Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Truman Presidency

April 12 marks a monumental anniversary for Harry S. Truman. Exactly 75 years to the date, Vice President Truman took the oath of office after the untimely death of then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt. What followed was eight years of world-changing history.  

Commemorate the solemn occasion with online initiatives and events from the Harry S. Truman Library Institute as construction continues on the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum’s $30 million transformation project.

The History

Harry S Truman Swearing In

Harry S. Truman had been Vice President for 82 days when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away. The April 12 death of the four-time commander-in-chief marked more than a shift in the head of state, though—FDR had been a stabilizing force in American life, the person who guided the country through the Great Depression, through tragedy at Pearl Harbor and through the worst of World War II.

Truman was faced with finishing the job and forging a new path ahead.

Less than a month later, Germany formally surrendered to Allied powers on May 8, 1945—Truman’s 61st birthday. Yet the war waged on in the Pacific, leading Truman to the first of many courageous (and controversial) decisions: how to end the conflict with Japan.

Fears of a land invasion and the countless lives that would be lost encouraged Truman to order two atomic bombs be dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. Six days after the second bomb was used, Japan announced its surrender.

Yet with victory in hand, international peace was short-lived. What followed was one of the more tumultuous global periods in history.

Through the following eight years, President Truman’s decisions helped change the world. In addition to signing the United Nations Charter June 1945, he led the United States during the initial phase of the Cold War, including the Soviet blockade of Berlin and the early stages of what became known as the Korean War. The 33rd president also desegregated the military in 1948 and oversaw the implementation of the Marshall Plan—which helped war-torn Europe recover after WWII—and negotiated the NATO military alliance in 1949.

Truman then decided not to run again for the presidency in 1952 and retired to Independence, where he spent his final years until his death in December 1972.

The Commemorations

Harry S. Truman

Truman’s legacy remains one of the most impactful in modern history.

On April 12, 2020, the Harry S. Truman Library Institute will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Truman presidency with several digital initiatives and events, including an outdoor ceremony on April 12 at 8 a.m. which will honor both FDR and Truman. While the event is only open to media, the public can watch via livestream on Facebook.

In addition to this solemn observance, the Truman Library Institute will also launch a new Twitter feed featuring Harry S. Truman quotes documenting the first four months of his time in office. Other resources include online education about the Truman presidency available at trumanlibrary.gov/education.

Later in the year, the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum plans to reopen after its $30 million renovation. Visitors can expect state-of-the-art experiences, visitor-friendly amenities and enhanced programming, making the Truman Library “a hub for exploration and experiential learning that engages a 21st-century audience.”