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An Overview of Harry Truman's Administration


Harry Truman became President at one of the most critical moments in American history. He had been Vice-President for only 83 days when President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. World War II still had to be won, and plans to establish the United Nations organization had just been started. The Missouri Democrat met the challenges of his presidency with courage, determination, and imagination. During the first few weeks of his administration, the Allies won victory in Europe. Truman then made one of the most difficult decisions ever considered by one man -- to use the powerful new atomic bomb against Japan to end World War II.

Election of 1948
Place of Nominating Convention Philadelphia
Ballot on Which Nominated 1st
Republican Opponent Thomas E. Dewey
Dixiecrat Opponent Strom Thurmond
Progressive Opponent Henry A. Wallace
Electoral Vote 303 (Truman) to 189 (Dewey) to 39 (Thurmond) to 0 (Wallace)
Popular Vote 24,105,695 (Truman) to 21,969,170 (Dewey) to 1,169,021 (Thurmond) to 1,156,103 (Wallace)
Age at Inauguration 64
His Vice-President and Cabinet
Vice-President Alben W. Barkley
Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
James F. Byrnes (1945)
George C. Marshall (1947)
Dean G. Acheson (1949)
Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr.
Frederick M. Vinson (1945)
John W. Snyder (1946)
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
Robert P. Patterson (1945)
Kenneth C. Royall (1947)
Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal (1947)
Louis A. Johnson (1949)
George C. Marshall (1950)
Robert A. Lovett (1951)
Attorney General Francis Biddle
Tom C. Clark (1945)
J. Howard McGrath (1949)
James P. McGranery (1952)
Postmaster General Frank C. Walker
Robert E. Hannegan (1945)
Jesse M. Donaldson (1947)
Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal
Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes
Julius A. Krug (1946)
Oscar L. Chapman (1950)
Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard
Clinton P. Anderson (1945)
Charles F. Brannan (1948)
Secretary of Commerce Henry A. Wallace
Averell Harriman (1946)
Charles Sawyer (1948)
Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins
Lewis B. Schwellenbach (1945)
Maurice J.Tobin (1948)
Major Domestic Events of His Administration
Population in 1953: 159,700,000
July 16, 1945 American forces tested the world's first atomic bomb.
1946 Congress created the Atomic Energy Commission.
May 15, 1947 Congress approved the Truman Doctrine.
June 1947 Congress passed the Labor-Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Act) over Truman's veto.
July 1947 The armed forces were unified under a single Secretary of Defense.
April 2, 1948 Congress approved the Marshall Plan.
June 27, 1950 Truman announced that U.S. planes and ships had been sent to help South Korea fight off communists.
November 1, 1950 Two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to invade Blair House and assassinate Truman.
1951 The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting the President to two four-year terms, was adopted.
1951 A Senate committee investigated U.S. crime.
April 1951 Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur as U.N. commander in Korea.
1951 Americans saw the first nationwide telecast.
1952 Puerto Rico became a commonwealth.
November 1, 1952 American scientists tested the world's first hydrogen bomb.
Major World Events of His Administration
April 25, 1945 The first United Nations conference met in San Francisco.
May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered to the Allies.
August 6, 1945 An American bomber dropped an atomic bomb -- "Little Boy" -- on Hiroshima, Japan.
August 9, 1945 An atomic bomb -- "Fat Man" -- was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
August 14, 1945 Japan surrendered to the United States.
1946 The Philippines became a republic.
1947-1948 India, Pakistan, and Ceylon won independence in the British Commonwealth; Burma became a republic.
1948-1949 An Allied airlift supplied blockaded West Berlin.
1948 Israel became a republic in Palestine.
1949 The United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and eight other nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty.
June 25, 1950 Communist forces from North Korea invaded South Korea.
1952 Elizabeth II became Queen of England.


The American President

See Also

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
World War II
Secretary of State
George C. Marshall
Dean G. Acheson
Frances Perkins
Douglas MacArthur
Puerto Rico
"Little Boy"
"Fat Man"
Japan's Surrender
The Philippines
North Atlantic Treaty
Elizabeth II

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The Robinson Library >> Harry Truman's Administration

This page was last updated on August 30, 2018.