Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8th, 1884. He was the 33rd President of the United States of America from 1945 to 1953. Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died after months of declining health. He had previously served as the 34th Vice President of the United States for Roosevelt for about 4 months. During Truman’s presidency, the U.S. successfully ended World War II.  In World War I, Truman served in France as an artillery officer in his National Guard unit. 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 Truman Committee, which exposed waste, fraud, and corruption in wartime contracts. Germany surrendered a few weeks after Truman assumed the Presidency, but the war with Japan was expected to last another year. Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons against Japan led to a speedy end of the war. After being informed that the Atom Bomb test in New Mexico had succeeded, Truman wrote in his diary: “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.” At an Ally conference, President Truman had hinted to Joseph Stalin (Leader of the Soviet Union) about the bomb. It was the first official piece of information given to the Soviet Union about the bomb, but Stalin had known about it, through spies, long before Truman did.  In 1953, upon leaving office, President Truman returned home to Missouri to live with his wife and mother-in-law in the town of Independence. Once Truman left the White House, his only income was his old army pension; $112.56 per month.  “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.”, said the former President in 1957. In 1958, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act, 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, also took the pension, even though he did not need the money.  He supposedly did so to avoid embarrassing Truman. Harry Truman died on December 26th, 1972 at the age of 88. 

Interesting Facts About Harry Truman:

Harry S. Truman was playing Poker when he learned he was to be president.

“Tell him to go to hell!” –  was Truman’s first response to the messenger who told him that Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted him to be his running mate.

His Secretary of State won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Truman was only briefed about the atomic bomb for about 30 minutes.

He was the first president to give a speech on television.

Harry S. Truman was the first president to take office during wartime.

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