Harry S. Truman
Name: Harry S. Truman
Occupation: President
Gender: Male
Birth Day: May 8, 1884
Death Date: Dec 26, 1972 (age 88)
Age: Aged 88
Birth Place: Lamar, United States
Zodiac Sign: Taurus

Social Accounts

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884 in Lamar, United States (88 years old). Harry S. Truman is a President, zodiac sign: Taurus. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.

Brief Info

The 33rd President of the United States, he ascended to office following Franklin D. Roosevelt's death in 1945 and authorized the use of the atomic bomb on Japan.

Trivia

He was roundly denounced after firing the immensely popular General Douglas MacArthur, who had run roughshod over his authority as president, during the Korean War.

Net Worth 2020

Undisclosed
Find out more about Harry S. Truman net worth here.

Does Harry S. Truman Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Harry S. Truman died on Dec 26, 1972 (age 88).

Physique

Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Before Fame

He served in World War I as an artillery officer in France. He also owned a haberdashery for a short period of time.

Biography

Biography Timeline

1884

Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman. He was named for his maternal uncle, Harrison "Harry" Young. His middle name, "S", honors his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. A brother, John Vivian, was born soon after Harry, followed by sister Mary Jane. Truman's ancestry is primarily English with some Scots-Irish, German, and French.

1887

John Truman was a farmer and livestock dealer. The family lived in Lamar until Harry was ten months old, when they moved to a farm near Harrisonville, Missouri. The family next moved to Belton, and in 1887 to his grandparents' 600-acre (240 ha) farm in Grandview. When Truman was six, his parents moved to Independence, Missouri, so he could attend the Presbyterian Church Sunday School. He did not attend a traditional school until he was eight. While living in Independence, he served as a Shabbos goy for Jewish neighbors, doing tasks for them on Shabbat that their religion prevented them from doing on that day.

1901

After graduating from Independence High School in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding's Commercial College, a Kansas City business school. He studied bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing, but left after a year.

1905

Because he lacked the funds for college, Truman considered attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, which had no tuition, but he was refused an appointment because of poor eyesight. He enlisted in the Missouri National Guard in 1905, and served until 1911 in the Kansas City-based Battery B, 2nd Missouri Field Artillery Regiment, in which he attained the rank of corporal. At his induction, his eyesight without glasses was an unacceptable 20/50 in the right eye and 20/400 in the left (past the standard for legal blindness). The second time he took the test, he passed by secretly memorizing the eye chart. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, gray eyed, dark haired and of light complexion.

1906

He returned to the Grandview farm in 1906, where he lived until entering the army in 1917. During this period, he courted Bess Wallace. He proposed in 1911, but she turned him down. Truman later said he intended to propose again, but he wanted to have a better income than that earned by a farmer. To that end, during his years on the farm and immediately after World War I, he became active in several business ventures, including a lead and zinc mine near Commerce, Oklahoma, a company that bought land and leased the oil drilling rights to prospectors, and speculation in Kansas City real estate. Truman occasionally derived some income from these enterprises, but none proved successful in the long term.

1917

The war was a transformative experience in which Truman manifested his leadership qualities. He had entered the service in 1917 as a family farmer who had worked in clerical jobs that did not require the ability to motivate and direct others, but during the war he gained leadership experience and a record of success that greatly enhanced and supported his post-war political career in Missouri.

1918

Truman's unit joined in a massive prearranged assault barrage on September 26, 1918, at the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. They advanced with difficulty over pitted terrain to follow the infantry, and set up an observation post west of Cheppy. On September 27, Truman saw through his binoculars an enemy artillery battery setting up across a river in a position allowing them to fire upon the neighboring 28th Division. Truman's orders limited him to targets facing the 35th Division, but he ignored this and patiently waited until the Germans had walked their horses well away from their guns, ensuring they could not relocate out of range of Truman's battery. He then ordered his men to open fire, and their attack destroyed the enemy battery. His actions were credited with saving the lives of 28th Division soldiers who otherwise would have come under fire from the Germans. Truman was given a dressing down by his regimental commander, Colonel Karl D. Klemm, who threatened to convene a court-martial, but Klemm never followed through, and Truman was not punished.

In other action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Truman's battery provided support for George S. Patton's tank brigade, and fired some of the last shots of the war on November 11, 1918. Battery D did not lose any men while under Truman's command in France. To show their appreciation of his leadership, his men presented him with a large loving cup upon their return to the United States after the war.

