Truman S Harry Truman was a simple honest man. His impact on world history however was much more than simple. In his life he would take part in both world wars and serve two terms in office as president. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884. His full name was Harry S.
Truman. The S did not stand for anything but was put there to appease his two relatives whos names started with s. He was the eldest of three children with a younger brother Vivian, and a younger sister Mary Jane. His parents were not rich but his mother, Martha Ellen Young Truman, always found that money was there for piano lessons or books. Truman moved to Independence when he was six. He went to the Presbyterian Church and attended Sunday school (he met his future wife Elizabeth Wallace here). Truman began school at eight years of age.
His two passions, reading and music, helped him gain a strong education and high grades. His large glasses and vast knowledge also alienated himself from other children. After graduating in 1901, his future was unclear. His poor eyesight barred him from military service and his families financial situation would not allow him to go on to college. Truman worked as a time keeper for thirty five dollars per month at Sante Fe Railroad. He still read up on histories and encyclopedias when he could find the time.
He moved to Kansas City and worked as a clerk for the Kansas City Star, he then began work at the National Bank of Commerce and finally the Union National Banks book keeper. He returned home in 1906 after his grandfathers death. The family had inherited a farm in Grandview Missouri and for ten years Truman worked and became quite a successful farmer. He had his first small taste of politics when he joined the local democratic party organization, run by Mike Penergast. He was made Grandview Postmaster. Truman invested some money in Lead mines and then oil fields. He sold his stocks and enlisted in the United states army in 1917.
Truman trained in Oklahoma, at a military base called Fort Sill. He became a recruiter in Missouri and the Missouri Second Field Artillery elected him first lieutenant. He sailed for France in march 30, 1918. He was made captain of Battery D (nick named Dizzy D), tamed their rowdy ways and lead them to glory in the battles of Saint-Miheal and Argonne. Truman finished the war a Major and returned home in April of 1919. Truman married Elizabeth Wallace on June 28, 1919.
Truman opened a clothing store for men with his friend Eddie Jacobson in Kansas City. The store was quite successful and many of the veterans of the Dizzy Ds were repeat customers. The store lost money when farm prices dropped in 1920 and finally shut down in the winter of 1922. Truman however paid his debts and never declared bankruptcy. Truman looked for help in his old acquaintance Pendergast.
He was entered in a four way democratic primary for a judgeship in eastern Jackson County. One of his opponents was backed by the kkk. Truman was asked to join, however, he rejected their racial attitudes towards blacks, and religious hatreds to the Jews and Catholics. Pendergast withdrew the entrance money. Truman did however run, his war record and previous work and Missouri were the basis of his campaign.
He was successful in the primary and was sworn in on January 1923. This was his first public office position. His duties as county judge left him with a one million dollar debt and roads and buildings to be maintained. In his two year term he lowered the debt by 600,000 dollars and helped to improve the roads. In 1926 Truman was made court judge.
He quickly exposed and fired many of Pendergasts corrupt members and cleaning the corrupt political machine. He appointed independent commissions to look into roads and buildings, secured low interest loans, hand picked the architect to rebuild the court house and hired respectable workers. He received a second term as the county judge. The son of the now late Mike Pendergast, Tom, asked Truman to run for the senate in 1935. Truman came to power playing on the popular New Deal.
He was sworn in as Junior senator of Missouri on January 3, 1935. In the Senate, Truman was not trusted for his dealings with Tom Pendergast. The white house was uncovering the Pendergast political movement for what it was, Truman was assumed to be just as crooked. He managed to befriend Ganer and Vandenberg, the two most influential men in the senate at the time. They helped put Truman in the Appropriations committee and the Interstate commerce committee.
He also created the Civil Aeronautics Board with Senator Austin. He became involved in a subcommittee for the railroad. He became acting chairman and his views were a major factor in the transportation act of 1940. Truman was reelected despite the Pendergast investigation and two popular running mates. His victory was quite unexpected and his fellow senators welcomed him back with a standing ovation.
His second term was dedicated to the Truman Committee. A committee that found fraud and waste in the defense program. As the head of the committee Truman was put on the national stage. His committee is estimated to of save 15 billion dollars and only cost 400,000. Truman was appointed as vice president for his appeal to the public rather than his political know how. He ran against William O Douglas, Alben W. Barkley and James F.
Byrnes. He was successful and on January 20, 1945, he took the oath for vice president. Truman rarely saw or spoke to FDR. After the Yalta conference Truman had several brief meetings with FDR but never discussed the plans for peace or for the current crisis. On April 12, 9145 Truman was president, and FDR had died. On May 8, 1945 he declared V-E Day.
Truman discussed his ideas for a United nations in San Francisco. Truman was present at the Potsdam Conference where it was agreed that Russia would invade Manchuria and the atomic bomb would be used. Japan would surrender on the second of September 1945. Trumans most famous foreign policy would be the Truman Doctrine. This would also further tensions with Russia and play a major role in the cold war.
The main purpose of this policy was to send money to weaker countries under the threat of spreading communism. Along with the Marshall Plan, these programs helped to rebuild post war Europe and prevent Stalin from absorbing the weaker nations. Truman was instrumental in the formation of NATO in 1949. His actions of only freeing south Korea from communist china eventually led to Macarthers abrupt firing. At home Truman continued new deal programs and tried to move the country ahead.
He pushed for better social programs, increasing minimum wages, rent control, old age benefits, aiding the black community, and a nation health care program. He converted the atomic energy program from the military and to the civilian atomic energy commission. His Taft-Hartley Act had a great impact on limiting the powers of workers unions. Truman retired to Independence Missouri at the end of his second term. He was 67. He always stayed interested in politics and was a firm democratic supporter.
He opened the Harry S. Truman library, wrote a two volume set of memoirs, and was a recipient for the freedom award. He passed away in 1972 and was buried on the grounds of the library built in his name. Bibliography Ms Encarta 97 Golden Home and highschool encyclopedia volume 18 American History.