Miller Center

American President

Harry S. Truman (1884–1972)

Portrait of Harry S. Truman

Facts at a Glance

33rd President of the United States (1945–1953)
May 8, 1884, Lamar, MO
"Give ’Em Hell Harry"
June 28, 1919, to Elizabeth “Bess” Virginia Wallace (1885–1982)
Mary Margaret (1924–2008)
Farmer, Businessman, Public Official
Political Party
Memoirs (2 vols., 1955-56)
December 26, 1972, Kansas City, MO
Independence, MO
A Life in Brief
Harry S. Truman became President of the United States with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945. During his nearly eight years in office, Truman confronted enormous challenges in both foreign and domestic affairs. Truman’s policies abroad, and especially toward the Soviet Union in the emerging Cold War, would become staples of American foreign policy for generations. More »
No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected.
March 12, 1947
As Americans, we believe that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow countrymen.
June 29, 1947

Truman Multimedia Gallery

Selected Truman Speeches

Surrender of Germany (5/8/1945)
Hiroshima (8/6/1945)
Surrender of Japan (9/1/1945)
Truman Doctrine (3/12/1947)
Address at NAACP (6/29/1947)
Whistlestop Tour (9/18/1948)
Inaugural Address (1/20/1949)
Report on Korea (4/11/1951)

More »

Essays on Harry S. Truman and His Administration

Harry S. Truman
A Life in Brief
Life Before the Presidency
Campaigns and Elections
Domestic Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Life After the Presidency
Family Life
The American Franchise
Impact and Legacy
Key Events
First Lady
Bess Truman
Vice President
Alben W. Barkley
Secretary of State
Edward R. Stettinius Jr. (1944–1945)
James Byrnes (1945–1947)
George C. Marshall (1947–1949)
Dean G. Acheson (1949–1953)
Secretary of War
Henry L. Stimson (1945–1945)
Robert P. Patterson (1945–1947)
Kenneth C. Royall (1947–1947)
Attorney General
Francis B. Biddle (1945–1945)
Thomas C. Clark (1945–1949)
J. Howard McGrath (1949–1952)
James P. McGranery (1952–1953)
Secretary of the Navy
James V. Forrestal (1945–1947)
Secretary of Agriculture
Claude R. Wickard (1945–1945)
Clinton P. Anderson (1945–1948)
Charles F. Brannan (1948–1953)
Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins (1945–1945)
Lewis B. Schwellenbach (1945-1948)
Maurice J. Tobin (1948–1953)
Secretary of the Treasury
Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (1945–1945)
Frederick M. Vinson (1945–1946)
John W. Snyder (1946–1953)
Secretary of Defense
James V. Forrestal (1947–1949)
Louis Johnson (1949–1950)
George C. Marshall (1950–1951)
Robert Lovett (1951–1953)
Postmaster General
Frank C. Walker (1945–1945)
Robert E. Hannegan (1945–1947)
Jesse M. Donaldson (1947–1953)
Secretary of the Interior
Harold L. Ickes (1945–1946)
Julius A. Krug (1946–1949)
Oscar L. Chapman (1949–1953)
Secretary of Commerce
Henry A. Wallace (1945–1946)
William Averell Harriman (1946–1948)
Charles Sawyer (1948–1953)

Miller Center Presentations About Truman

Harry Truman and Civil Rights (9/26/2003)
Arms Control and Preparedness (9/14/1987)
The Truman Presidency (7/11/1983)
Truman: Character and Legacy (4/27/1983)

Consulting Editor: Alonzo L. Hamby

Professor Hamby is a Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio University. His writings include:

For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s (Free Press, 2004)

Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (Oxford University Press, 1998)

Beyond the New Deal: Harry S. Truman and American Liberalism (Columbia University Press, 1973)