tepid civil rights plank in the party platform; the aim was to assuage the internal conflicts between the northern and southern wings of his party. Events overtook the president's efforts at compromise, however. A sharp address given by Mayor Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 of Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 — as well as the local political interests of a number of urban bosses — convinced the Convention to adopt a stronger civil rights plank, which Truman approved wholeheartedly. All of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

's delegates, and a portion of Mississippi's, walked out of the convention in protest. Unfazed, Truman delivered an aggressive acceptance speech attacking the 80th Congress and promising to win the election and "make these Republicans like it."

Within two weeks, Truman issued Executive Order 9981
Executive Order 9981
Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. It expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins."In 1947, Randolph, along...

, racially integrating
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 the U.S. Armed Services. Truman took considerable political risk in backing civil rights, and many seasoned Democrats were concerned that the loss of Dixiecrat
Dixiecrat
The States' Rights Democratic Party was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948...

 support might destroy the Democratic Party. The fear seemed well justified — Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 declared his candidacy for the presidency and led a full-scale revolt of Southern "states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

" proponents. This revolt on the right was matched by a revolt on the left, led by former Vice President Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

 on the Progressive Party
Progressive Party (United States, 1948)
The United States Progressive Party of 1948 was a left-wing political party that ran former Vice President Henry A. Wallace of Iowa for president and U.S. Senator Glen H. Taylor of Idaho for vice president in 1948.-Foundation:...

 ticket. Immediately after its first post-FDR convention, the Democratic Party found itself disintegrating. Victory in November seemed a remote possibility indeed, with the party not simply split but divided three ways.

There followed a remarkable 21928 miles (35,289.6 km) presidential odyssey, an unprecedented personal appeal to the nation. Truman and his staff crisscrossed the United States in the presidential train; his "whistlestop
Whistle stop train tour
A whistle stop or whistle-stop tour is a style of political campaigning where the politician makes a series of brief appearances or speeches at a number of small towns over a short period of time...

" tactic of giving brief speeches from the rear platform of the observation car
Observation car
An observation car/carriage/coach is a type of railroad passenger car, generally operated in a passenger train as the last carriage, with windows on the rear of the car for passengers' viewing pleasure...

 Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan Railcar
Named after the Portuguese explorer, the Ferdinand Magellan is a former Pullman Company observation car which served as Presidential Rail Car, U.S. Number 1 from 1943 until 1958. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Miami-Dade County, Florida acquired it in 1959...

came to represent the entire campaign. His combative appearances, such as those at the town square of Harrisburg
Harrisburg, Illinois
Harrisburg is a city and township in Saline County, Illinois, United States. It is located about southwest of Evansville, Indiana, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The 2010 population was 9,017, with a township population of 10,790. It is the county seat of Saline County...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, captured the popular imagination and drew huge crowds. Six stops in Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 drew a combined half-million people; a full million turned out for a New York City ticker-tape parade.

The large, mostly spontaneous gatherings at Truman's depot events were an important sign of a critical change in momentum in the campaign, but this shift went virtually unnoticed by the national press corps, which continued reporting Republican Thomas Dewey
Thomas Dewey
Thomas Edmund Dewey was the 47th Governor of New York . In 1944 and 1948, he was the Republican candidate for President, but lost both times. He led the liberal faction of the Republican Party, in which he fought conservative Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft...

's apparent impending victory as a certainty. One reason for the press' inaccurate projection was polls conducted primarily by telephone in a time when many people, including much of Truman's populist base, did not own a telephone. This skewed the data to indicate a stronger support base for Dewey than existed, resulting in an unintended and undetected projection error that may well have contributed to the perception of Truman's bleak chances. The three major polling organizations also stopped polling well before the November 2 election date — Roper in September, and Crossley and Gallup in October — thus failing to measure the very period when Truman appears to have surged past Dewey.

In the end, Truman held his progressive Midwestern base, won most of the Southern states despite his civil rights plank, and squeaked through with narrow victories in a few critical "battleground" states, notably Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. The final tally showed that the president had secured 303 electoral votes, Dewey 189, and Thurmond only 39. Henry Wallace got none. The defining image of the campaign came after Election Day, when Truman held aloft the erroneous front page of the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

with a huge headline proclaiming "Dewey Defeats Truman
Dewey Defeats Truman
"Dewey Defeats Truman" was a famously inaccurate banner headline on the front page of the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948, the day after incumbent United States President Harry S. Truman beat Republican challenger and Governor of New York Thomas E...

." Truman did not have a vice president in his first term. His running mate, and eventual vice president for the term that began January 20, 1949, was Alben W. Barkley
Alben W. Barkley
Alben William Barkley was an American politician in the Democratic Party who served as the 35th Vice President of the United States , under President Harry S. Truman....

.

Second term (1949–1953)


Truman's inauguration was the first ever televised nationally." His second term was grueling, in large measure because of foreign policy challenges connected directly or indirectly to his policy of containment. He quickly had to come to terms with the end of the American nuclear monopoly. With information provided by its espionage networks in the United States, the Soviet Union's atomic bomb project
Soviet atomic bomb project
The Soviet project to develop an atomic bomb , was a clandestine research and development program began during and post-World War II, in the wake of the Soviet Union's discovery of the United States' nuclear project...

 progressed much faster than had been expected and they exploded their first bomb on August 29, 1949. On January 7, 1953, Truman announced the detonation of the first U.S. hydrogen bomb.

