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AMERICAN HISTORY

33rd President: Harry S. Truman
Years in Office:  1945 -- 1953  ( 8 yrs )
Party: Democrat
Vice President: Allen W. Barkley
First Lady: Elizabeth Wallace Truman
Year Born: 1884
Year Died: 1972  ( 88 yrs old )

Harry S. Truman reportedly had conferred with FDR only twice before inheriting the presidency.  The native of Independence, Mo., was a man of strongly - defined character and moral conviction.  The thick glassed he wore as a child kept him from taking part in the standard games, but they gave him the gift of time, which he used to absorb volumes of military chronicles.

    He fought France in World War I, and his first elected position upon returning home was that of county judge.  Elected to the U.S. Senate, he grabbed national attention when he chaired a committee looking into mismanagement of the defense industry and was nominated to FDR's ticket in 1944.

    It was Truman who made the agonizing decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  bringing World War ll to a horrific close.  He then fought hard for the Truman Doctrine, which made the case for communist containment.

    As the election of 1948 drew near, his call to civil rights served only to fragment the Democrats, but after a countryside whistlestop tour, he defeated New York governor Thomas E. Dewey in one of the great political upsets of the American century.