Harry S. Truman

US President

1884 – 1972

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Who was Harry S. Truman?

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. The final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Under Truman, the U.S. successfully concluded World War II; in the aftermath of the conflict, tensions with the Soviet Union increased, marking the start of the Cold War.

Truman was born in Missouri, and spent most of his youth on his family's farm. During World War I, Truman served in combat in France as an artillery officer in his National Guard unit. After the war, he briefly owned a haberdashery and joined the Democratic Party political machine of Tom Pendergast in Kansas City, Missouri. He was first elected to public office as a county official, and in 1934 became U.S. senator. He gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, which exposed waste, fraud, and corruption in wartime contracts.

While Germany surrendered a few weeks after Truman assumed the Presidency, the war with Japan was expected to last another year or more. Truman's decision to use atomic weapons against Japan led to a speedy end of the war but remains controversial. His presidency was a turning point in foreign affairs, as the nation supported an internationalist foreign policy in conjunction with European allies. Working closely with Congress, Truman assisted in the founding of the United Nations, issued the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, and passed the $13 billion Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, including the Axis Powers of both World Wars, whereas the wartime Ally Soviet Union became the peacetime enemy, and the Cold War began. He oversaw the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and the creation of NATO in 1949. When communist North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, he immediately sent in U.S. troops and gained UN approval for the Korean War. After initial success, the UN forces were thrown back by Chinese intervention and the conflict was stalemated through the final years of Truman's presidency.

Famous Quotes:

  • The president is the representative of the whole nation and he's the only lobbyist that all the one hundred and sixty million people in the country have.
  • Some of the Presidents were great and some of them weren't. I can say that, because I wasn't one of the great Presidents, but I had a good time trying to be one, I can tell you that.
  • Whenever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.
  • When a leader is in the Democratic Party he is a boss, and when he is in the Republican Party he is a leader.
  • The United Nations is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members.
  • How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?
  • Any man who has had the job I've had and didn't have a sense of humor wouldn't still be here.
  • We must build a new world, a far better world -- one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected.
  • A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment.
  • I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.

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May 8, 1884
Also known as
  • Harry Truman
  • Harry S Truman
  • Vice President Harry S Truman
  • President Truman
  • President Harry S. Truman
  • President Harry Truman
  • Pres. Harry S Truman
  • President Harry S Truman
  • Give 'Em Hell Harry
  • Haberdasher Harry
  • Baptists
  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • Scottish American
  • Scotch-Irish American
  • United States of America
  • William Chrisman High School
  • Juris Doctor, University of Missouri–Kansas City
  • University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law
  • President
    (1945/04/12 - 1953/01/20)
  • President, Federal government of the United States
    (1945/04/12 - 1953/01/20)
Lived in
  • Independence
  • Missouri
Dec 26, 1972
Kansas City
Resting place
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

on July 23, 2013


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