Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)
Thirty-third President (1945-1953)
Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945, his successor, Vice President Harry Truman, felt as if
the weight of the world had fallen on him. Feeling woefully unprepared, he now had the
responsibility for guiding the country through the final phases of World War II and the
often-jolting adjustments to peace.
Elected to the presidency in his own right in 1948, Truman
had his greatest impact in foreign policy, and his commitment to containing the postwar
spread of Communist influence in the world set a pattern in American diplomacy that
prevailed for many more decades. Among his most notable achievements was the defeat of
Communist takeovers in Greece and Turkey and of the Soviet Union's attempt to push the
West out of Berlin. The peppery Truman also presided over implementation of the Marshall
Plan to rebuild Western Europe's war-torn economies; a scheme that may be the greatest
triumph in the annals of American diplomacy.
The Harry S.
Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Dedication of the Harry S.
Truman Building (formerly the Dept. of State Building)