1919

Truman was honorably discharged from the Army as a captain on May 6, 1919. In 1920 he was appointed a major in the Officers Reserve Corps. He became a lieutenant colonel in 1925 and a colonel in 1932. In the 1920s and 1930s he commanded 1st Battalion, 379th Field Artillery, 102d Infantry Division. After promotion to colonel, Truman advanced to command of the same regiment.

After his wartime service, Truman returned to Independence, where he married Bess Wallace on June 28, 1919. The couple had one child, Mary Margaret Truman.

1922

With the help of the Kansas City Democratic machine led by Tom Pendergast, Truman was elected in 1922 as County Court judge of Jackson County's eastern district—Jackson County's three-judge court included judges from the western district (Kansas City), the eastern district (the county outside Kansas City), and a presiding judge elected countywide. This was an administrative rather than a judicial court, similar to county commissioners in many other jurisdictions. Truman lost his 1924 reelection campaign in a Republican wave led by President Calvin Coolidge's landslide election to a full term. Two years selling automobile club memberships convinced him that a public service career was safer for a family man approaching middle age, and he planned a run for presiding judge in 1926.

1926

Truman won the job in 1926 with the support of the Pendergast machine, and he was re-elected in 1930. As presiding judge, Truman helped coordinate the Ten Year Plan, which transformed Jackson County and the Kansas City skyline with new public works projects, including an extensive series of roads and construction of a new Wight and Wight-designed County Court building. Also in 1926, he became president of the National Old Trails Road Association. He oversaw the dedication in the late 1920s of a series of Madonna of the Trail monuments honoring 12 pioneer women.

1933

In 1933, Truman was named Missouri's director for the Federal Re-Employment program (part of the Civil Works Administration) at the request of Postmaster General James Farley. This was payback to Pendergast for delivering the Kansas City vote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. The appointment confirmed Pendergast's control over federal patronage jobs in Missouri and marked the zenith of his power. It also created a relationship between Truman and Roosevelt's aide Harry Hopkins and assured Truman's avid support for the New Deal.

1934

After serving as a county judge, Truman wanted to run for Governor or Congress, but Pendergast rejected these ideas. Truman then thought he might serve out his career in some well-paying county sinecure; circumstances changed when Pendergast reluctantly backed him as the machine's choice in the 1934 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, after Pendergast's first four choices had declined to run. In the primary, Truman defeated Congressmen John J. Cochran and Jacob L. Milligan with the solid support of Jackson County, which was crucial to his candidacy. Also critical were the contacts he had made statewide in his capacity as a county official, member of the Masons, military reservist, and member of the American Legion. In the general election, Truman defeated incumbent Republican Roscoe C. Patterson by nearly 20 percentage points in a continuing wave of pro-New Deal Democrats elected following the Great Depression.

1940

During the U.S. Senate election in 1940, United States Attorney Maurice Milligan (former opponent Jacob Milligan's brother) and former governor Lloyd Stark both challenged Truman in the Democratic primary. Truman was politically weakened by Pendergast's imprisonment for income tax evasion the previous year; the senator had remained loyal, having claimed that Republican judges (not the Roosevelt administration) were responsible for the boss's downfall. St. Louis party leader Robert E. Hannegan's support of Truman proved crucial; he later brokered the deal that put Truman on the national ticket. In the end, Stark and Milligan split the anti-Pendergast vote in the Senate Democratic primary and Truman won by a total of 8,000 votes. In the November election, Truman defeated Republican Manvel H. Davis by 51–49 percent. As Senator, Truman opposed both Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. One week after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he said:

In late 1940, Truman traveled to various military bases. The waste and profiteering he saw led him to use his chairmanship of the Committee on Military Affairs Subcommittee on War Mobilization to start investigations into abuses while the nation prepared for war. A new special committee was set up under Truman to conduct a formal investigation; the Roosevelt administration supported this plan rather than weather a more hostile probe by the House of Representatives. The main mission of the committee was to expose and fight waste and corruption in the gigantic government wartime contracts.

1943

Truman had long taken an interest in the history of the Middle East, and was sympathetic to Jews who sought to re-establish their ancient homeland in Mandatory Palestine. As a senator, he announced support for Zionism; in 1943 he called for a homeland for those Jews who survived the Nazi regime. However, State Department officials were reluctant to offend the Arabs, who were opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in the large region long populated and dominated culturally by Arabs. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal warned Truman of the importance of Saudi Arabian oil in another war; Truman replied he would decide his policy on the basis of justice, not oil. U.S. diplomats with experience in the region were opposed, but Truman told them he had few Arabs among his constituents.