NATO


Truman was a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which established a formal peacetime military alliance with Canada and many of the democratic European nations that had not fallen under Soviet control following World War II. Truman successfully guided the treaty through the Senate in 1949 and appointed Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 as the first commander. NATO's stated goals were to contain Soviet expansion in Europe and to send a clear message to communist leaders that the world's democracies were willing and able to build new security structures in support of democratic ideals. The United States, Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, and Canada were the original treaty signatories; Greece and Turkey joined in 1952.

Chinese Civil War


On December 21, 1949, Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 (Jiang Jieshi) and his National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
The National Revolutionary Army , pre-1928 sometimes shortened to 革命軍 or Revolutionary Army and between 1928-1947 as 國軍 or National Army was the Military Arm of the Kuomintang from 1925 until 1947, as well as the national army of the Republic of China during the KMT's period of party rule...

 left mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, fleeing to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 in the face of successful attacks by Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

's communist army during the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

. In June 1950, Truman ordered the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet
United States Seventh Fleet
The Seventh Fleet is the United States Navy's permanent forward projection force based in Yokosuka, Japan, with units positioned near Japan and South Korea. It is a component fleet force under the United States Pacific Fleet. At present, it is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with...

 into the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait
The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, is a 180-km-wide strait separating Mainland China and Taiwan. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast...

 to prevent further conflict between the communist government at the China mainland and the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 on Taiwan. Truman also called for the ROC not to make any further attacks on the mainland.

Soviet espionage and McCarthyism


Throughout his presidency, Truman had to deal with accusations that the federal government was harboring Soviet spies at the highest level. Testimony in Congress on this issue garnered national attention, and thousands of people were fired as security risks. Truman was dubious about reports of potential Communist or Soviet penetration of the U.S. government, and his oft-quoted response was to dismiss the allegations as a "red herring."

In August 1948, Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers was born Jay Vivian Chambers and also known as David Whittaker Chambers , was an American writer and editor. After being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent later testifying in the perjury and espionage trial...

, a former spy for the Soviets and a senior editor at Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee
House Un-American Activities Committee
The House Committee on Un-American Activities or House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"...

 (HUAC) and presented a list of what he said were members of an underground communist network working within the United States government in the 1930s. One was Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official...

, a senior State Department official. Hiss denied the accusations.

Chambers' revelations led to a crisis in American political culture, as Hiss was convicted of perjury, in a controversial trial. On February 9, 1950, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

 accused the State Department of having communists on the payroll, and specifically claimed that Secretary of State Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson
Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

 knew of, and was protecting, 205 communists within the State Department. At issue was whether Truman had removed all the subversive agents that had entered the government during the Roosevelt years. McCarthy insisted that he had not.

By spotlighting this issue and attacking Truman's administration, McCarthy quickly established himself as a national figure, and his explosive allegations dominated the headlines. His claims were short on confirmable details, but they nevertheless transfixed a nation struggling to come to grips with frightening new realities: the Soviet Union's nuclear explosion, the loss of U.S. atom bomb secrets, the fall of China to communism, and new revelations of Soviet intelligence penetration of other U.S. agencies, including the Treasury Department
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

. Truman, a pragmatic man who had made allowances for the likes of Tom Pendergast and Stalin, quickly developed an unshakable loathing of Joseph McCarthy. He counterattacked, saying that "Americanism" itself was under attack by elements "who are loudly proclaiming that they are its chief defenders. ... They are trying to create fear and suspicion among us by the use of slander, unproved accusations and just plain lies. ... They are trying to get us to believe that our Government is riddled with communism and corruption. ...  These slandermongers are trying to get us so hysterical that no one will stand up to them for fear of being called a communist. Now this is an old communist trick in reverse. ... That is not fair play. That is not Americanism." Nevertheless, Truman never shook his image among the public of being unable to purge his government of subversive influences.

Korean War



On June 25, 1950, the North Korean People's Army under the command of Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

 invaded South Korea, precipitating the outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. Poorly trained and equipped, without tanks or air support, the South Korean Army was rapidly pushed backwards, quickly losing the capital, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

.

Truman called for a naval blockade of Korea, only to learn that due to budget cutbacks, the U.S. Navy no longer possessed a sufficient number of warships to enforce such a measure. Truman promptly urged the United Nations to intervene; it did, authorizing armed defense for the first time in its history. The Soviet Union, which was boycotting the United Nations at the time, was not present at the vote that approved the measure. However, Truman decided not to consult with Congress, an error that greatly weakened his position later in the conflict.

In the first four weeks of the conflict, the American infantry forces hastily deployed to Korea proved too few and were under-equipped. The Eighth Army in Japan was forced to recondition World War II Sherman tanks
M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

 from depots and monuments for use in Korea.

Responding to criticism over readiness, Truman fired his much-criticized Secretary of Defense, Louis A. Johnson
Louis A. Johnson
Louis Arthur Johnson was the second United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from March 28, 1949 to September 19, 1950....

