156 Facts About Harry S Truman


Harry S Truman was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953.

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Harry S Truman proposed numerous liberal domestic reforms, but few were enacted by the Conservative Coalition which dominated the Congress.

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Harry S Truman grew up in Independence, Missouri, and during the First World War fought in France as a captain in the Field Artillery.

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Harry S Truman was elected to the United States Senate from Missouri in 1934.

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Harry S Truman authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

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Harry S Truman's administration engaged in an internationalist foreign policy by working closely with British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

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Harry S Truman 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.

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Harry S Truman oversaw the Berlin Airlift and Marshall Plan in 1948.

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Congress refused, so in 1948 Harry S Truman issued Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 9981 which desegregated the armed forces and federal agencies.

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Corruption in the Harry S Truman administration became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election.

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Harry S Truman was eligible for reelection in 1952, but with weak polls he decided not to run.

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Harry S Truman went into a retirement marked by the founding of his presidential library and the publication of his memoirs.

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When he left office, Harry S Truman's administration was heavily criticized, though critical reassessment of his presidency has improved his reputation among historians and the general population.

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Harry S Truman was named for his maternal uncle, Harrison "Harry" Young.

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Harry S Truman's ancestry is primarily English with some Scots-Irish, German, and French.

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When Harry S Truman was six, his parents moved to Independence, Missouri, so he could attend the Presbyterian Church Sunday School.

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Harry S Truman did not attend a conventional school until he was eight years old.

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Harry S Truman was interested in music, reading, and history, all encouraged by his mother, with whom he was very close.

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Harry S Truman rose at five every morning to practice the piano, which he studied more than twice a week until he was fifteen, becoming quite a skilled player.

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Harry S Truman studied bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing but stopped after a year.

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In 1906, Harry S Truman returned to the Grandview farm, where he lived until entering the army in 1917.

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Harry S Truman later said he intended to propose again, but he wanted to have a better income than that earned by a farmer.

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Harry S Truman occasionally derived some income from these enterprises, but none proved successful in the long term.

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Harry S Truman is the only president since William McKinley who did not earn a college degree.

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Harry S Truman was informed by attorneys in the Kansas City area that his education and experience were probably sufficient to receive a license to practice law, but did not pursue it because he won election as presiding judge.

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Harry S Truman lacked the funds for college, Truman considered attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which had no tuition, but he was refused an appointment because of poor eyesight.

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Harry S Truman 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.

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Harry S Truman was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, gray eyed, dark haired and of light complexion.

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Harry S Truman later said he learned more practical, useful information from Danford in six weeks than from six months of formal Army instruction, and when Harry S Truman later served as an artillery instructor, he consciously patterned his approach on Danford's.

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Harry S Truman ran the camp canteen with Edward Jacobson, a clothing store clerk he knew from Kansas City.

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At Fort Sill, Truman met Lieutenant James M Pendergast, nephew of Tom Pendergast, a Kansas City political boss, a connection that had a profound influence on Truman's later life.

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Battery D was known for its discipline problems, and Harry S Truman was initially unpopular because of his efforts to restore order.

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Harry S Truman promised to back them up if they performed capably, and reduce them to private if they did not.

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Harry S Truman's unit joined in a massive prearranged assault barrage on September 26,1918, at the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

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Harry S Truman then ordered his men to open fire, and their attack destroyed the enemy battery.

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Harry S Truman's actions were credited with saving the lives of 28th Division soldiers who otherwise would have come under fire from the Germans.

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Harry S Truman 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.

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Harry S Truman was brought up in the Presbyterian and Baptist churches, but avoided revivals and sometimes ridiculed revivalist preachers.

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Harry S Truman rarely spoke about religion, which to him, primarily meant ethical behavior along traditional Protestant lines.

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Harry S Truman was honorably discharged from the Army as a captain on May 6,1919.

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Harry S Truman became a lieutenant colonel in 1925 and a colonel in 1932.

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Harry S Truman protested his reassignment, which led to his resumption of regimental command.

