Truman had spent most of his youth helping his father to farm near Independence. The bedroom was like an oven in the summer and an icebox in the winter. “It was an awful task to arise this morning in that ten-degree room.” he wrote in 1914.
With his father’s financial troubles, college of any kind was out of the question. He and his friend, Charlie Ross, vowed to read all two thousands book in the town library, encyclopedias included, and both later claimed to have succeeded.
In the last months of World War I, he served in combat in France.
Later, he decided to get into politics. He became the judge of Jackson County in 1923, state Senator in 1935 (until January, 1945), Vice President of Roosevelt, then Presidency when FDR died, from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953.
He assumed the presidency during the waning months of World War II. So much he hated war, he approved the use of atomic bombs to end WWII and entered into the Korea War to prevent WW III.
In 1952, Churchill visited U.S, he gave a speech acknowledged Truman’s leadership. “I must confess, sir” Churchill went on, “I held you in very low regard then, I loathed your taking the place of Franklin Roosevelt. I misjudged you badly. Since that time, you more than any other man, have saved Western civilization.” (p. 874) So were many politicians misjudged Truman.
The day of Memorial tribute in Senate chamber, he was praised for the creation of the United Nations, for the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, the recognition of Israel, and NATO for committing American forces in Korea. He was remembered as the first president to recommend Medicare. (p.990)
On July 30, 1965, President Johnson came to Independence, to sign the new Medicare bill in Truman’s presence at the Truman Library. “Sitting at Johnson’s elbow, a cane in his lap, he watched the signing into law of legislation for health care for the aged such as he had proposed twenty years ago.” (p.984)
And, yes, the civil rights. He said, “Everyone knows I recommended to the Congress the civil rights program. I did that because it to be my duty under the constitution.” (p. 643)
I want to thank Alexandria, my dear blog friend, for recommending this book to me. I have learned so much of Truman and the history of his time, more than I had learned from my history classes and other readings.