, replacing him with retired General George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

. Truman (with UN approval) decided on a rollback policy — that is, conquest of North Korea. UN forces led by General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 led the counterattack, scoring a stunning surprise victory with an amphibious landing at the Battle of Inchon
Battle of Inchon
The Battle of Inchon was an amphibious invasion and battle of the Korean War that resulted in a decisive victory and strategic reversal in favor of the United Nations . The operation involved some 75,000 troops and 261 naval vessels, and led to the recapture of the South Korean capital Seoul two...

 that nearly trapped the invaders. UN forces then marched north, toward the Yalu River
Yalu River
The Yalu River or the Amnok River is a river on the border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China....

 boundary with China, with the goal of reuniting Korea under UN auspices.

China surprised the UN forces with a large-scale invasion in November. The UN forces were forced back to below the 38th parallel
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

, then recovered; by early 1951 the war became a fierce stalemate at about the 38th parallel where it had begun. UN and U.S. casualties were heavy. Truman rejected MacArthur's request to attack Chinese supply bases north of the Yalu, but MacArthur promoted his plan to Republican House leader Joseph Martin
Joseph William Martin, Jr.
Joseph William Martin, Jr. was a Republican Congressman and Speaker of the House from North Attleborough, Massachusetts. He was notably the only Republican to serve as Speaker between 1931 and 1995....

, who leaked it to the press. Truman was gravely concerned that further escalation of the war might draw the Soviet Union further into the conflict: it was already supplying weapons and providing warplanes (with Korean markings and Soviet fliers). On April 11, 1951, Truman fired MacArthur from all his commands in Korea and Japan.

The Dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur
Dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur
On 11 April 1951, US President Harry S. Truman relieved General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, a popular war hero, of his commands for making public statements that contradicted the administration's policies...

 was among the least politically popular decisions in presidential history. Truman's approval ratings plummeted, and he faced calls for his impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 from, among others, Senator Robert Taft
Robert Taft
Robert Alphonso Taft , of the Taft political family of Cincinnati, was a Republican United States Senator and a prominent conservative statesman...

. The Chicago Tribune called for immediate impeachment proceedings against Truman:

President Truman must be impeached and convicted. His hasty and vindictive removal of Gen. MacArthur is the culmination of series of acts which have shown that he is unfit, morally and mentally, for his high office. . . . The American nation has never been in greater danger. It is led by a fool who is surrounded by knaves. . . .


Fierce criticism from virtually all quarters accused Truman of refusing to shoulder the blame for a war gone sour and blaming his generals instead. Many prominent citizens and officials, including Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 however supported and applauded Truman's decision. MacArthur meanwhile, returned to the United States to a hero's welcome, and made a famous address to Congress. Truman didn't listen to it; he met with the Secretary of State and then took a nap. When he woke up he read what MacArthur had said and called it "a bunch of damn bullshit."

The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two years, with over 30,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting. In the interim, the difficulties in Korea and the popular outcry against Truman's sacking of MacArthur helped to make the president so unpopular that Democrats started turning to other candidates. In the New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

 on March 11, 1952, Truman lost to Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

, who won the preference poll 19,800 to 15,927 and all 8 delegates. Truman was forced to cancel his reelection campaign. In February 1952, Truman's approval mark stood at 22% according to Gallup polls, which was, until George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in 2008, the all-time lowest approval mark for an active American president. However, it did not last beyond March.

Indochina



United States' involvement in Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 widened during the Truman administration. On V-J Day 1945, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 leader Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

 declared independence from France, but the U.S. announced its support of restoring French power
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

. In 1950, Ho again declared Vietnamese independence, which was recognized by Communist China and the Soviet Union. Ho controlled a remote territory along the Chinese border, while France controlled the remainder. Truman's "containment policy" called for opposition to Communist expansion, and led the U.S. to continue to recognize French rule, support the French client government, and increase aid to Vietnam. However, a basic dispute emerged: the Americans wanted a strong and independent Vietnam, while the French cared little about containing China but instead wanted to suppress local nationalism and integrate Indochina into the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

.

NSC-68



The escalation of the Cold War was highlighted by Truman's approval of NSC-68
NSC-68
National Security Council Report 68 was a 58-page formerly-classified report issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Written during the formative stage of the Cold War, it was top secret until the 1970s when it was made...

, a secret statement of foreign policy. It called for tripling the defense budget, and the globalization and militarization of containment policy whereby the U.S. and its NATO allies would respond militarily to actual Soviet expansion. The document was drafted by Paul Nitze
Paul Nitze
Paul Henry Nitze was a high-ranking United States government official who helped shape Cold War defense policy over the course of numerous presidential administrations.-Early life, education, and family:...

, who consulted State and Defense officials; it was formally approved by President Truman as official national strategy after the war began in Korea. It called for partial mobilization of the U.S. economy to build armaments faster than the Soviets. The assumption was the takeover of China, the invasion of South Korea and threats to Vietnam demonstrated a drive for world dominance by the Soviet Union and its Communist allies. A three-part response was called for to strengthen Europe; weaken the Soviet Union economically; and to strengthen the United States both militarily and economically.

White House renovations



In 1948, Truman ordered a controversial addition to the exterior of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

: a second-floor balcony in the south portico that came to be known as the "Truman Balcony
Truman Balcony
The Truman Balcony is the second-floor balcony of the Executive Residence of the White House, which overlooks the south lawn. It was completed in March 1948, during the presidency of Harry S. Truman.-Controversy over construction plans:...

." The addition was unpopular.