1945

State and city party leaders strongly preferred Truman, and Roosevelt agreed. Truman did not campaign for the vice-presidential spot, though he welcomed the attention as evidence that he had become more than the "Senator from Pendergast". Truman's nomination was dubbed the "Second Missouri Compromise" and was well received. The Roosevelt–Truman ticket achieved a 432–99 electoral-vote victory in the election, defeating the Republican ticket of Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York and running mate Governor John Bricker of Ohio. Truman was sworn in as vice president on January 20, 1945.

Truman's brief vice-presidency was relatively uneventful. On April 10, 1945, Truman cast his only tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate, against a Robert A. Taft amendment that would have blocked the postwar delivery of Lend-Lease Act items contracted for during the war. Roosevelt rarely contacted him, even to inform him of major decisions; the president and vice president met alone together only twice during their time in office.

Truman had been vice president for 82 days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. Truman, presiding over the Senate as usual, had just adjourned the session for the day and was preparing to have a drink in House Speaker Sam Rayburn's office when he received an urgent message to go immediately to the White House, where Eleanor Roosevelt told him that her husband had died after a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Truman asked her if there was anything he could do for her; she replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now!" He was sworn in as president at 7:09 pm in the West Wing of the White House, by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone.

Upon assuming the presidency, Truman asked all the members of Roosevelt's cabinet to remain in place, and told them he was open to their advice. He emphasized a central principle of his administration: he would be the one making decisions, and they were to support him. Although Truman was told briefly on the afternoon of April 12 that the Allies had a new, highly destructive weapon, it was not until April 25 that Secretary of War Henry Stimson told him the details. Truman benefited from a honeymoon period after Roosevelt's death, and from the Allies' success in Europe, ending the war against Nazi Germany. Truman was pleased to issue the proclamation of V-E Day on May 8, 1945, his 61st birthday.

Truman's response to the widespread dissatisfaction and protest of U.S. citizens was generally seen as ineffective. The cost of consumer goods increased rapidly due to the removal of depression-era limits on the prices of everyday items while producers of the remaining price-controlled commodities struggled due to the artificially low prices of their goods. In 1945 and 1946, farmers refused to sell grain for months even though it was desperately needed in the United States and to stave off starvation in Europe. Similarly, industrial laborers sought wage increases. In January 1946 a steel strike involving 800,000 laborers became the largest in the nation's history. It was followed by a coal strike in April and a rail strike in May; however, public opinion on labor action was mixed with one poll reporting a majority of the public in favor of a ban on strikes by public service workers and a year's moratorium on labor actions.

1946

When a national rail strike threatened in May 1946, Truman seized the railroads in an attempt to contain the issue, but two key railway unions struck anyway. The entire national railroad system was shut down, immobilizing 24,000 freight trains and 175,000 passenger trains a day. For two days, public anger mounted and Truman himself drafted an irate message to Congress that called on veterans to form a lynch mob and destroy the union leaders:

After the settlement of the railway strike, labor action continued as an undercurrent of Truman's presidency. The president's approval rating dropped from 82 percent in the polls in January 1946 to 52 percent by June. This dissatisfaction with the Truman administration's policies led to large Democratic losses in the 1946 midterm elections, and Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since 1930. The 80th Congress included Republican freshmen who would become prominent in U.S. politics in the years to come including Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and California Congressman Richard Nixon. When Truman dropped to 32 percent in the polls, Democratic Arkansas Senator William Fulbright suggested that Truman resign; the president said he did not care what Senator "Halfbright" said.

Charges that Soviet agents had infiltrated the government were believed by 78 percent of the people in 1946, and became a major campaign issue for Eisenhower in 1952. Truman was reluctant to take a more radical stance because he feared full disclosure of the extent of communist infiltration would reflect badly on the Democratic Party. In 1949, Truman described American communist leaders, whom his administration was prosecuting, as "traitors", but in 1950 he vetoed the McCarran Internal Security Act. It was passed over his veto. Truman would later state in private conversations with friends that his creation of a loyalty program had been a "terrible" mistake.

1947

While serving as president in 1947, Truman applied for a license to practice law. A friend who was an attorney began working out the arrangements, and informed Truman that his application had to be notarized. By the time Truman received this information he had changed his mind, so he never sought notarization. After rediscovery of Truman's application, in 1996 the Missouri Supreme Court issued Truman a posthumous honorary law license.

Truman cooperated closely with the Republican leaders on foreign policy, but fought them bitterly on domestic issues. The power of the labor unions was significantly curtailed by the Taft–Hartley Act which was enacted over Truman's veto. Truman twice vetoed bills to lower income tax rates in 1947. Although the initial vetoes were sustained, Congress overrode his veto of a tax cut bill in 1948. In one notable instance of bipartisanship, Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, which replaced the secretary of state with the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate as successor to the president after the vice president.

