The Atomic Bomb
Harry S. Truman Library

The Atomic Bomb
August 6, 1945

Truman announces the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan by a U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber named Enola Gay.

August 14, 1945

Truman announces the end of war with Japan at a press conference. (V-J Day).

September 6, 1945

Truman presents his 21-point legislative program to Congress for the reconversion period as a continuation and expansion of Roosevelt's New Deal, contrary to popular expectations that the policies of the new president would be more conservative than that of his predecessor.

July 15, 1946

Truman signs a bill authorizing a loan of $3.75 billion to Great Britain.

March 3, 1947

Truman requests an appropriation of $400 million before a joint session of Congress to fight the spread of communism in Greece and Turkey (Truman Doctrine). The doctrine receives the backing of most of the Republican members of Congress in accordance with the bipartisan foreign policy that is in effect during most of the Truman administration.

May 22, 1947

Truman approves a bill providing $400 million in assistance to Greece and Turkey.

June 14, 1947

Truman signs a peace treaty ratification with Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

July 28, 1947

Truman attends funeral of his mother in Grandview, Missouri.

February 2, 1948

Truman sends a message to Congress asking for civil rights legislation to secure the rights of the country's minority groups.

Truman in Germany
National Archives

Truman in Germany
April 3, 1948

Truman signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, creating a European Recovery Program (ERP) to implement the Marshall Plan for U. S. aid to European recovery. An Economic Cooperation Administration is established to administer the program.

June 25 -26, 1948

Truman signs the Displaced Persons Act authorizing admission into the United States of 205,000 European displaced persons over the following two years.

Truman orders an airlift of supplies into Berlin, in conjunction with the British, in answer to a Russian blockade of the portion of that city occupied by the Western powers. The blockade will last until May 12, 1949.

July 15, 1948

Truman is nominated Democratic candidate for president on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, after 35 delegates from Alabama and Mississippi walk out of the convention in protest against a strong civil rights plank in the party platform. Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky is chosen as Truman's vice-presidential candidate.

On the reelection campaign

On the reelection campaign
September 6- October 30, 1948

Truman makes several extensive campaign trips, traveling through all sections of the country except the South. Calling it a "whistle stop" campaign, he makes 275 speeches, centering his attack upon the record of the "do-nothing 80th Congress," and travels about 22,000 miles.

November 2, 1948

Truman is elected to his second term as president, contrary to the forecasts of newspapers and poll takers, who had almost unanimously predicted his defeat.

January 20, 1949

Truman is inaugurated for his second term. In his inaugural address, he calls for a "bold new program" to help underprivileged peoples of the earth (Point IV Program).

August 10, 1949

Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment, establishing a unified Department of Defense.

Signing NATO into existence
National Archives

Signing NATO into existence
August 24, 1949

Truman proclaims the North Atlantic Pact, which has been signed by 12 nations in Washington on April 4th, to be in effect. Implementation of the pact is entrusted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

January 31, 1950

Truman reveals that he had ordered the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the hydrogen bomb.

Americans in Korea
National Archives

Americans in Korea
June 26, 1950

Truman orders U. S. air and sea forces to aid South Korean troops in resisting the Communist forces of North Korea, which had invaded South Korea the day before.

June 30, 1950

Truman announces that he had ordered American ground forces in Japan sent to Korea and the navy to blockade the Korean coast. The president's Korean policy is backed by the U. N. Security Council. General Douglas MacArthur, the American commander in Japan, is put in charge of all U. N. troops in the area, which include forces from other nations.

July 19, 1950

President Truman sends a message to Congress asking for a supplemental appropriation to support the Korean police action and for measures to control the country's economy.

December 6, 1950

Truman writes a personal letter to music critic Paul Hume, assailing him for his "lousy review" of a recital given by Truman's daughter Margaret. The president's strong language arouses public controversy, but the majority of mail is in his favor.

