Harry S Truman

By: Mick Yates

After serving as a Captain during the First World War and engaging briefly in the haberdashery business, Truman entered the political arena.  He held a number of local offices and was elected to the Senate in 1934.  In 1940 he was appointed Head of the Senate War Investigation Committee, and won widespread respect whilst achieving huge savings.

 

Elected Vice President in 1944, Truman found himself President a mere 82 days later.  He was immediately faced with winding down the war and preparing the nation for post-war adjustment.

 

Truman proved an effective leader in foreign affairs, his Presidency marked throughout by important foreign policy initiatives, such as the ‘Truman Doctrine’ and the ‘Marshall Plan’.  He also made some off the most crucial decisions in history, including the order to drop atomic bombs on Japan. This was a  controversial act which undoubtedly saved many lives by bringing the war to a close however the morality of this decision is still in debate.

 

Domestically, Truman worked vigorously on civil rights issues.  His Fair Deal campaign proposed the expansion of social security, a full employment program, and a permanent Fair Employment Practices Act. Although his desire to achieve significant legislation was thwarted, he was able to bring about some important changes, such as forbidding racial discrimination in Federal employment, and establishing a committee on civil rights. 

 

Although, during his later years, Truman’s popularity waned, his honest forceful brand of leadership earned him the respect of many Americans and foreigners alike.

 

Melanie Smith