Not long afterwards, engineering experts concluded that the building, much of it over 130 years old, was in a dangerously dilapidated condition. That August, a section of floor collapsed and Truman's own bedroom and bathroom were closed as unsafe. No public announcement about the serious structural problems of the White House was made until after the 1948 election had been won, by which time Truman had been informed that his new balcony was the only part of the building that was sound. The Truman family moved into nearby Blair House
Blair House
Blair House is the official state guest house for the President of the United States. It is located at 1651-1653 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., opposite the Old Executive Office Building of the White House, off the corner of Lafayette Park....

; as the newer West Wing
West Wing
The West Wing is the building housing the official offices of the President of the United States. It is the part of the White House Complex in which the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, the Situation Room, and the Roosevelt Room are located...

, including the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

, remained open, Truman found himself walking to work across the street each morning and afternoon. In due course, the decision was made to demolish and rebuild the whole interior of the main White House, as well as excavating new basement levels and underpinning the foundations. The famous exterior of the structure, however, was buttressed and retained while the renovations proceeded inside. The work lasted from December 1949 until March 1952.

Assassination attempt


On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 nationalists Griselio Torresola
Griselio Torresola
Griselio Torresola born in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, was one of two Puerto Rican Nationalists who attempted to assassinate United States President Harry Truman. During the attack on the president, Torresola mortally wounded White House policeman Private Leslie Coffelt and wounded two other law...

 and Oscar Collazo
Oscar Collazo
Oscar Collazo , was one of two Puerto Ricans who attempted to assassinate U.S. President Harry S. Truman.-Early life:...

 attempted to assassinate Truman at Blair House
Blair House
Blair House is the official state guest house for the President of the United States. It is located at 1651-1653 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., opposite the Old Executive Office Building of the White House, off the corner of Lafayette Park....

. On the street outside the residence, Torresola mortally wounded a White House policeman, Leslie Coffelt
Leslie Coffelt
Leslie William "Les" Coffelt was an officer of the White House Police Force who was killed while defending U.S. President Harry S...

. Before he died, the officer shot and killed Torresola. Collazo, as a co-conspirator in a felony that turned into a homicide, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1952. Truman later commuted his sentence to life in prison. Acknowledging the importance of the question of Puerto Rican independence, Truman allowed for a plebiscite in Puerto Rico to determine the status of its relationship to the United States. The attack, which could easily have taken the president's life, drew new attention to security concerns surrounding his residence at Blair House. He had jumped up from his nap, and was watching the gunfight from his open bedroom window until a passerby shouted at him to take cover.

Steel and coal strikes



In response to a labor/management impasse arising from bitter disagreements over wage and price controls, Truman instructed his Secretary of Commerce
United States Secretary of Commerce
The United States Secretary of Commerce is the head of the United States Department of Commerce concerned with business and industry; the Department states its mission to be "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce"...

, Charles W. Sawyer
Charles W. Sawyer
Charles W. Sawyer was United States Secretary of Commerce from May 6, 1948 to January 20, 1953 in the administration of Harry Truman....

, to take control of a number of the nation's steel mills in April 1952. Truman cited his authority as Commander in Chief and the need to maintain an uninterrupted supply of steel for munitions to be used in the war in Korea. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 found Truman's actions unconstitutional, however, and reversed the order in a major separation-of-powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 decision, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, , also commonly referred to as The Steel Seizure Case, was a United States Supreme Court decision that limited the power of the President of the United States to seize private property in the absence of either specifically enumerated authority under Article...

. The 6–3 decision, which held that Truman's assertion of authority was too vague and was not rooted in any legislative action by Congress, was delivered by a Court composed entirely of Justices appointed by either Truman or Roosevelt. The high court's reversal of Truman's order was one of the notable defeats of his presidency. After coal miners went on strike in the spring of 1946, Truman threatened to draft the miners into the Army if they did not return to work, or use members of the Army to replace the workers.

Scandals and controversies


In 1950, the Senate, led by Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

, investigated numerous charges of corruption among senior Administration officials, some of whom received fur coats and deep freezers
Refrigerator
A refrigerator is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room...

 for favors. The Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS) was involved. In 1950, 166 IRS employees either resigned or were fired, and many were facing indictments from the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 on a variety of tax-fixing and bribery charges, including the assistant attorney general in charge of the Tax Division. When Attorney General Howard McGrath fired the special prosecutor for being too zealous, Truman fired McGrath. Historians agree that Truman himself was innocent and unaware, with one exception. In 1945, Mrs. Truman received a new, expensive, hard-to-get deep freezer. The businessman who provided the gift was the president of a perfume company and, thanks to Truman's aide and confidante General Harry Vaughan, received priority to fly to Europe days after the war ended, where he bought new perfumes. On the way back he "bumped" a wounded veteran from a flight back to the U.S. Disclosure of the episode in 1949 humiliated Truman. The President responded by vigorously defending Vaughan, an old friend with an office in the White House. Vaughan was eventually connected to multiple influence-peddling scandals.

Truman pardoned a Louisiana political figure, George A. Caldwell
George Caldwell (Louisiana)
George A. Caldwell, sometimes known as Big George Caldwell , was a powerful Louisiana contractor who supervised the construction of nine buildings on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, including the university library and the structures housing the dairying and physics...

, a building contractor from Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

 who had been imprisoned in the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta
United States Penitentiary, Atlanta
United States Penitentiary, Atlanta is a medium-security federal prison for men in Atlanta, Georgia. It also has a detention center for pre-trial and holdover inmates and an adjacent camp for minimum security male inmates...

 for income tax evasion and accepting kickbacks. He also similarly pardoned the controversial Texas political boss, George Parr of Duval County, the political benefactor of Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, winner of a contested 1948 U.S. Senate election, which ultimately catapulted Johnson into the presidency.