December 16, 1950

Truman proclaims a state of national emergency following the entry of Communist China into the Korean conflict on November 6, after U. N. forces take over most of North Korea.

General MacArthur
Library of Congress

General MacArthur
April 11, 1951

Truman relieves MacArthur of all posts as commander of American and U. N. forces in the Far East for making statements critical of the government's military and foreign policies in that area. Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway replaces MacArthur.

Dwight Eisenhower
Library of Congress

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected president.

January 20, 1950

 Truman attends the inauguration of President Eisenhower and then leaves by train for Independence, Missouri.


Truman works on his memoirs, the first volume of which, Year of Decisions, is published in November 1955. The second volume, Years of Trial and Hope, will appear the following year.

May 8, 1955

On his 71 birthday, Truman breaks ground for the construction of a privately financed Harry S. Truman Library building.

August 12, 1955

The Presidential Libraries Act is signed, authorizing the General Services Administration to accept the papers of U. S. presidents, and the land, buildings, and equipment that are offered for a "Presidential archival depository."

April 21, 1956

Truman attends the marriage of his daughter, Mary Margaret, to E. Clifton Daniel, Jr., well-known newspaperman, in Trinity Episcopal Church, Independence, Missouri. Four grandsons will be born in 1957,1959, 1963, and 1966.

May 11 - July 3, 1956

With his wife, Bess, Truman tours Europe. He visits historical sites, meets with a number of European leaders, including Winston Churchill, has an audience with Pope Pius XII, and receives numerous honors, including an honorary degree from Oxford University on June 20.

July 6, 1956

Truman participates in the dedication of the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri; it is the second presidential library to become part of the National Archives and Records Service.

August 1956

Truman announces his support of Governor Averell Harriman for the Democratic party's nomination for the presidency, but after the party's national convention selects Adlai Stevenson, Truman campaigns for Stevenson instead.


President Eisenhower sends Federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce desegregation of the public schools.

April 19, 1959

Truman participates in the dedication of his birthplace home in Lamar, Missouri. It is purchased and restored by the United Auto Workers union, and then accepted by the state as a gift.


Truman publishes Mr. Citizen, a book about his post-presidential experiences.

John F. Kennedy
Library of Congress

John F. Kennedy
October 8 - November 4, 1960

Truman conducts a vigorous campaign speaking tour across the country on behalf of presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, who will be elected president.

January 20, 1961

With his wife and daughter, Truman is a guest in the White House on inauguration day. It is their first visit there in eight years.

May 29, 1963

 A large statue of Truman is unveiled in Athens, Greece, commemorating Truman as one of Greece's "greatest benefactors."

November 26, 1963

Truman attends the funeral of President Kennedy and meets afterward with Eisenhower, affecting, to the press, a final "reconciliation" between these two former political adversaries.

March 11 - 13, 1964

Truman attends the funeral of King Paul I in Athens, Greece, as President Johnson's personal representative.

May 8, 1964

Truman becomes the first former president to address the U. S. Senate while it is in formal session. The Senate honors him on his 80th birthday.

June 25, 1964

Truman receives from the South Korean ambassador to the United States the "Order of Merit for the National Foundation Joongjang," the republic's highest honor.

July 30, 1964

Truman participates in a ceremony at the Truman Library during which President Johnson signs the Medicare bill, an event that Truman describes as a "profound personal experience for me." Mr. and Mrs. Truman will receive Medicare registration cards numbers one and two in January 1966.

August 2, 1964

The U.S.S. Maddox is allegedly torpedoed by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Lyndon Johnson
Library of Congress

Lyndon Johnson
November 1964

Lyndon Johnson is elected president.

March 8, 1965

The first American combat troops arrive in Vietnam.

January 20, 1966

Truman takes part in a ceremony at the Truman Library announcing the founding of the Harry S. Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace, to be constructed in Jerusalem.

July 4, 1966

Truman makes his last appearance as a speaker at the eighth annual July 4th celebration on the Truman Library grounds.

April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.

My American Experience

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