Harry Truman’s Best Birthday Present

Presidential History Blog

Harry TrumanHarry Truman was just shy of his 61st birthday when he became President.

HST: The Unprepared Vice President

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) was elected Democratic Senator from Missouri in 1932, the same year Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected Democratic President. Over the next twelve years, the two men had casual opportunities to meet, but it was neither close nor meaningful. As the protege of Tom Pendergast, the powerful political boss of western Missouri, FDR gave Truman little respect, and certainly no place in his inner circle.

Senator Harry Truman

Nevertheless, HST made a solid name for himself once World War II was underway, as the champion of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, specifically waste, mismanagement, corruption and similar. The intense investigations and their positive results were important enough for people to call it “The Truman Committee.” FDR couldn’t help being somewhat impressed.

By 1944…

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