172 Facts About Harry Truman


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


Harry Truman proposed numerous liberal domestic reforms, but few were enacted by the conservative coalition that dominated the Congress.


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


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


Harry Truman was elected vice-president in 1944 and assumed the presidency following the death of Roosevelt.


Not until he became president was Harry Truman informed about the ongoing Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb.


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


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


Harry 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.


Harry Truman presided over the onset of the Cold War in 1947.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Harry Truman got up at five o'clock every morning to practice the piano, which he studied more than twice a week until he was fifteen, becoming quite a skilled player.


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


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


Harry Truman proposed in 1911, but she turned him down.


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


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


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


Harry 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.


Harry 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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


Harry Truman's 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.


The war was a transformative experience in which Harry Truman manifested his leadership qualities.


Harry 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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


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


Thanks to Kemper's efforts, Vivian Harry Truman was able to buy it for $1,000.


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


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


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


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


Harry 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.


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.


Harry 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.


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


Activities of the Harry 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.


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.


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


Harry 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".


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


Harry Truman was sworn in as vice president on January 20,1945.


Harry Truman mostly presided over the Senate and attended parties and receptions.


Harry Truman kept the same offices from his Senate years, mostly only using the Vice President's official office in the Capital to greet visitors.


Harry Truman was the first vice president to have a Secret Service agent assigned to him.


Harry Truman envisioned the office as a liaison between the Senate and the president.


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


Harry 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.


At the White House Harry Truman replaced Roosevelt holdovers with old confidants.


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


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


Harry 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.


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


Harry 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.


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


Harry 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.


Harry 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.


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


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


Supporters of Harry 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.


In 1948 Harry Truman defended his decision to use atomic bombs:.


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


Harry 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.


US diplomats with experience in the region were opposed, but Harry Truman told them he had few Arabs among his constituents.


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


Harry 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.


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


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


Under his predecessor, Franklin D Roosevelt, the Fair Employment Practices Committee was created to address racial discrimination in employment, and in 1946, Truman created the President's Committee on Civil Rights.


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


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


In February 1948, Harry 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.


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


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


Harry 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.


On January 31,1950, Harry 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.


Harry 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.


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


Harry 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 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".


Harry 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.


Harry 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.


Therefore, on April 11,1951, Harry Truman fired MacArthur from his commands.


Harry Truman was a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which established a formal peacetime military alliance with Canada and democratic European nations of the Western Bloc following World War II.


The treaty establishing it was widely popular and easily passed the Senate in 1949; Harry Truman appointed General Eisenhower as commander.


Harry 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, Harry 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.


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


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


Harry 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.


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


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


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


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


In 1948, Harry 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 Truman Balcony.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Harry Truman's finances were transformed by his accession to the presidency, which carried with it a salary of $75,000, which was increased to $100,000 in 1949.


In February 1953, Harry 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.


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


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


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


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


In January 1959, Harry Truman calculated his net worth as $1,046,788.86, including a share in the Los Angeles Rams football team.


Harry 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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


Harry 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.


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


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


On his own terms, Harry 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.


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


Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington DC Harry Truman was a member of Sons of the American Revolution and a card-carrying member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.


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


In 1991, Harry 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.


The Walk of Fame is in Marshfield, Missouri, a city Harry Truman visited in 1948.