Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman
TRUMAN 58-766-06 (cropped).jpg
Official portrait, c. 1947
33rd President of the United States
In office
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
Vice President
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
Born(1884-05-08)May 8, 1884
Lamar, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 1972(1972-12-26) (aged 88)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Resting placeHarry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 1919)
ChildrenMargaret
Parent(s)John Anderson Truman
Martha Ellen Young
Occupation
  • Politician
  • haberdasher
  • farmer
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service
  • 1905–1911 (National Guard)
  • 1917–1919 (Army)
  • 1920–1953 (Army Reserve)
RankColonel (Army Reserve)
Commands
Battles
Awards

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 U.S. 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. In 1940–1944 he gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee, which was aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts. Only after assuming the presidency was he informed about the atomic bomb. Truman authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 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 Republican Thomas E. Dewey that secured his own presidential term.

Truman presided over the onset of the Cold War in 1947. He oversaw the Berlin Airlift and Marshall Plan in 1948. He defended South Korea against North Korea in 1950–1953. It was an embarrassing stalemate. Domestically, his administration successfully guided the economy through the postwar economic challenges such as strikes and inflation. In 1948, he proposed Congress pass comprehensive civil rights legislation. Congress refused, so in 1948 Truman issued Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 9981 which ended racial discrimination in federal civilian and military affairs.

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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  1. ^ a b Ferrell 1994, p. 108.
  2. ^ "County Judges 1923–1972". County History: County Judges. Kansas City, Missouri: Jackson County, Missouri. 2018. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "County Judges 1923–1972".
  4. ^ a b Ferrell 1994, p. 99.
  5. ^ "County Judges 1826–1922". County History: County Judges. Kansas City, Missouri: Jackson County, Missouri. 2018. Archived from the original on September 30, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Use of the Period After the "S" in Harry S. Truman's Name". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  7. ^ Hamby, Alonzo L. (October 4, 2016). "Harry S. Truman: Life in Brief". Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved February 2, 2022.

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