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President Harry S.Truman. (b.May 8, 1884, d. Dec.26,1972), 33rd President of the United States of America. (1945-53).
Truman was the son of a mule trader and farmer. He attended school in Independence, MS., completing high school in 1901. He grandmother's farm at Grandview, served as local postmaster, road overseer, and national guardsman. He became a partner in a lead mine and in an oil-prospecting business both of which failed.
Truman distinguished himself as a captain in World War I, showing bravery and leadership. he married Elizabeth ("Bess") Wallace, an Independence girl whom he had known since childhood. He became a partner in a Kansas City haberdashery store, and, when the business failed, he entered politics with the help of Thomas Pendergast, a Democratic boss of Jackson county.
With the support of Pendergast's political machine and of World War I veterans, Truman won a seat as county judge in 1922. But despite excellent work, non-Pendergast Democrats combined with the Ku Klux Klan to defeat him.
Truman then sold memberships in the Kansas City Automobile Club and attended night classes for two years at the Kansas City Law School. A state bank in Englewood in which he became a partner went into bankruptcy because of the fraudulent activities o its former owner, but Truman enjoyed his first business success following his organisation of the Community Savings & Loan Association in Independence.
With Pendergast's backing, in 1926 he became presiding judge of the county court. As a two-term, eight county administrator, Truman's reputation for honesty and good management gained him Republican as well as Democratic support. Meanwhile, Pendergast was gaining dictatorial control over Jackson county; he achieved statewide power in the early 1930s, determining who would serve as Missouri's governor and as its members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Truman was elected with the help of a suspicious machine vote in Jackson County.
Truman entered the U.S. Senate in 1935 under the cloud of being the puppet of a crooked boss. But his attention to duties and his friendly personality soon won over his colleagues. The nation's growing defence and then war production programs soon launched Truman His Special Committee Investigating National Defence exposed a long list of graft, waste, and product deficiencies and brought him public praise. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced Vice Pres. Henry A. Wallace with Truman on the victorious 1944 presidential election
Truman's vice presidency lasted only 82 days, during which time he met with Roosevelt only twice. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. Truman was 61 when he took the Presidential Oath of Office. One of his first tasks was the supervision of the writing of the charter of the United Nations, and the supervision of Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, In July he went to his first and only summit meeting, at Potsdam, for the peace settlement talks.
The Pacific war ended after Truman's order to drop two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima an Nagasaki. His justification for the bombings was a report from advisers that 500,000 Americans would be lost in an invasion of Japan.
At the next election many Democratic leaders believed Truman could not win election,but did so with a 114-electoral-vote margin.
He considered the Soviet Union a threat to world peace. To restrict Soviet territorial advances and spreading spheres of influence, he developed a "containment" policy, setting the course of U.S. foreign policy for decades to come with a policy known as the "Truman Doctrine" ie economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey in 1947 to reduce Communist pressures on their governments and a majestic four-year $17,000,000,000 Marshall Plan of 1948 of economic recovery for western Europe. Continuing support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) leading to a pact in 1949, which was a collective security agreement with non-Communist European nations. When China came under Communist control in 1949, Truman's containment policies were extended to include that giant nation. He also established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947. He initiated the Berlin airlift of 1948 to bring supplies into the former German capital when the Soviets blocked surface entrances. He instituted the Point Four Program of 1949 to provide aid to under developed countries, and decided in 1950 to construct the hydrogen bomb in order to maintain an arms lead over the Soviets, who had recently exploded an atomic bomb.
Strangely in the USA his reputation was that of a man far too small for his job. Perhaps that was caused by him living under the shadow of his illustrious predecessor Franklin D. Roosevelt,
He died in 1972 in Kansas City, MS., and was buried at the Truman Library grounds in Independence.
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