Charges that Soviet agents had infiltrated the government bedeviled the Truman Administration and became a major campaign issue for Eisenhower in 1952. In 1947, Truman issued Executive Order 9835
Executive Order 9835
President Harry S. Truman signed United States Executive Order 9835, sometimes known as the "Loyalty Order", on March 21, 1947. The order established the first general loyalty program in the United States, designed to root out communist influence in the U.S. federal government...

 to set up loyalty boards to investigate espionage among federal employees. Between 1947 and 1952, "about 20,000 government employees were investigated, some 2500 resigned 'voluntarily,' and 400 were fired." He strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his Administration was soft on Communism. In 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

 and Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr.
Herbert Brownell, Jr.
Herbert Brownell, Jr. was the Attorney General of the United States in President Eisenhower's cabinet from 1953 to 1957.-Early life:...

 claimed that Truman had known Harry Dexter White
Harry Dexter White
Harry Dexter White was an American economist, and senior U.S. Treasury department official, participating in the Bretton Woods conference...

 was a Soviet spy when Truman appointed him to the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

.

On December 6, 1950, music critic Paul Hume
Paul Hume
Paul Chandler Hume was the music editor for the Washington Post from 1946 to 1982.-Career:...

 wrote a critical review of a concert by Margaret Truman:
"Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality ... (she) cannot sing very well ... is flat a good deal of the time — more last night than at any time we have heard her in past years ... has not improved in the years we have heard her ... (and) still cannot sing with anything approaching professional finish."

In response, Truman wrote a scathing response:
I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an "eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay." It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work. Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below! Pegler
Westbrook Pegler
Francis James Westbrook Pegler was an American journalist and writer. He was a popular columnist in the 1930s and 1940s famed for his opposition to the New Deal and labor unions. Pegler criticized every president from Herbert Hoover to FDR to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy...

, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry. Truman was criticized by many for the letter. However, he pointed out that he wrote it as a loving father and not as the president.

Civil rights



A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment
Employment discrimination
Employment discrimination is discrimination in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation. It includes various types of harassment....

 practices. This provoked a storm of criticism from Southern Democrats in the run up to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 ... but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 and beaten." In retirement however, Truman was less progressive on the issue. He described the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches
Selma to Montgomery marches
The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They grew out of the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League...

 as silly, stating that the marches would not "accomplish a darned thing."

Instead of addressing civil rights on a case-by-case need, Truman wanted to address civil rights on a national level. Truman made three executive orders that eventually became a structure for future civil rights legislation
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

. The first executive order, Executive Order 9981 in 1948, is generally understood to be the act that desegregated the armed services. This was a milestone on a long road to desegregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

 of the Armed Forces. After several years of planning, recommendations and revisions between Truman, the Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity and the various branches of the military, Army units became racially integrated. This process was also helped by the pressure of manpower shortages during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, as replacements to previously segregated units could now be of any race.

The second, also in 1948, made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 positions based on race. The third executive order, in 1951, established Committee on Government Contract Compliance
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. OFCCP is responsible for ensuring that employers doing business with the Federal government comply with the laws and regulations requiring nondiscrimination...

 (CGCC). This committee ensured that defense contractors to the armed forces could not discriminate against a person because of their race.

Administration and cabinet


All of the cabinet members when Truman became president in 1945 had been previously serving under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Supreme Court



Truman appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

:
  • Harold Hitz Burton
    Harold Hitz Burton
    Harold Hitz Burton was an American politician and lawyer.He served as the 45th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was known as a dispassionate jurist who prized equal justice under the law.-Biography:He...

     — 1945
  • Fred M. Vinson
    Fred M. Vinson
    Frederick Moore Vinson served the United States in all three branches of government and was the most prominent member of the Vinson political family. In the legislative branch, he was an elected member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisa, Kentucky, for twelve years...

     (Chief Justice
    Chief Justice of the United States
    The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

    ) — 1946
  • Tom C. Clark
    Tom C. Clark
    Thomas Campbell Clark was United States Attorney General from 1945 to 1949 and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States .- Early life and career :...

     — 1949
  • Sherman Minton
    Sherman Minton
    Sherman "Shay" Minton was a Democratic United States Senator from Indiana and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the most educated justice during his time on the Supreme Court, having attended Indiana University, Yale and the Sorbonne...

     — 1949


Truman's judicial appointments have been called by critics "inexcusable." A former Truman aide confided that it was the weakest aspect of Truman's presidency. The New York Times condemned the appointments of Tom C. Clark
Tom C. Clark
Thomas Campbell Clark was United States Attorney General from 1945 to 1949 and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States .- Early life and career :...

 and Sherman Minton
Sherman Minton
Sherman "Shay" Minton was a Democratic United States Senator from Indiana and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was the most educated justice during his time on the Supreme Court, having attended Indiana University, Yale and the Sorbonne...

 in particular as examples of cronyism and favoritism for unqualified candidates.

The four justices appointed by Truman joined with Justices Felix Frankfurter
Felix Frankfurter
Felix Frankfurter was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.-Early life:Frankfurter was born into a Jewish family on November 15, 1882, in Vienna, Austria, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Europe. He was the third of six children of Leopold and Emma Frankfurter...