A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. Speaking about this report, international developments have to be taken into account, for with the UN Charter being passed in 1945, the question whether international human rights law could be applicable also on an inner-land basis became crucial in the United States. Though the report acknowledged such a path was not free from controversy in the 1940s United States, it nevertheless raised the possibility for the UN-Charter to be used as a legal tool to combat racial discrimination in the United States.

1948

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked access to the three Western-held sectors of Berlin. The Allies had not negotiated a deal to guarantee supply of the sectors deep within the Soviet-occupied zone. The commander of the U.S. occupation zone in Germany, General Lucius D. Clay, proposed sending a large armored column across the Soviet zone to West Berlin with instructions to defend itself if it were stopped or attacked. Truman believed this would entail an unacceptable risk of war. He approved Ernest Bevin's plan to supply the blockaded city by air.

Truman decided to recognize Israel over the objections of Secretary of State George Marshall, who feared it would hurt relations with the populous Arab states. Marshall believed the paramount threat to the United States was the Soviet Union and feared Arab oil would be lost to the United States in the event of war; he warned Truman the United States was "playing with fire with nothing to put it out". Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation. Of his decision to recognize the Israeli state, Truman wrote in his memoirs: "Hitler had been murdering Jews right and left. I saw it, and I dream about it even to this day. The Jews needed some place where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn't stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler's madness are not allowed to build new lives."

The 1948 presidential election is remembered for Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory. In the spring of 1948, Truman's public approval rating stood at 36 percent, and the president was nearly universally regarded as incapable of winning the general election. The "New Deal" operatives within the party—including FDR's son, James Roosevelt—tried to swing the Democratic nomination to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a highly popular figure whose political views and party affiliation were totally unknown. Eisenhower emphatically refused to accept, and Truman outflanked opponents to his own nomination.

At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, Truman attempted to unify the party with a vague civil rights plank in the party platform. His intention was to assuage the internal conflicts between the northern and southern wings of his party. Events overtook his efforts. A sharp address given by Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis—as well as the local political interests of a number of urban bosses—convinced the convention to adopt a stronger civil rights plank, which Truman approved wholeheartedly. All of Alabama's delegates, and a portion of Mississippi's, walked out of the convention in protest. Unfazed, Truman delivered an aggressive acceptance speech attacking the 80th Congress, which Truman called the "Do Nothing Congress," and promising to win the election and "make these Republicans like it."

Truman usually worked well with his top staff—the exceptions were Israel in 1948 and Spain 1945–1950. Truman was a very strong opponent of Francisco Franco, the right-wing dictator of Spain. He withdrew the American ambassador (but diplomatic relations were not formally broken), kept Spain out of the UN, and rejected any Marshall Plan financial aid to Spain. However, as the Cold War escalated, support for Spain was strong in Congress, the Pentagon, the business community and other influential elements especially Catholics and cotton growers.

Liberal opposition to Spain had faded after the Wallace element broke with the Democratic Party in 1948; the CIO became passive on the issue. As Secretary of State Acheson increased his pressure on Truman, the president, stood alone in his administration as his own top appointees wanted to normalize relations. When China entered the Korean War and pushed American forces back, the argument for allies became irresistible. Admitting he was "overruled and worn down," Truman relented and sent an ambassador and made loans available.

In August 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a former spy for the Soviets and a senior editor at Time magazine, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He said an underground communist network had worked inside the U.S. government during the 1930s, of which Chambers had been a member, along with Alger Hiss, until recently a senior State Department official. Chambers did not allege any spying during the Truman presidency. Although Hiss denied the allegations, he was convicted in January 1950 for perjury for denials under oath.

In 1948, Truman ordered an addition to the exterior of the White House: a second-floor balcony in the south portico, which came to be known as the Truman Balcony. The addition was unpopular. Some said it spoiled the appearance of the south facade, but it gave the First Family more living space. The Truman family moved into nearby Blair House during the renovations. As the newer West Wing, including the Oval Office, remained open, Truman walked to and from his work across the street each morning and afternoon.

In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices. This provoked a storm of criticism from southern Democrats in the runup to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates ... but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten."

Tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African-American veterans upon their return from World War II infuriated Truman, and were a major factor in his decision to issue Executive Order 9981, in July 1948, requiring equal opportunity in the armed forces. In the early 1950s after several years of planning, recommendations and revisions between Truman, the Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity and the various branches of the military, the services became racially integrated.

