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10 fascinating facts about President Harry S. Truman - National  Constitution Center

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. Harry S Truman

Harry S. Truman

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Harry S. Truman
Official portrait, c. 1947
33rd President of the United States
In office
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
Vice PresidentNone (1945–1949)[a]Alben W. Barkley (1949–1953)
Preceded byFranklin D. Roosevelt
Succeeded byDwight D. Eisenhower
34th Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1945 – April 12, 1945
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byHenry A. Wallace
Succeeded byAlben W. Barkley
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
January 3, 1935 – January 17, 1945
Preceded byRoscoe C. Patterson
Succeeded byFrank P. Briggs
Presiding Judge of Jackson County, Missouri
In office
January 1, 1927[1] – January 1, 1935[1]
Preceded byElihu W. Hayes[2]
Succeeded byEugene I. Purcell[3]
Judge of Jackson County, Missouri’s Eastern District
In office
January 1, 1923[4] – January 1, 1925[4]
Preceded byJames E. Gilday[5]
Succeeded byHenry Rummel[3]
Personal details
BornMay 8, 1884
Lamar, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 1972 (aged 88)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Resting placeHarry S. Truman Presidential Library and MuseumIndependence, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bess Wallace ​(m. 1919)​
Parent(s)John Anderson Truman
Martha Ellen Young
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1905–1911 (National Guard)1917–1919 (Army)1920–1953 (Army Reserve)
RankColonel (Army Reserve)
CommandsBattery D, 129th Field Artillery Regiment35th Division1st Battalion, 379th Field Artillery Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division379th Field Artillery Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division
BattlesWorld War ISt. MihielMeuse–ArgonneDefensive Sector
AwardsWorld War I Victory MedalArmed Forces Reserve Medal (2)

Harry S. Truman[b] (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. A lifetime member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a US Senator from the State of Missouri from 1935 to 1945. He was chosen as incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s running mate for the 1944 presidential election. Truman was inaugurated as vice-president in 1945 and served for less than three months until President Roosevelt died. Now serving as president, Truman implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe and established both the Truman Doctrine and NATO to contain the expansion of communism. He proposed numerous liberal domestic reforms, but few were enacted by the Conservative Coalition that dominated the Congress.

Truman grew up in Independence, Missouri, and during World War I fought in France as a captain in the Field Artillery. Returning home, he opened a haberdashery in Kansas City, Missouri, and was elected as a judge of Jackson County in 1922. Truman was elected to the United States Senate from Missouri in 1934 and gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee, which was aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts. Upon assuming the presidency, he was informed about the Manhattan Project. Truman authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war against the Empire of Japan. Truman’s administration engaged in an internationalist foreign policy by working closely with British Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Truman staunchly denounced isolationism. He energized the New Deal coalition during the 1948 presidential election and won a surprise victory against Thomas E. Dewey that secured his own presidential term.

After the onset of the Cold War, Truman oversaw the Berlin Airlift and Marshall Plan in 1948. When North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, he lobbied for intervention from the United Nations in the Korean War. The Truman administration deployed forces in Korean War without congressional authorization and as the war stalemated his popularity fell. Domestically, his administration successfully guided the U.S. economy through the postwar economic challenges; the expected postwar depression never happened. In 1948, he proposed the first comprehensive civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. Congress failed to pass these measures which prompted Truman to issue Executive Orders 9980 and 9981 which ordered the desegregation of the armed forces and agencies of the federal government.

Corruption in the Truman administration became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election. He was eligible for reelection in 1952, but with weak polls he decided not to run. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower attacked Truman’s record and won easily. Truman went into a retirement marked by the founding of his presidential library and the publication of his memoirs. It was long thought that his retirement years were financially difficult for Truman, resulting in Congress voting a pension for former presidents, but ample evidence eventually emerged that he amassed considerable wealth, some of it while still president. When he left office, Truman’s administration was heavily criticized, though critical reassessment of his presidency has improved his reputation among historians and the general population.[7]


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