Former Commander-in-Chief Harry S. Truman was a very interesting and influential man in our history. He was raised in Independence, Missouri, near Kansas City. His parents were farmers. Farmers are really down-to-earth, pragmatic, and simple people. As a result, Truman ended up having all of those qualities stamped in him. His personality changed throughout the years of his life and it reflected exactly what was going on with him in his life at those times. He was always very simple about everything, just like any farmer would be.
In farming, unlike business, there are not complexities, either crops grow, or they don’t. In business, you go into all sorts of different problems with all sorts of different solutions to them and you can spend hours upon hours philosophizing them. Truman was always honest and candid. He always took full responsibility for his actions, good or bad. Those qualities, he adopted from his parents, and community in his youth. If there is one thing about farmers that is most bluntly apparent, it is that they are poor. Farmers work harder than most people and yet, still are poorer.
The Truman family was a very poor one. In fact, Truman was the poorest man to become President of the United States in the Twentieth Century. He was poor, and he did have a poor education with no college, but he also loved to read. He read anything you’d put in front of him. By the time he reached age 15 he had read every book in the Independence Library. His favorite thing to read about though, was history. He loved history. One thing that he discovered on his own was that history comes and goes in cycles. He was quoted for saying, “All readers aren’t leaders, but all leaders are readers.
In 1905, Truman began a career with the Army National Guard as a private in Field Artillery and he was honorably discharged in 1911. In 1915, he married “Bess. ” In his heart though, he wasn’t conformed. He wanted something else out of life. He didn’t want to just farm all his life. He got his break at the start of World War I. When the United States entered the first World War, he returned to the Missouri Guard. In those days, the people elected their leaders in volunteer units and he got elected to a Field Artillery first lieutenant. His unit was federalized and he arrived in France the next year.
Truman got promoted to Captain very soon and commanded a firing battery during the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. During that time, he boldly displayed a characteristic of his that was to follow him throughout the rest of his life. He always did what was right, not what was easy. “His battery acquired an enemy target in another division’s sector. Truman’s commander threatened him with court-martial if he fired on the enemy battery. Truman told him to go ahead and court martial because he wasn’t going to let that battery open up on American troops without his outfit taking action against it.
Truman’s battery neutralized the enemy guns nd there was no court martial. ” For his excellent work and leadership, he was promoted to Major and went back home. He learned a lot from his experiences at war. He learned that death in war, although inevitable, should be cut back. After getting back from the war Bess and he moved from Independence to Kansas City. Since he was a man that loved clothing and fashion, he opened his own Clothing Store for men in Downtown. He was not cut out to be businessman though because as a person, he was too nice. His store ended up becoming a World War I veteran gathering place.
People would go and ask him to lend them clothes or to give them clothes for free and they’ll pay him later and never pay and just like that his store went broke and he was left bankrupt in 1925. That same year, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Truman and Bess went back to work at the farms at Independence after failing in the Business world, but he got a chance at something else when he was approached by Democratic Party members from Kansas City. In 1926, Truman ran for County Commissioner and the people elected him. He though well always, not deep.
He was always simple yet made his point. He was the type of guy that says more in ten words than most people do in ten minutes. In the commission, he boldly established that he was not one that was to be bought or sold. Truman was a politician like the ones we don’t have today. He was a man of honor and integrity. While all of this is going on, he was still in the Army Reserves getting promoted to Colonel in June of 1932. When 1934 came around, a Senate seat was opened in Missouri and Truman ran for this seat campaigning in his own car. When he spoke, he was very brief, candid and honest.
With the elp of the influential political leader Pendergast, Truman won the election due to his appealing character because of his honesty and integrity, which he got from the farms. During his years in the Senate, he voted consistently in favor of FDR’s New Deal. He was always a hard worker. Since he was used to working hard, he would, without a problem do all the hard work that nobody else wanted to get done; he developed a reputation that whenever anyone wanted something done, Truman was the man to go to. In 1939 Truman asked to Chair a Committee on Defense Waste Spending.
He did this job in complete perfection. Instead of going into bases as a Senator or a Colonel, he would go in as a regular guy, look around, make conversations, then he would leave and record all his observations. The great job that he did save the American government over one billion dollars in defense waste. This job also got him a recommendation by FDR. Truman wanted to fight in World War II, but General Marshall told him he was “too damn old” and that he would do better in the Senate anyway.
This says something about a man. He was a hard worker and a fighter. 944 was the Presidential election year and FDR, in need of a Vice President, chose Truman. When he announced this, the public’s general reaction was “Harry who? ” That is kind of ironic that the majority of Americans hadn’t ever heard of this guy and he gets elected on FDR’s ticket and gets to be President within less that a years time. His presidency coming in though, was not cake. He had W. W. II in Europe and Japan to worry about, and then the Cold War. After the war in Europe was over, at the Potsdam Conference he Brings out the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine.
The Marshall Plan was basically a New Deal for Europe. The Truman Doctrine was basically support to Western Europe rom the United States. From his experiences at war, he learned that American casualties should be avoided and so when confronted with whether or not to use the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, he didn’t think it much. He just said, “Drop it. ” Nagasaki he didn’t have to do. He just did that one to show the Russians that we mean business. He created NATO, which was a military force to uphold the Truman Doctrine. Although the United Nations got created under Truman, it was FDR’s idea.
Another classical example of Truman doing what is right and not what is easy, was his esegregation of the armed forces in an election year, 1948. The desegregation caused a split in the Democratic party, but despite all that, Truman still won the elections. Under his second term, he pulled off the Berlin Airlift and had plenty of domestic problems to deal with at home. Truman created the GI Bill to put soldiers to school and then to work slowly so the economy wouldn’t collapse. He also wanted to keep wage and price controls, but the Republican Congress wouldn’t allow that and the outcome was that prices rocketed while the wages remained ow.
Truman was in really bad shape having an opposite party congress. He got over-ridden after he vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act. As soon as a president gets over-ridden, you can tell that he is in bad shape. His last really big challenge was the invasion of South Korea by the Russian sponsored North Korea, which he handled well. To sum up his second term in one word, it would be “frustrating. ” He didn’t get anywhere with civil rights, couldn’t get much federal aid for education and got turned down on his plans for a national health insurance system.
After his term was over, he decided to retire and lived in Independence until his death in 1972. He had served in the armed forces for almost 41 years when he retired in 1953. Truman was shaped in personality by his Farming lifestyle, and old-fashioned family values. He was straight in his morals, never too complex, and straightforward. As a conclusion, his experiences early in life shaped his personality and character. His character lead him to do all the things for which is known for today. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that a person’s early experiences build that person.