Executive Order 9980, also in 1948, made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service positions based on race. A third, in 1951, established the Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC). This committee ensured defense contractors did not discriminate because of race. In 1950 he vetoed the McCarran Internal Security Act. It was passed over his veto.

U.S. public feeling towards Truman grew steadily warmer with the passing years; as early as 1962, a poll of 75 historians conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. ranked Truman among the "near great" presidents. The period following his death consolidated a partial rehabilitation of his legacy among both historians and members of the public. Truman died when the nation was consumed with crises in Vietnam and Watergate, and his death brought a new wave of attention to his political career. In the early and mid-1970s, Truman captured the popular imagination much as he had in 1948, this time emerging as a kind of political folk hero, a president who was thought to exemplify an integrity and accountability which many observers felt was lacking in the Nixon White House. This public reassessment of Truman was aided by the popularity of a book of reminiscences Truman had recounted to journalist Merle Miller beginning in 1961, with the agreement that they would not be published until after Truman's death.

1949

On June 25, the Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift, a campaign to deliver food, coal and other supplies using military aircraft on a massive scale. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before, and no single nation had the capability, either logistically or materially, to accomplish it. The airlift worked; ground access was again granted on May 11, 1949. Nevertheless, the airlift continued for several months after that. The Berlin Airlift was one of Truman's great foreign policy successes; it significantly aided his election campaign in 1948.

The Soviet Union's atomic bomb project progressed much faster than had been expected, and they detonated their first bomb on August 29, 1949. Over the next several months there was an intense debate that split U.S. government, military, and scientific communities regarding whether to proceed with development of the far more powerful hydrogen bomb. The debate touched on matters from technical feasibility to strategic value to the morality of creating a massively destructive weapon. On January 31, 1950, Truman made the decision to go forward on the grounds that if the Soviets could make an H-bomb, the United States must do so as well and stay ahead in the nuclear arms race. The development achieved fruition with the first U.S. H-bomb test on October 31, 1952, which was officially announced by Truman on January 7, 1953.

Truman was a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which established a formal peacetime military alliance with Canada and democratic European nations not under Soviet control following World War II. The treaty establishing it was widely popular and easily passed the Senate in 1949; Truman appointed General Eisenhower as commander. NATO's goals were to contain Soviet expansion in Europe and to send a clear message to communist leaders that the world's democracies were willing and able to build new security structures in support of democratic ideals. The United States, Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, and Canada were the original treaty signatories. The alliance resulted in the Soviets establishing a similar alliance, called the Warsaw Pact.

The Soviet Union's success in exploding an atomic weapon in 1949 and the fall of the nationalist Chinese the same year led many Americans to conclude subversion by Soviet spies was responsible, and to demand that communists be rooted out from the government and other places of influence. However, Truman got himself into deeper trouble when he called the Hiss trial a "red herring". Wisconsin Senator McCarthy accused the State Department of harboring communists and rode the controversy to political fame, leading to the Second Red Scare, also known as McCarthyism.

1950

On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army under Kim Il-sung invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. In the early weeks of the war, the North Koreans easily pushed back their southern counterparts. Truman called for a naval blockade of Korea, only to learn that due to budget cutbacks, the U.S. Navy could not enforce such a measure. Truman promptly urged the United Nations to intervene; it did, authorizing troops under the UN flag led by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. Truman decided he did not need formal authorization from Congress, believing that most legislators supported his position; this would come back to haunt him later, when the stalemated conflict was dubbed "Mr. Truman's War" by legislators.

However, on July 3, 1950, Truman did give Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas a draft resolution titled "Joint Resolution Expressing Approval of the Action Taken in Korea". Lucas stated Congress supported the use of force, the formal resolution would pass but was unnecessary, and consensus in Congress was to acquiesce. Truman responded he did not want "to appear to be trying to get around Congress and use extra-Constitutional powers," and added that it was "up to Congress whether such a resolution should be introduced."

By August 1950, U.S. troops pouring into South Korea under UN auspices were able to stabilize the situation. Responding to criticism over readiness, Truman fired his secretary of defense, Louis A. Johnson, replacing him with the retired General Marshall. With UN approval, Truman decided on a "rollback" policy—conquest of North Korea. UN forces led by General Douglas MacArthur led the counterattack, scoring a stunning surprise victory with an amphibious landing at the Battle of Inchon that nearly trapped the invaders. UN forces marched north, toward the Yalu River boundary with China, with the goal of reuniting Korea under UN auspices.

