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Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 - December 26, 1972) was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953). As the thirty-fourth vice president, he succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died less than three months after he began his fourth term.
In 1945, Truman was responsible for the atomic bombing of Japan that killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki. Afterwards he wrote: "I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war... I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again.".
One of America's foremost historians, David McCollough, in his biography of Truman noted that the president constantly used the words "nigger" and "kike" in private. Truman even wrote home that New York City was "kiketown" when visiting there.
On February 9, 1909 Truman became a Freemason in Missouri.
During World War I Truman served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator.
In September 1940, during the general election campaign, Truman was elected Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge of Freemasonry. In November of that year, he defeated Kansas City State Senator Manvel H. Davis by over 40,000 votes and retained his Senate seat. Truman said later that the Masonic election assured his victory in the general election over State Senator Davis.
On June 23, 1941, the day after Germany declared war to the Soviet Union, Senator Truman declared: "If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."
As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto.
In August 1945, Truman ordered two nuclear bombings of Japan. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, with roughly half of those deaths occuring on the days of the bombings. Truman himself wrote later in life that, "I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war... I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again."
He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, largely due to his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to launch a system of loyalty checks to remove thousands of communist sympathizers from government office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the creation of NATO, and the Korean War. Corruption in Truman's administration reached the cabinet and senior White House staff. Republicans made corruption a central issue in the 1952 campaign.