, Robert H. Jackson
Robert H. Jackson
Robert Houghwout Jackson was United States Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court . He was also the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials...

, and Stanley Reed
Stanley Forman Reed
Stanley Forman Reed was a noted American attorney who served as United States Solicitor General from 1935 to 1938 and as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1938 to 1957. He was the last Supreme Court Justice who did not graduate from law school Stanley Forman Reed (December 31,...

 to create a substantial seven-member conservative bloc on the Supreme Court. This returned the court for a time to the conservatism of the Taft era.

Other courts



In addition to his four Supreme Court appointments, Truman appointed 27 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

, and 101 judges to the United States district courts.

1952 election




In 1951, the U.S. ratified the 22nd Amendment
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for the President of the United States. The Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947...

, making a president ineligible to be elected for a third time, or to be elected for a second time after having served more than two years of a previous president's term. The latter clause would have applied to Truman in 1952, except that a grandfather clause
Grandfather clause
Grandfather clause is a legal term used to describe a situation in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future situations. It is often used as a verb: to grandfather means to grant such an exemption...

 in the amendment explicitly excluded the current president from this provision. However, Truman decided not to run for reelection.

At the time of the 1952 New Hampshire primary, no candidate had won Truman's backing. His first choice, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson
Fred M. Vinson
Frederick Moore Vinson served the United States in all three branches of government and was the most prominent member of the Vinson political family. In the legislative branch, he was an elected member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisa, Kentucky, for twelve years...

, had declined to run; Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson had also turned Truman down; Vice President Barkley was considered too old; and Truman distrusted and disliked Senator Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

, whom he privately called "Cowfever."

Truman's name was on the New Hampshire primary ballot but Kefauver won. On March 29, Truman announced his decision not to run for re-election. Stevenson, having reconsidered his presidential ambitions, received Truman's backing and won the Democratic nomination.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, now a Republican and the nominee of his party, campaigned against what he denounced as Truman's failures regarding "Korea, Communism and Corruption" and the "mess in Washington," and promised to "go to Korea." Eisenhower defeated Stevenson decisively in the general election
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

, ending 20 years of Democratic rule. While Truman and Eisenhower had previously been good friends, Truman felt betrayed that Eisenhower did not denounce Joseph McCarthy during the campaign.

Truman Library, Memoirs, and life as a private citizen


Truman returned to Independence, Missouri, to live at the Wallace home he and Bess had shared for years with her mother. Four months after leaving office, Truman was invited to address the Reserve Officers Association
Reserve Officers Association
The Reserve Officers Association is a professional association of officers, former officers, and spouses of all the uniformed services of the United States, primarily the Reserve and National Guard. Chartered by Congress and in existence since 1922, ROA advises and educates the Congress, the...

 in Philadelphia. Refusing official transportation, Truman instead drove his brand-new Chrysler New Yorker, with Bess accompanying him in the passenger seat. The trip, which included stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, and smaller towns, caused a media sensation, especially when the former President was pulled over by a policeman for driving too slowly in a passing lane
Passing lane
A passing lane or overtaking lane is the lane on a multi-lane highway or motorway closest to the center of the road ....

.

Truman's predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, had organized his own presidential library
Presidential library
In the United States, the Presidential library system is a nationwide network of 13 libraries administered by the Office of Presidential Libraries, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration...

, but legislation to enable future presidents to do something similar had not been enacted. Truman worked to garner private donations to build a presidential library, which he donated to the federal government to maintain and operate — a practice adopted by all of his successors.

Once out of office, Truman quickly decided that he did not wish to be on any corporate payroll, believing that taking advantage of such financial opportunities would diminish the integrity of the nation's highest office. He also turned down numerous offers for commercial endorsements. Since his earlier business ventures had proved unsuccessful, he had no personal savings. As a result, he faced financial challenges. Once Truman left the White House, his only income was his old army pension: $112.56 per month. Former members of Congress and the federal courts received a federal retirement package; President Truman himself ensured that former servants of the executive branch of government received similar support. In 1953, however, there was no such benefit package for former presidents.
He took out a personal loan from a Missouri bank shortly after leaving office, and then set about establishing another precedent for future former chief executives: a book deal for his memoirs of his time in office. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 had overcome similar financial issues with his own memoirs, but the book had been published posthumously, and he had declined to write about life in the White House in any detail. For the memoirs, Truman received only a flat payment of $670,000, and had to pay two-thirds of that in tax; he calculated he got $37,000 after he paid his assistants.

Truman's memoirs were a commercial and critical success; they were published in two volumes in 1955 and 1956 by Doubleday (Garden City, N.Y) and Hodder & Stoughton (London): Memoirs by Harry S. Truman: Year of Decisions and Memoirs by Harry S. Truman: Years of Trial and Hope.

Truman was quoted in 1957 as saying to then-House Majority Leader John McCormack
John William McCormack
John William McCormack was an American politician from Boston, Massachusetts.McCormack served as a member of United States House of Representatives from 1928 until he retired from political life in 1971...

, "Had it not been for the fact that I was able to sell some property that my brother, sister, and I inherited from our mother, I would practically be on relief, but with the sale of that property I am not financially embarrassed."