General Marshall was Truman's principal adviser on foreign policy matters, influencing such decisions as the U.S. choice against offering direct military aid to Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalist Chinese forces in the Chinese Civil War against their communist opponents. Marshall's opinion was contrary to the counsel of almost all of Truman's other advisers—Marshall thought propping up Chiang's forces would drain U.S. resources necessary for Europe to deter the Soviets. When the communists took control of the mainland, establishing the People's Republic of China and driving the nationalists to Taiwan, Truman would have been willing to maintain some relationship between the United States and the new government but Mao was unwilling. Truman announced on January 5, 1950, that the United States would not engage in any dispute involving the Taiwan Strait, and that he would not intervene in the event of an attack by the PRC.

On June 27, 1950, after the outbreak of fighting in Korea, Truman ordered the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent further conflict between the communist government on the China mainland and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.

On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempted to assassinate Truman at Blair House. On the street outside the residence, Torresola mortally wounded a White House policeman, Leslie Coffelt. Before he died, the officer shot and killed Torresola. Collazo was wounded and stopped before he entered the house. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1952. Truman commuted his sentence to life in prison. To try to settle the question of Puerto Rican independence, Truman allowed a plebiscite in Puerto Rico in 1952 to determine the status of its relationship to the United States. Nearly 82 percent of the people voted in favor of a new constitution for the Estado Libre Asociado, a continued 'associated free state.'

In 1950, the Senate, led by Estes Kefauver, investigated numerous charges of corruption among senior administration officials, some of whom received fur coats and deep freezers in exchange for favors. A large number of employees of the Internal Revenue Bureau (today the IRS) were accepting bribes; 166 employees either resigned or were fired in 1950, with many soon facing indictment. When Attorney General J. Howard McGrath fired the special prosecutor in early 1952 for being too zealous, Truman fired McGrath. Truman submitted a reorganization plan to reform the IRB; Congress passed it, but the corruption was a major issue in the 1952 presidential election.

On December 6, 1950, Washington Post music critic Paul Hume wrote a critical review of a concert by the president's daughter Margaret Truman:

1951

However, China surprised the UN forces with a large-scale invasion in November. The UN forces were forced back to below the 38th parallel, then recovered. By early 1951 the war became a fierce stalemate at about the 38th parallel where it had begun. Truman rejected MacArthur's request to attack Chinese supply bases north of the Yalu, but MacArthur promoted his plan to Republican house leader Joseph Martin, who leaked it to the press. Truman was gravely concerned further escalation of the war might lead to open conflict with the Soviet Union, which was already supplying weapons and providing warplanes (with Korean markings and Soviet aircrew). Therefore, on April 11, 1951, Truman fired MacArthur from his commands.

In 1951, William M. Boyle, Truman's longtime friend and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was forced to resign after being charged with financial corruption.

In 1951, the United States ratified the 22nd Amendment, making a president ineligible for election to a third term or for election to a second full term after serving more than two remaining years of a term of a previously elected president. The latter clause did not apply to Truman's situation in 1952 because of a grandfather clause excluding the amendment's application to the incumbent president.

1952

To get Congress to spend the vast sums necessary to restart the moribund European economy, Truman used an ideological argument, arguing that communism flourishes in economically deprived areas. As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council. In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).

In response to a labor/management impasse arising from bitter disagreements over wage and price controls, Truman instructed his Secretary of Commerce, Charles W. Sawyer, to take control of a number of the nation's steel mills in April 1952. Truman cited his authority as Commander in Chief and the need to maintain an uninterrupted supply of steel for munitions for the war in Korea. The Supreme Court found Truman's actions unconstitutional, however, and reversed the order in a major separation-of-powers decision, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952). The 6–3 decision, which held that Truman's assertion of authority was too vague and was not rooted in any legislative action by Congress, was delivered by a Court composed entirely of Justices appointed by either Truman or Roosevelt. The high court's reversal of Truman's order was one of the notable defeats of his presidency.

Therefore, he seriously considered running for another term in 1952, and left his name on the ballot in the New Hampshire primary. However all his close advisors, pointing to his age, his failing abilities, and his poor showing in the polls, talked him out of it. At the time of the 1952 New Hampshire primary, no candidate had won Truman's backing. His first choice, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, had declined to run; Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson had also turned Truman down, Vice President Barkley was considered too old, and Truman distrusted and disliked Senator Kefauver, who had made a name for himself by his investigations of the Truman administration scandals.