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Harry S Truman remained an active reservist until the early 1940s.

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Harry S Truman was an inactive reservist from the early 1940s until retiring as a colonel in the then redesignated US Army Reserve on January 20,1953.

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Harry S Truman was awarded a World War I Victory Medal with two battle clasps and a Defensive Sector Clasp.

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Harry S Truman was the recipient of two Armed Forces Reserve Medals.

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The note had risen and fallen in value as it was bought and sold, interest accumulated and Harry S Truman made payments, so by the time the last bank to hold it failed, it was worth nearly $9,000.

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Jacobson and Harry S Truman remained close friends even after their store failed, and Jacobson's advice to Harry S Truman on Zionism later played a role in the US Government's decision to recognize Israel.

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Harry S Truman lost his 1924 reelection campaign in a Republican wave led by President Calvin Coolidge's landslide election to a full term.

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Harry S Truman won the job in 1926 with the support of the Pendergast machine, and he was re-elected in 1930.

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In 1933, Harry S Truman was named Missouri's director for the Federal Re-Employment program at the request of Postmaster General James Farley.

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Harry S 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 election for the US Senate from Missouri, after Pendergast's first four choices had declined to run.

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Harry S Truman assumed office with a reputation as "the Senator from Pendergast".

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Harry S Truman referred patronage decisions to Pendergast but maintained that he voted with his own conscience.

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Harry S Truman later defended the patronage decisions by saying that "by offering a little to the machine, [he] saved a lot".

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Harry S 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 were responsible for the boss's downfall.

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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.

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Harry S Truman's initiative convinced Senate leaders of the necessity for the committee, which reflected his demands for honest and efficient administration and his distrust of big business and Wall Street.

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Harry S Truman managed the committee "with extraordinary skill" and usually achieved consensus, generating heavy media publicity that gave him a national reputation.

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Activities of the Harry S Truman Committee ranged from criticizing the "dollar-a-year men" hired by the government, many of whom proved ineffective, to investigating a shoddily built New Jersey housing project for war workers.

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In March 1944, Truman attempted to probe the expensive Manhattan Project but was persuaded by Secretary of War Henry L Stimson to discontinue with the investigation.

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Harry S Truman had repeatedly said that he was not in the race and that he did not want the vice presidency, and he remained reluctant.

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Harry S 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".

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Harry S Truman's nomination was dubbed the "Second Missouri Compromise" and was well received.

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In one of his first acts as vice president, Harry S Truman created some controversy when he attended the disgraced Pendergast's funeral.

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Harry S 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.

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Harry S Truman delegated a great deal of authority to his cabinet officials, only insisting that he give the final formal approval to all decisions.

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Harry S Truman acted as his own chief of staff on a daily basis, as well as his own liaison with Congress—a body he already knew very well.

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Harry S Truman was not well prepared to deal with the press, and never achieved the jovial familiarity of FDR.

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Harry S Truman saw them as enemies lying in wait for his next careless miscue.

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Harry S Truman was a very hard worker, often to the point of exhaustion, which left him testy, easily annoyed, and on the verge of appearing unpresidential or petty.

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Harry S Truman mastered the details of the federal budget as well as anyone.

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Harry S Truman surrounded himself with his old friends, and appointed several to high positions that seemed well beyond their competence, including his two secretaries of the treasury, Fred Vinson and John Snyder.

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Harry S Truman loved to spend as much time as possible playing poker, telling stories and sipping bourbon.

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Harry S Truman asked all the members of Roosevelt's cabinet to remain in place, but he soon replaced almost all of them, especially with old friends from his Senate days.

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Harry S Truman benefited from a honeymoon period from the success in defeating Nazi Germany in Europe and the nation celebrated on May 8,1945, his 61st birthday.

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Harry S Truman journeyed to Berlin for the Potsdam Conference with Joseph Stalin and the British leader.

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Harry S Truman hinted to Stalin that he was about to use a new kind of weapon against the Japanese.

