Harry S. Truman was born at Lamar, Missouri on this day in 1884. After high school he worked as a bank clerk, but prospects were bleak and he came home to the farm. He fought in World War I, returned home, married Bess, and became a haberdasher. When that business failed he went to work for Thomas J. Pendergast, Democratic boss of Kansas City. During his second senate term, moderates demanded that Franklin Roosevelt drop Henry Wallace as running mate and Truman joined the ticket. Less than three months after the inauguration he became president on FDR's death. His presidency included the only use of atomic weapons, a takeover of the railroads to end a strike, the formation of the UN and NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, a come-from-behind reelection victory over Thomas Dewey, the Korean War, the beginning of the US' involvement in Viet Nam, an assassination attempt, and the reconstruction of the White House. During this tumultuous period he had both the highest and lowest approval ratings of any president according to Gallup.
Below are some of his more memorable quotes.
“It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit.”
“I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell.”
“In this shrinking world, it is futile to seek safety behind geographical barriers. Real security will be found only in law and in justice.”
“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”
“This administration is going to be cussed and discussed for years to come.”
“You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”
All from Harry S. Truman, 1884 – 1972
My favorite by far is “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” [:)]