Harry S. Truman

Thirty-third President of the United States

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. The final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Under Truman, the U.S. successfully concluded World War II; in the aftermath of the conflict, tensions with the Soviet Union increased, marking the start of the Cold War. Truman was born in Missouri, and spent most of his youth on his family's farm.… Read More

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1884 Birth Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman (1851–1914) and Martha Ellen Young Truman (1852–1947). … Read More
1887 3 Years Old John Truman was a farmer and livestock dealer. The family lived in Lamar until Harry was ten months old, when they moved to a farm near Harrisonville. The family next moved to Belton, and in 1887 to his grandparents' 600-acre (240-ha) farm in Grandview. … Read More


1900 16 Years Old Truman worked as a page at the 1900 Democratic National Convention at Convention Hall in Kansas City; his father had many friends who were active in the Democratic Party and helped young Harry to gain his first political position.
1901 17 Years Old After graduating from Independence High School (now William Chrisman High School) in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding's Commercial College, a Kansas City business school; he studied bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing, but left after a year. … Read More


1906 22 Years Old He returned to the Grandview farm in 1906, where he lived until entering the army in 1917 after the beginning of the Great War.
1911 27 Years Old During this period, he courted Bess Wallace; he proposed in 1911, but she turned him down. … Read More


…  Truman was promoted to captain in July 1918 and became commander of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 60th Artillery Brigade, 35th Division. … Read More
1919 35 Years Old 1 More Event
Truman was discharged from the Army as a major in May 1919.
1920 36 Years Old In 1920 he was appointed a major in the Reserve Officer Corps; he became a lieutenant colonel in 1925 and a colonel in 1932. … Read More
1922 38 Years Old …  Truman was first elected to public office as a county official in 1922, and then as a U.S. Senator in 1934. … Read More


1924 40 Years Old With the help of the Kansas City Democratic machine led by Tom Pendergast, Truman was elected in 1922 as County Court judge of Jackson County's eastern district—this was an administrative rather than judicial position, somewhat similar to county commissioners elsewhere. (At the time Jackson County elected a judge from the western district (Kansas City), one from the eastern district (Jackson County outside Kansas City), and a presiding judge elected countywide.) Truman was not re-elected in 1924, losing in a Republican wave led by President Calvin Coolidge's landslide election to a full term.
Two years selling automobile club memberships convinced him that a public service career was safer for a family man approaching middle age, and he planned a run for presiding judge in 1926.
1933 49 Years Old In 1933, Truman was named Missouri's director for the Federal Re-Employment program (part of the Civil Works Administration) at the request of Postmaster General James Farley. This was payback to Pendergast for delivering the Kansas City vote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election. … Read More


1934 50 Years Old After serving as a county judge, Truman wanted to run for Governor or Congress, but Pendergast rejected these ideas. Truman then thought that he might serve out his career in some well-paying county sinecure, but circumstances changed when Pendergast reluctantly backed him in the 1934 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate after four other potential candidates turned him down. … Read More
1940 56 Years Old …  In September 1940, during his Senate re-election campaign, Truman was elected Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge of Freemasonry; Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election. … Read More


…  Truman was sworn in as vice president on January 20, 1945. … Read More
1946 - 1947 4 More Events
Truman was elected in his own right in 1948.
1949 65 Years Old 1 More Event
…  He retired in March 1949; soon after, he was hospitalized but he committed suicide in May. … Read More
…  Although Hiss denied the allegations, he was convicted in January 1950 for perjury for his denials under oath. … Read More
1951 67 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1951, William M. Boyle, Truman's long-time friend and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was forced to resign after being charged with financial corruption. A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices. … Read More
…  Allegations were raised of corruption in the Truman administration, linked to certain cabinet members and senior White House staff, and this became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election and may have contributed to Adlai Stevenson's (Truman's successor as Democratic nominee) loss to Republican nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two years, with over 30,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting in 1953. … Read More
1956 - 1965 6 More Events
1972 88 Years Old 1 More Event
On December 5, 1972, Truman was admitted to Kansas City's Research Hospital and Medical Center with lung congestion from pneumonia.
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