In 1958, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act
Former Presidents Act
The Former Presidents Act is a 1958 federal law that provides several lifetime benefits to former presidents of the United States.-History:...

, offering a $25,000 yearly pension to each former president, and it is likely that Truman's financial status played a role in the law's enactment. The one other living former president at the time, Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

, also took the pension, even though he did not need the money; reportedly, he did so to avoid embarrassing Truman. Hoover may have been remembering an old favor: shortly after becoming President, Truman had invited Hoover to the White House for an informal chat about conditions in Europe. This was Hoover's first visit to the White House since leaving office, as the Roosevelt administration had shunned Hoover. The two remained good friends for the remainder of their lives.

Later life and death



In 1956, Truman traveled to Europe with his wife. In Britain, he received an honorary degree in Civic Law from Oxford University and met with Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

. On returning to the U.S., he supported Adlai Stevenson's second bid for the White House, although he had initially favored Democratic Governor W. Averell Harriman
W. Averell Harriman
William Averell Harriman was an American Democratic Party politician, businessman, and diplomat. He was the son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman. He served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Truman and later as the 48th Governor of New York...

 of New York.

Upon turning 80, Truman was feted in Washington and to address the United States Senate, as part of a new rule that allowed former presidents to be granted privilege of the floor. He also campaigned for senatorial candidates. After a fall in his home in late 1964, his physical condition declined. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 signed the Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

 bill at the Truman Library and gave the first two Medicare cards to Truman and his wife Bess to honor his fight for government health care as president.

On December 5, 1972, he was admitted to Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

's Research Hospital and Medical Center with lung congestion from pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. He developed multiple organ failure and died at 7:50 am on December 26 at the age of 88. His wife died nearly ten years later, on October 18, 1982. They are buried at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri
Independence, Missouri
Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

. Bess Truman opted for a simple private service at the library for her husband rather than a state funeral in Washington. Foreign dignitaries attended a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral, officially named the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, is a cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. Of neogothic design, it is the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, the second-largest in...

 a week later.

Legacy



When he left office in 1953, Truman was one of the most unpopular chief executives in history. His job approval rating of 22% in the Gallup Poll of February 1952 was lower than Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's was in August 1974 at 24%, the month that Nixon resigned. American public feeling toward Truman grew steadily warmer with the passing years, and the period shortly after his death consolidated a partial rehabilitation among both historians and members of the public. As early as 1962, a poll of 75 distinguished historians conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr.
Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Sr. was an American historian. His son, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was also a noted historian.-Life and career:...

 ranked Truman among the "near great" presidents. Since leaving office, Truman has fared well in polls ranking the presidents among Americans. He has never been listed lower than ninth, and most recently was fifth in a C-SPAN poll in 2009.

Truman has been honored on two U.S. postage stamps, the first issued in 1973 and the second stamp in 1984.

He has also had his critics. After a review of information available to Truman on the presence of espionage activities in the U.S. government, Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick "Pat" Moynihan was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times . He declined to run for re-election in 2000...

 concluded that Truman was "almost willfully obtuse" concerning the danger of American communism. As early as the late 1960s, revisionist historians began attacking Truman. Today, the consensus among historians is that "Harry Truman remains a controversial president."

Truman died during a time when the nation was consumed with crises in Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 and Watergate
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

, and his death brought a new wave of attention to his political career. In the early and mid-1970s, Truman captured the popular imagination much as he had in 1948, this time emerging as a kind of political folk hero, a president who was thought to exemplify an integrity and accountability many observers felt was lacking in the Nixon White House. Truman has been portrayed on screen many times, several in performances that have won wide acclaim, and the pop band Chicago
Chicago (band)
Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The self-described "rock and roll band with horns" began as a politically charged, sometimes experimental, rock band and later moved to a predominantly softer sound, becoming famous for producing a number of hit ballads. They had...

 recorded a nostalgic song, "Harry Truman
Harry Truman (song)
"Harry Truman" is a song written by Robert Lamm for the group Chicago and recorded for their album Chicago VIII , with lead vocals by Lamm. The first single released from that album, it reached number thirteen on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100....

" (1975).

Due to Truman's critical role in the U.S. government's decision to recognize Israel, the Israeli village of Beit Harel was renamed Kfar Truman
Kfar Truman
Kfar Truman is a moshav in central Israel. Located in the Shephelah around three kilometres east of Ben Gurion International Airport, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hevel Modi'in Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 606.-History:...

.
Despite Truman's attempt to curtail the naval carrier arm, which led to the 1949 Revolt of the Admirals
Revolt of the Admirals
The Revolt of the Admirals is a name given to an episode that took place in the late 1940s in which several United States Navy admirals and high-ranking civilian officials publicly disagreed with the President and the Secretary of Defense's strategy and plans for the military forces in the early...

, the navy decided to name an aircraft carrier after him. The was christened on September 7, 1996. The ship, sometimes known as the 'HST', was authorized as USS United States, the same as the carrier that Truman had cancelled in 1949, but her name was changed before the keel laying.

129th Field Artillery Regiment is designated "Truman's Own" in recognition of Truman's service as commander of its D Battery during World War I.

The Truman Scholarship
Truman Scholarship
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive federal scholarship granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. The scholarship is in the amount of $30,000 toward a graduate education...

