Truman, Harry

Harry S. Truman

b. 8 May 1884, Lamar, Barton County, Missouri
d. 26 Dec 1972, Kansas City, Missouri

Title: President of the United States
Term: 12 Apr 1945 - 20 Jan 1949
Chronology: 6 Jan 1945, election to the office of Vice President of the United States is declared upon counting electoral votes (cast 18 Dec 1944), joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, House Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [1]
20 Jan 1945, commencement of term
20 Jan 1945, took the oath prescribed by law, inaugural ceremony, South Portico, White House, Washington, D.C. [2]
12 Apr 1945, entered upon the duties of the office of President of the United States upon the death of an incumbent
12 Apr 1945, took an oath of office as President of the United States, inaugural ceremony, Cabinet Room, White House, Washington, D.C. [3]
20 Jan 1949, expiration of term
Term: 20 Jan 1949 - 20 Jan 1953
Chronology: 6 Jan 1949, election to the office of President of the United States is declared upon counting electoral votes (cast 13 Dec 1948), joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, House Chamber, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [4]
20 Jan 1949, commencement of term
20 Jan 1949, took an oath of office as President of the United States, inaugural ceremony, East Portico, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. [5]
20 Jan 1953, expiration of term
Names/titles: Truman explained that S. in his middle initial did not stand for any name but was a compromise between the names of his grandfathers, Anderson Shippe Truman and Solomon Young. The question of whether to use a period after the S in Harry S. Truman's name is a subject of controversy. However, the evidence provided by Truman's own practice argues strongly for the use of the period.
Biography:
Moved with his parents to a farm in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1888; attended the public schools in Independence, Missouri; engaged in agricultural pursuits; during the First World War was commissioned a first lieutenant, later a captain; served with Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, US Army, in France; discharged as a major in 1919; colonel of Field Artillery, US Army Reserve Corps (1927-1945); engaged in the haberdashery business (1919-1921); studied law at Kansas City (Missouri) Law School; judge of the Jackson County Court (1922-1924), and presiding judge (1926-1934); elected (1934, 1940) as a Democrat to the US Senate (3 Jan 1935 - 17 Jan 1945); chairman, Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (77th and 78th Congresses), formed at Truman's initiative and widely known as the "Truman Committee," which called nationwide attention to military contracting procedures; elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket with Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, and inaugurated on 20 Jan 1945; upon the death of President Roosevelt on 12 Apr 1945, became President of the United States; met in Potsdam, Germany, with Allied leaders to discuss the fate of postwar Germany (July 1945); authorized the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (6 Aug 1945) and Nagasaki (9 Aug 1945), killing more than 100,000; surrender of Japan was signed in Tokyo harbor on the battleship Missouri (2 Sep 1945); introduced the Truman Doctrine, stating that the United States would oppose communist aggression everywhere (1947); established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA, 1947); backed Secretary of State George Marshall's strategy for undercutting communism's appeal in western Europe by sending enormous amounts of financial aid (Marshall Plan, 1948); initiated the Berlin airlift of 1948; despite weak chances, elected president in 1948; proposed, but failed to enact the Fair Deal, a liberal 24-plank domestic program (1949); led the United States into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pact of 1949; sent U.S. forces to Korea with UN sanction (1950); lost much of his popularity because of US military failures; was not a candidate for reelection in 1952; returned to his home in Independence, Missouri; engaged in writing his memoirs and took an active interest in the creation of the Truman Library.
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005).
Elections:

Candidate (party) Electoral vote (18 Dec 1944)
Harry S. Truman (Democratic) 432
John William Bricker (Republican) 99
total number of electors appointed 531
number of votes for a majority 266

Candidate (party) Electoral vote (13 Dec 1948)
Harry S. Truman (Democratic) 303
Thomas Edmund Dewey (Republican) 189
James Strom Thurmond (State's Rights) 39
total number of electors appointed 531
number of votes for a majority 266
Source of electoral results: Congressional Record, 79th Congress, 1st Session, 91; Congressional Record, 81st Congress, 1st Session, 90.

[1] Congressional Record, 79th Congress, 1st Session, 90-91.
[2] Congressional Record, 79th Congress, 1st Session, 364-365.
[3] The New York Times, New York, Friday, April 13, 1945, vol. XCIV, No. 31,856, pp. 1, 3.
[4] Congressional Record, 81st Congress, 1st Session, 89-90.
[5] Congressional Record, 81st Congress, 1st Session, 476-479.
Image: photograph (1945)
Last updated on: 01 Jan 2012 08:54:11