Citing continuing divisions within the Democratic Party, the ongoing Cold War, and the boom and bust cycle, journalist Samuel Lubell in 1952 stated: "After seven years of Truman's hectic, even furious, activity the nation seemed to be about on the same general spot as when he first came to office ... Nowhere in the whole Truman record can one point to a single, decisive break-through ... All his skills and energies—and he was among our hardest-working Presidents—were directed to standing still." When he left office in 1953, Truman was one of the most unpopular chief executives in history. His job approval rating of 22% in the Gallup Poll of February 1952 was lower than Richard Nixon's 24% in August 1974, the month Nixon resigned, but matched by Nixon's all-time low in January 1974.

1953

After his election to the U.S. Senate, Truman was transferred to the General Assignments Group, a holding unit for less active officers, although he had not been consulted in advance. Truman protested his reassignment, which led to his resumption of regimental command. He remained an active reservist until the early 1940s. Truman volunteered for active military service during World War II, but was not accepted, partly because of age, and partly because President Franklin D. Roosevelt desired Senators and Congressman who belonged to the military reserves to support the war effort by remaining in Congress, or by ending their active duty service and resuming their Congressional seats. He was an inactive reservist from the early 1940s until retiring as a colonel in the then redesignated U.S. Army Reserve on January 20, 1953.

Truman and his generals considered the use of nuclear weapons against the Chinese army, but ultimately chose not to escalate the war to a nuclear level. The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two years, with over 30,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting in 1953. In February 1952, Truman's approval mark stood at 22 percent according to Gallup polls, which is the all-time lowest approval mark for an active U.S. president, though it was matched by Richard Nixon in 1974.

As a result, he faced financial challenges. Once Truman left the White House, his only income was his old army pension: $112.56 per month (equivalent to $1,076 in 2019). Former members of Congress and the federal courts received a federal retirement package; President Truman himself ensured that former servants of the executive branch of government received similar support. In 1953, however, there was no such benefit package for former presidents, and he received no pension for his Senate service.

In 1953, Truman received the Solomon Bublick Award of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1956, Truman traveled to Europe with his wife. In England, he met with Churchill and received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from Oxford University. Across Britain he was hailed; London's Daily Telegraph characterized Truman as the "Living and kicking symbol of everything that everybody likes best about the United States." In 1959, he was given a 50-year award by the Masons, recognizing his longstanding involvement: he was initiated on February 9, 1909, into the Belton Masonic Lodge in Missouri. In 1911, he helped establish the Grandview Lodge, and he served as its first Worshipful Master. In September 1940, during his Senate re-election campaign, Truman was elected Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge of Freemasonry; Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election. In 1945, he was made a 33° Sovereign Grand Inspector General and an Honorary Member of the supreme council at the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington D.C. He was also a member of the Shriners and the Royal Order of Jesters, two affiliated bodies of Masonry. Truman was also a member of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Two of his relatives were Confederate soldiers.

1956

Truman supported Adlai Stevenson's second bid for the White House in 1956, although he had initially favored Democratic Governor W. Averell Harriman of New York. He continued to campaign for Democratic senatorial candidates for many years.

1957

The former president told House Majority Leader John McCormack in 1957, "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." The following year, 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 only other living former president at the time, Herbert Hoover, also took the pension, even though he did not need the money; reportedly, he did so to avoid embarrassing Truman.

He testified before Congress to have money appropriated to have presidential papers copied and organized, and was proud of the bill's passage in 1957. Max Skidmore, in his book on the life of former presidents, noted that Truman was a well-read man, especially in history. Skidmore added that the presidential papers legislation and the founding of his library "was the culmination of his interest in history. Together they constitute an enormous contribution to the United States—one of the greatest of any former president."

1958

Upon leaving the presidency, Truman returned to Independence, Missouri, to live at the Wallace home he and Bess had shared for years with her mother. He taught occasional courses at universities, including Yale, where he was a Chubb Fellow visiting lecturer in 1958. In 1962, Truman was a visiting lecturer at Canisius College. As a former president, Truman decided that he did not wish to be on any corporate payroll, believing that taking advantage of such financial opportunities would diminish the integrity of the nation's highest office. He also turned down numerous offers for commercial endorsements. Since his earlier business ventures had proved unsuccessful, he had no personal savings.

1960

Truman was brought up in the Presbyterian and Baptist churches, but avoided revivals and sometimes ridiculed revivalist preachers. He rarely spoke about religion, which to him, primarily meant ethical behavior along traditional Protestant lines. Most of the soldiers he commanded in the war were Catholics, and one of his close friends was the 129th Field Artillery's chaplain, Monsignor L. Curtis Tiernan. The two remained friends until Tiernan's death in 1960. Developing leadership and interpersonal skills that later made him a successful politician helped Truman get along with his Catholic soldiers, as he did with soldiers of other Christian denominations and the unit's Jewish members.

