Young Harry Truman
Harry S. Truman Library

Young Harry Truman
May 8, 1884

Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri.


The Trumans move to 619 Crysler Street in Independence, Missouri. Young Harry meets Bess Wallace for the first time in First Presbyterian Church's Sunday School.


President William McKinley is assassinated. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumes the presidency.


Truman takes a job as a clerk for the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, Missouri.


Truman works as a bookkeeper for the Union National Bank in Kansas City, Missouri.

Truman in the Missouri National Guard
Harry S. Truman Library

Truman in the Missouri National Guard

Truman serves in Battery B of the Missouri National Guard. He enters as a private, but is soon promoted to corporal.


To help out his parents and his brother, Vivian, Truman moves to the 600-acre family farm near Grandview, Missouri and helps them manage and operate it.


Truman begins courting Bess Wallace.


Woodrow Wilson is elected President.

Truman's father
Harry S. Truman Library

Truman's father
November 2, 1914

 Truman's father dies.

May 7, 1915

The British steamship Lusitania is sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. The event will lead the United States to declare war on Germany.


Truman helps organize an oil-drilling company, later named the Morgan Oil and Refining Company, and invests $10,000 in it, managing perhaps to break even before the company is dissolved in 1919.

August 1916

Truman is sworn into regular army service as a member of 129th Field Artillery regiment.

April 4, 1917

The U.S. enters World War I as President Wilson declares war on Germany.

Truman as a Captain
Harry S. Truman Library

Truman as a Captain
April 13, 1918

Truman arrives in Brest, France, on board U.S.S. George Washington.

A month later, Truman is promoted to captain, although he will not receive official notification until October.

Battery D
Harry S. Truman Library

Battery D
July 11, 1918

Truman is assigned command of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery regiment, 35th Division. The battery is composed of 188 men, 167 horses, and a complement of French-designed 75mm guns.

September 6, 1918

Truman engages in his first combat operation in the Vosges Mountains.

The end of the War
Harry S. Truman

The end of the War
November 11, 1918

World War I ends.

January 16, 1919

The 18th Amendment is ratified, forbidding the manufacture, sale, import or export of liquor in the United States, and beginning the period known as Prohibition.

May 6, 1919

Truman is discharged from the army.

Harry and Bess on their wedding day
Harry S. Truman Library

Harry and Bess on their wedding day
June 28, 1919

Harry Truman and Elizabeth (Bess) Virginia Wallace are wed at the bride's church, Trinity Episcopal, in Independence, Missouri, and move to 219 N. Delaware Street in Independence, the residence of Truman's mother-in-law, Madge Gates Wallace.

November 1919

Truman opens a men's haberdashery store, in partnership with Edward Jacobson, at 104 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.


Truman is appointed major in Field Artillery, Officers Reserve Corps.

Women win the battle for suffrage with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Harry S. Truman Library


The haberdashery business fails as a result of a business recession, but Truman refuses to file a petition of bankruptcy. He pays off his share of the firm's debts during the ensuing fifteen years.

With the endorsement of county Democratic party leader T. J. Pendergast, Truman wins election as an eastern judge on the Jackson County Court, an executive body that administers affairs of the county.


Truman attends the Kansas City School of Law.


Defeated for reelection by Henry Rummel, Truman faces the only electoral loss he will ever experience.


Truman is elected presiding judge of the Jackson County Court.

January 1927

Truman is sworn in as presiding judge of the Jackson County Court. He will serve two four-year terms, through 1934.

November 8, 1932

Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected president.

Adolf Hitler in Germany
National Archives

Adolf Hitler in Germany
January 30, 1933

Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.

May 1934

Truman files as a Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate.

November 6, 1934

Truman defeats incumbent Republican Roscoe C. Patterson by 262,000 votes.

Senator Truman
Harry S. Truman Library

Senator Truman
January 3, 1935

Along with 12 other new Democratic senators, Truman is sworn in as U.S. Senator.

September 1, 1939

Germany invades Poland.

Reelection campaign headquarters
Harry S. Truman Library

Reelection campaign headquarters
June 15, 1940

Truman launches his reelection campaign in Sedalia, Missouri.

Summer 1940

The mortgage on the Truman farm near Grandview is foreclosed -- Truman's mother, Martha Ellen Truman, and sister Mary Jane move to town. (The family farm will be purchased by Truman friends and sold back to the Truman family several years later.)

Truman wins the senatorial primary
Harry S. Truman Library

Truman wins the senatorial primary
August 6, 1940

Truman wins the Democratic senatorial primary election, garnering 268,557 votes.

Truman celebrates important legislation
Harry S. Truman Library

Truman celebrates important legislation
September 18, 1940

The Transportation Act of 1940, also known as the Wheeler-Truman Act, is signed by President Roosevelt.

December 7, 1941

The Japanese attack the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The nation enters into World War II.

January 29, 1944

Truman speaks at the ceremony launching the battleship U.S.S.Missouri. His daughter Margaret christens the ship with a bottle of champagne.

May 1944

Truman is selected as one of the ten most useful officials in Washington, D.C. in a poll of 52 correspondents conducted by Look magazine.

June 6, 1944

The Allies invade Normandy, France.

July 21, 1944

Truman is nominated for the office of vice-president at the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois.

The campaign for Vice President
Harry S. Truman Library

The campaign for Vice President
August 31, 1944

Truman launches his vice-presidential campaign at his birthplace, Lamar, Missouri.

October 12, 1944

Truman begins an official campaign tour by railroad with a speech in New Orleans. He uses the railroad car "Henry Stanley."

November 7, 1944

Truman is elected vice president of the United States.

Taking the Oath of Office
National Archives

Taking the Oath of Office
April 12, 1945

Harry Truman is sworn in as 33rd president of the United States upon the death of President Roosevelt.

May 7, 1945

Germany surrenders to the Allies.

May 8, 1945

Truman announces the end of the war in Europe via radio (V-E Day).

July 17 - August 2, 1945

Truman attends a conference at Potsdam, Germany to discuss the post-war treatment of Germany with Premier Joseph Stalin of Russia and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain. Churchill is replaced by Prime Minister Clement Attlee on 29 July.

My American Experience

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