, a federal program that seeks to honor U.S. college students who exemplified dedication to public service and leadership in public policy, was created in 1975. The President Harry S. Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering, a distinguished postdoctoral three-year appointment at Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories
The Sandia National Laboratories, managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation , are two major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratories....

 was created in 2004. The University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 established the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs to advance the study and practice of governance. The university's Missouri Tigers
Missouri Tigers
The Missouri Tigers athletics programs include the extramural and intramural sports teams of the University of Missouri, located in Columbia, Missouri, United States...

 athletics programs have an official mascot named Truman the Tiger
Truman the Tiger
http://women.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/1046647.jpgTruman the Tiger is the official mascot of the athletic teams of the University of Missouri Tigers. Truman is named after U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who was from the U.S. state of Missouri. The mascot was named on September 12,...

. To mark its transformation from a regional state teachers' college to a highly selective liberal arts university and to honor the only Missourian to become president, Northeast Missouri State University became Truman State University
Truman State University
Truman State University is a public liberal arts and sciences university in Missouri, United States and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. About 6,000 students attend Truman, pursuing degrees in 43 undergraduate and 9 Graduate programs. It is located in Kirksville in...

 on July 1, 1996. A member institution of the City Colleges of Chicago
City Colleges of Chicago
The City Colleges of Chicago is a system of seven community colleges which provide learning opportunities for Chicago residents at the schools or online, and also members of the US military through the Navy Campus to enhance their knowledge and skills. Student enrollment was 115,000 in 2007...

, Harry S Truman College
Harry S Truman College
Harry S Truman College, popularly called Truman College and formerly called Mayfair College, is a city college of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Located at 1145 West Wilson Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood, the school was named in honor of U.S...

 in Chicago, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 is named in honor of the president for his dedication to public colleges and universities. The headquarters for the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

, built in the 1930s but never officially named, was dedicated as the Harry S Truman Building
Harry S Truman Building
The Harry S. Truman Building is the headquarters of the United States Department of State. It is located in the national capital of Washington, D.C.....

 in 2000.

In 1991, Truman was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians
Hall of Famous Missourians
The Hall of Famous Missourians is located in Jefferson City, Missouri, in the third-floor rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol. The group of bronze busts depicts prominent Missourians honored for their achievements and contributions to the state. Inductees are selected by the Speaker of the...

, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol
Missouri State Capitol
The Missouri State Capitol is located in the U.S. state of Missouri. Housing the Missouri General Assembly, it is located in the state capital of Jefferson City at 201 West Capitol Avenue. The domed building was designed by the New York architectural firm of Tracy and Swartwout and completed in 1917...

. Thomas Daniel, grandson of the Trumans accepted a star on the Missouri Walk of Fame in 2006 to honor his late grandfather. John Truman, Truman's nephew, accepted a star for Bess Truman in 2007. The Walk of Fame is in Marshfield
Marshfield, Missouri
Marshfield is a city in Webster County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,633 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat and part of the Springfield, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.- History :...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, a city Truman visited in 1948.

He was honored by the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 with a 20¢ Great Americans series
Great Americans series
The Great Americans series is a set of definitive stamps issued by the United States Postal Service, starting on December 27, 1980 with the 19¢ stamp depicting Sequoyah, and continuing through 2002, the final stamp being the 78¢ Alice Paul self-adhesive stamp. The series, noted for its simplicity...

 postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

.

Historic sites

  • Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
    Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
    The Harry S. Truman National Historic Site preserves both the family farm and the longtime home of Harry S. Truman , 33rd President of the United States...

     includes the Wallace House at 219 N. Delaware in Independence and the family farmhouse at Grandview, Missouri
    Grandview, Missouri
    Grandview is a city in Jackson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 24,475 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Grandview is located at , along U.S...

     (Truman sold most of the farm for Kansas City suburban development including the Truman Corners Shopping Center).
  • Harry S. Truman Birthplace State Historic Site is the house where Truman was born and spent 11 months in Lamar, Missouri.
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
    Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
    The Harry S Truman Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving papers, books, and other historical materials relating to the 33rd President of the United States Harry S Truman. It is located on a small hill facing U.S...

     — The Presidential library
    Presidential library
    In the United States, the Presidential library system is a nationwide network of 13 libraries administered by the Office of Presidential Libraries, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration...

     in Independence
  • Harry S. Truman Little White House
    Harry S. Truman Little White House
    ]]The Harry S Truman Little White House in Key West, Florida was the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman for 175 days during 11 visits. The house is located in the Truman Annex neighborhood of Old Town, Key West....

     — Truman's winter getaway at Key West, Florida
    Key West, Florida
    Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...


See also


  • Electoral history of Harry S. Truman
    Electoral history of Harry S. Truman
    Electoral history of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, 34th Vice President of the United States and United States Senator from Missouri-United States Senate races, 1934-1940:...

  • Liberal coalition
    Liberal coalition
    The Liberal coalition was a political grouping in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s which promoted Modern liberalism in the United States.-Leaders:Important leaders included:*President Harry S. Truman...

  • National Mental Health Act
    National Mental Health Act
    On July 3, 1946, Harry Truman signed the National Mental Health Act, which called for the establishment of a National Institute of Mental Health. The first meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council was held on August 15...

  • Truman Day
    Truman Day
    Truman Day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. It is celebrated in Missouri as a state holiday, according to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 9-035 Public Holidays and nationally by the United States Democratic Party. Since...

  • List of Presidents of the United States
  • US Presidents on US postage stamps


External links




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