In 1960 Truman gave a public statement announcing he would not attend the Democratic Convention that year, citing concerns about the way that the supporters of John F. Kennedy had gained control of the nominating process, and called on Kennedy to forgo the nomination for that year. Kennedy responded with a press conference where he bluntly rebuked Truman's advice.

1963

Truman continued to strongly defend himself in his memoirs in 1955–1956, stating many lives could have been lost had the United States invaded mainland Japan without the atomic bombs. In 1963, he stood by his decision, telling a journalist "it was done to save 125,000 youngsters on the U.S. side and 125,000 on the Japanese side from getting killed and that is what it did. It probably also saved a half million youngsters on both sides from being maimed for life."

In late 1963, when Lyndon B. Johnson had just become president, Truman wrote a letter to the Washington Post calling for the CIA's responsibilities to be scaled back significantly: "For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas."

In Athens, Greece, a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Truman was erected in 1963 with donations from Greek-Americans.

1964

Upon turning 80 in 1964, Truman was feted in Washington, and addressed the Senate, availing himself of a new rule that allowed former presidents to be granted privilege of the floor.

After a fall in his home in late 1964, his physical condition declined. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and gave the first two Medicare cards to Truman and his wife Bess to honor the former president's fight for government health care while in office.

1972

On December 5, 1972, Truman was admitted to Kansas City's Research Hospital and Medical Center with pneumonia. He developed multiple organ failure, fell into a coma, and died at 7:50 a.m. on December 26, at the age of 88.

1975

In 1975, the Truman Scholarship was created as a federal program to honor U.S. college students who exemplified dedication to public service and leadership in public policy. In 2004, the President Harry S. Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering was created as a distinguished postdoctoral three-year appointment at Sandia National Laboratories. In 2001, the University of Missouri established the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs to advance the study and practice of governance. The University of Missouri's Missouri Tigers athletic programs have an official mascot named Truman the Tiger. On July 1, 1996, Northeast Missouri State University became Truman State University—to mark its transformation from a teachers' college to a highly selective liberal arts university and to honor the only Missourian to become president. A member institution of the City Colleges of Chicago, Harry S Truman College in Chicago, Illinois, is named in his honor for his dedication to public colleges and universities. In 2000, the headquarters for the State Department, built in the 1930s but never officially named, was dedicated as the Harry S Truman Building.

1982

Bess died in 1982 and is buried next to Harry at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.

1984

In 1984, Truman was posthumously awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal. In 1991, he was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol. Other sites associated with Truman include:

1991

The Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused Truman advocates to claim vindication for his decisions in the postwar period. According to Truman biographer Robert Dallek, "His contribution to victory in the cold war without a devastating nuclear conflict elevated him to the stature of a great or near-great president." The 1992 publication of David McCullough's favorable biography of Truman further cemented the view of Truman as a highly regarded chief executive. According to historian Donald R. McCoy in his book on the Truman presidency:

1996

Despite Truman's attempt to curtail the naval carrier arm, which led to the 1949 Revolt of the Admirals, an aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman, was named for him in February 1996. The 129th Field Artillery Regiment is designated "Truman's Own" in recognition of Truman's service as commander of its D Battery during World War I.

2010

Truman has had his latter-day critics as well. After a review of information available to Truman about the presence of espionage activities in the U.S. government, Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan concluded that Truman was "almost wilfully obtuse" concerning the danger of U.S. communism. In 2010, historian Alonzo Hamby concluded that "Harry Truman remains a controversial president." However, since leaving office, Truman has fared well in polls ranking the presidents. He has never been listed lower than ninth, and was ranked fifth in a C-SPAN poll in 2009.

2018

On November 13, 2018, Truman was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Harry S. Truman is 137 years, 6 months and 22 days old. Harry S. Truman will celebrate 138th birthday on a Sunday 8th of May 2022.

Find out about Harry S. Truman birthday activities in timeline view here.

Harry S. Truman trends

FAQs

  1. Who is Harry S. Truman ?
  2. How rich is Harry S. Truman ?
  3. What is Harry S. Truman 's salary?
  4. When is Harry S. Truman 's birthday?
  5. When and how did Harry S. Truman became famous?
  6. How tall is Harry S. Truman ?
  7. Who is Harry S. Truman 's girlfriend?
  8. List of Harry S. Truman 's family members?
  9. Why do people love Harry S. Truman?