Harry S. Truman, born May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri, died December 26, 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri, was an American politician (a democrat), the U.S. Vice President from January to April 1945 and the President from 1945 to 1953.
Truman was born into a farming family in Missouri and had no opportunity to study at university.
He worked for several years as a farmer and then participated in the First World War as a reserve officer in the artillery. He served for some time on the French front. After having been a partner in a clothing store 1919-1922, Truman began his political career as a local politician, with the support of the influential Pendergast family. In 1934, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, but was met with suspicion by the Roosevelt administration because of his association with Pendergast.
He was nominated for the vice-presidential candidate in 1944 and entered the service January 20, 1945, after the Democrats’ victory in the presidential election. Barely three months later, Franklin D. Roosevelt died and Truman, as vice president, became a new president. He was re-elected by a surprising victory in the presidential election in 1948.
Harry Truman’s presidency was particularly eventful with what was foreign policy. After the victory over Germany in World War II, Truman attended in Potsdam Conference. He ordered the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the cold war, the protracted conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, began during Truman’s presidency. In 1947, he presented the Truman Doctrine, which meant that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with money and weapons in order to meet the perceived threat from communism. Truman’s Secretary of State has named it the Marshall Plan. Other important events were the Berlin Blockade, the creation of the Atlantic Alliance and the American involvement in the Korean War. Domestically, Truman put forward the Fair Deal, which was a continuation of Roosevelt’s New Deal, but he did not manage to get through many of the proposals in Congress.
Another Truman’s major foreign policy initiative was the Marshall Plan, which aimed both to contribute to the reconstruction of Europe and to prevent the spread of communism. After the war, Western Europe was in deep financial crisis, the greatest risk was not a Soviet intervention, but hunger, poverty, and despair, which would drive the Europeans to vote for their own communist parties to power.
Truman did not run for re-election in 1952. He was succeeded as president by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, who defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson. Truman had occasional low popularity during his tenure and was hard pressed by political opponents, but today his presidency is viewed more positively and he is considered one of the nation’s top ten presidents.
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