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Supporters of Harry S Truman's decision argue that, given the tenacious Japanese defense of the outlying islands, the bombings saved hundreds of thousands of lives of Allied prisoners, Japanese civilians, and combatants on both sides that would have been lost in an invasion of Japan.

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The costs of the war effort had been enormous, and Harry S Truman was intent on diminishing military services as quickly as possible to curtail the government's military expenditures.

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In Roosevelt's final years, Congress began to reassert legislative power and Harry S Truman faced a congressional body where Republicans and conservative southern Democrats formed a powerful "conservative coalition" voting bloc.

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Harry S Truman's staff prepared a speech that Truman read to Congress calling for a new law, whereby railroad strikers would be drafted into the army.

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Harry S Truman cooperated closely with the Republican leaders on foreign policy but fought them bitterly on domestic issues.

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Harry S Truman twice vetoed bills to lower income tax rates in 1947.

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Harry S Truman broke with the New Deal by initiating an aggressive civil rights program which he termed a moral priority.

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Many of the New Deal programs that persisted during Harry S Truman's presidency have since received minor improvements and extensions.

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Harry S Truman won bipartisan support for both the Truman Doctrine, which formalized a policy of Soviet containment, and the Marshall Plan, which aimed to help rebuild postwar Europe.

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In 1952, Harry S Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency.

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Harry S Truman did not know what to do about China, where the Nationalists and Communists were fighting a large-scale civil war.

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Harry S Truman convinced Truman the Nationalists would never win on their own and a very large-scale US intervention to stop the Communists would significantly weaken US opposition to the Soviets in Europe.

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Harry S Truman believed this would entail an unacceptable risk of war.

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Harry S Truman approved Ernest Bevin's plan to supply the blockaded city by air.

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Harry S 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.

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Weary of both the convoluted politics of the Middle East and pressure by Jewish leaders, Harry S Truman was undecided on his policy and skeptical about how the Jewish "underdogs" would handle power.

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Harry S Truman later cited as decisive in his recognition of the Jewish state the advice of his former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, a non-religious Jew whom Truman absolutely trusted.

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Harry S 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.

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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 Harry S Truman the United States was "playing with fire with nothing to put it out".

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Harry S Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14,1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation.

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On June 29,1947, Harry S Truman became the first president to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

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In that speech, Harry S Truman laid out the need to end discrimination, which would be advanced by the first comprehensive, presidentially proposed civil rights legislation.

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In February 1948, Harry S Truman delivered a formal message to Congress requesting adoption of his 10-point program to secure civil rights, including anti-lynching, voter rights, and elimination of segregation.

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At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, Harry S Truman attempted to unify the party with a vague civil rights plank in the party platform.

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Harry S Truman's intention was to assuage the internal conflicts between the northern and southern wings of his party.

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Harry S Truman took a considerable political risk in backing civil rights, and many seasoned Democrats were concerned the loss of Dixiecrat support might seriously weaken the party.

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On January 31,1950, Harry S 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.

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Harry S Truman called for a naval blockade of Korea, only to learn that due to budget cutbacks, the US Navy could not enforce such a measure.

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Harry S Truman promptly urged the United Nations to intervene; it did, authorizing troops under the UN flag led by US General Douglas MacArthur.

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Harry S 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 Harry S Truman's War" by legislators.

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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".

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Harry S 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.

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Harry S 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.

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Harry S Truman was a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which established a formal peacetime military alliance with Canada and democratic European nations not under Soviet control following World War II.

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Harry S 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.

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On June 27,1950, after the outbreak of fighting in Korea, Harry S Truman ordered the US 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 on Taiwan.

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Harry S Truman was a very strong opponent of Francisco Franco, the right-wing dictator of Spain.

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Harry S Truman withdrew the American ambassador, kept Spain out of the UN, and rejected any Marshall Plan financial aid to Spain.

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Harry S Truman said an underground communist network had worked inside the US government during the 1930s, of which Chambers had been a member, along with Alger Hiss, until recently a senior State Department official.

