Harry S. Truman

President of the United States from 1945 to 1953 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Harry S. Truman[lower-alpha 2] (May 8, 1884  December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States senator from Missouri from 1935 to 1945 and briefly as the 34th vice president in 1945 under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Assuming the presidency after Roosevelt's death, Truman implemented the Marshall Plan in the wake of World War II to rebuild the economy of Western Europe and established both the Truman Doctrine and NATO to contain the expansion of Soviet communism. He proposed numerous liberal domestic reforms, but few were enacted by the conservative coalition that dominated the Congress.

Quick facts: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United...
Harry S. Truman
Official portrait of Harry S. Truman as president of the United States
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
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1919)
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service
RankUS-O6_insignia.svg Colonel (Army Reserve)

Truman was raised 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. Between 1940 and 1944, he gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee, which was aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts.

Truman was elected vice president in the 1944 presidential election and assumed the presidency upon Roosevelt's death. It was only when Truman assumed the presidency that he was informed about the ongoing Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb. Truman authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to Japan's surrender and the end of the world war. Truman's administration engaged in an internationalist foreign policy by working closely with Britain. Truman staunchly denounced isolationism. He energized the New Deal coalition during the 1948 presidential election, despite a divided Democratic Party, and won a surprise victory against Republican Party nominee 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. With the involvement of the US in the Korean War of 1950–1953, South Korea repelled the invasion by North Korea. Domestically, the postwar economic challenges such as strikes and inflation created a mixed reaction over the effectiveness of his administration. In 1948, he proposed Congress pass comprehensive civil rights legislation. Congress refused, so Truman issued Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 9981, which prohibited discrimination in federal agencies and desegregated the U.S. Armed Forces.

Investigations revealed corruption in parts of the Truman administration, and this became a major campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election, although they did not implicate Truman himself. He was eligible for reelection in 1952, but with poor polling, he chose not to run. 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 establishing a pension for former presidents, but 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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