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However, Harry S Truman got himself into deeper trouble when he called the Hiss trial a "red herring".

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Harry S Truman was reluctant to take a more radical stance, because he felt it could threaten civil liberties and add to a potential hysteria.

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Harry S Truman continued his own loyalty program for some time while believing the issue of communist espionage was overstated.

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In 1949, Harry S Truman described American communist leaders, whom his administration was prosecuting, as "traitors", but in 1950 he vetoed the McCarran Internal Security Act.

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In 1948, Harry S 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 Harry S Truman Balcony.

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Harry S Truman was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1952.

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Harry S 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.

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The high court's reversal of Harry S Truman's order was one of the notable defeats of his presidency.

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Harry S Truman submitted a reorganization plan to reform the IRB; Congress passed it, but corruption was a major issue in the 1952 presidential election.

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Unlike Roosevelt, Harry S Truman distrusted Stalin and the Soviet Union, and did not have FDR's faith in the UN to soften major tensions.

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Harry S Truman was supported by the great majority of Democrats, after he forced out the Henry Wallace faction that wanted good terms with Moscow.

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Harry S Truman let his name be entered in the New Hampshire primary by supporters.

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Harry S Truman was eventually able to persuade Stevenson to run, and the governor gained the nomination at the 1952 Democratic National Convention.

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Harry S Truman probably had about $7,500 in cash and government bonds when nominated for vice president.

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In February 1953, Harry S Truman signed a book deal for his memoirs, and in a draft will dated December of that year listed land worth $250,000, savings bonds of the same amount, and cash of $150,000.

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Former members of Congress and the federal courts received a federal retirement package; President Harry S Truman himself ensured that former servants of the executive branch of government received similar support.

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In 1953 there was no such benefit package for former presidents, and Congressional pensions were not approved until 1946, after Harry S Truman had left the Senate, so he received no pension for his Senate service.

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When he was serving as a county judge, Harry S Truman borrowed $31,000 by mortgaging the farm to the county school fund, which was legal at the time.

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Harry and Vivian Truman purchased 87 acres in 1945, and Truman purchased another portion in 1946.

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Nevertheless, the Trumans always lived modestly in Independence, and when Bess Truman died in 1982, almost a decade after her husband, the house was found to be in poor condition due to deferred maintenance.

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Harry S Truman worked to garner private donations to build a presidential library, which he donated to the federal government to maintain and operate—a practice adopted by his successors.

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Harry S Truman testified before Congress to have money appropriated to have presidential papers copied and organized, and was proud of the bill's passage in 1957.

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Max Skidmore, in his book on the life of former presidents, wrote that Harry S Truman was a well-read man, especially in history.

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Harry S Truman taught occasional courses at universities, including Yale, where he was a Chubb Fellow visiting lecturer in 1958.

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In 1962, Harry S Truman was a visiting lecturer at Canisius College.

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Harry S Truman continued to campaign for Democratic senatorial candidates for many years.

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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.

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Harry S Truman's statement garnered a response from Martin Luther King Jr.

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On December 5,1972, Harry S Truman was admitted to Kansas City's Research Hospital and Medical Center with pneumonia.

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Bess Truman opted for a simple private service at the library rather than a state funeral in Washington.

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When he left office in 1953, Harry S Truman was one of the most unpopular chief executives in history.

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American 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.

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Harry S 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.

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Harry S Truman has never been listed lower than ninth, and most recently was fifth in a C-SPAN poll in 2009.

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Harry Truman himself gave a strong and far-from-incorrect impression of being a tough, concerned and direct leader.

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On his own terms, Harry S Truman can be seen as having prevented the coming of a third world war and having preserved from Communist oppression much of what he called the free world.

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In September 1940, during his Senate re-election campaign, Harry S Truman was elected Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge of Freemasonry; Harry S Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election.

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In 1975, the Harry S Truman Scholarship was created as a federal program to honor US college students who exemplified dedication to public service and leadership in public policy.

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In 1991, Harry S Truman 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.

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