(VUS.11,13) Harry Truman - "The Buck Stops Here"

  • Truman Becomes President

    Truman Becomes President
    Truman becomes the President upon the death of FDR, he will make the final decisions regarding the ending of World War 2, and also make decisions that will set the stage for a Cold War with the Soviet Union which will last almost 50 years!
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    Harry Truman Administration

    Truman becomes the President upon the death of FDR, he will make the final decisions regarding the ending of World War 2, and also make decisions that will set the stage for a Cold War with the Soviet Union which will last almost 50 years!
  • Germany Surrenders! (VUS.11b)

    Germany Surrenders! (VUS.11b)
    Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin. The Allies had control of the city, and the Nazi Party had surrendered. World War 2 was not over yet, America could turn its military attention to finishing the job against Japan. Read about the Battle of Berlin which ended the war in Europe! MORE
  • Atomic Bomb Tested in New Mexico (VUS.11b)

    Atomic Bomb Tested in New Mexico (VUS.11b)
    Completion of the “Manhattan Project” – the almost $2 Billion secret program of building an atomic bomb – was finalized as one of the bombs was detonated in the desert. This new and powerful secret weapon would alter forever the world. Harry Truman would have a very important decision to make. MORE
  • US Drops Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima (VUS.11b)

    US Drops Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima (VUS.11b)
    Japan’s predisposition of never surrendering led Truman to realize that in order to save millions of American and Japanese lives, using the powerful atom bomb was the best chance of convincing Japan to end the war. The first atom bomb was dropped – and the world bore witness to the birth of the atomic age. Read MORE on the decision to drop the bomb.
  • US Drops Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki (VUS.11b)

    US Drops Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki (VUS.11b)
    Truman ordered the second bomb to be dropped on Japan, hoping to avoid the need for a conventional land invasion in which millions of people, American and Japanese, would certainly die.
  • Japan Surrenders! (VUS.11b)

    Japan Surrenders! (VUS.11b)
    Fearing total devastation, the Emperor of Japan ordered the unconditional surrender. After negotiations, the final document was signed on Sep 2, marking the formal end to World War 2. MORE
  • The United Nations meets for the first time (VUS.13a)

    The United Nations meets for the first time (VUS.13a)
    As part of postwar agreements, the creation of the United Nations (similar to the League of Nations) was designed to prevent future global conflicts. MORE
  • Winston Churchill announces the “Iron Curtain” (VUS.13b)

    Winston Churchill announces the “Iron Curtain” (VUS.13b)
    In a speech given in Missouri, the famed Prime Minister of Britain described the situation in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union had created satellite nations to serve as a buffer zone against the west. Puppet governments, run by the central government in Moscow, were established in those nations where the Red Army had occupied during World War 2. MORE
  • Jackie Robinsons plays his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger (VUS.14a)

    Jackie Robinsons plays his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger (VUS.14a)
    A big step in the Civil Rights Movement, this marks the beginning of integration of Major League Baseball. MORE
  • “MacArthur Constitution” in Japan goes into effect (VUS.13a)

    “MacArthur Constitution” in Japan goes into effect (VUS.13a)
    The United States military, under the direction of Douglass MacArthur, was responsible for helping rebuild and rehabilitate the economy of Japan. Japan’s new constitution would be based in democracy, but with a limited military. The US pledged to protect Japan, allowing for more of Japan’s economic resources to be focused on rebuilding industry. Japan has since been a close ally of the US. MORE
  • Truman Doctrine (VUS.13b)

    Truman Doctrine (VUS.13b)
    Truman signed an economic aid package to help stop the spread of communism in Greece and Turkey. This marks the beginning of American policies of containment! MORE
  • Truman Addresses the NAACP (VUS.14a)

    Truman Addresses the NAACP (VUS.14a)
    The first president to do so, Truman spoke to the NAACP about his goals for equality. The president would take a strong, pro civil rights stand.
  • Truman signs the Marshall Plan (VUS.13a)

    Truman signs the Marshall Plan (VUS.13a)
    An economic aid package to Europe, the goal of this program was to help the nations of Europe rebuild after WW2. An economically stable Europe was good for American business, and the billions of dollars spent would also work to stop the dangerous spread of communism. MORE
  • The Berlin Blockade (VUS.13a)

    The Berlin Blockade (VUS.13a)
    The Soviet Union ordered a blockade around Berlin, which was entirely inside East Germany. Trying to starve the westerners out, the Soviets were hoping the West Germans would leave – Cold War tensions rose. MORE
  • The Berlin Airlift Begins (VUS.13a)

    The Berlin Airlift Begins (VUS.13a)
    In response to the Berlin Blockade, Truman ordered flights over the blockade to drop supplies from airplanes to assist the West Berliners. A raging success, the airlift forced the Soviets to lift the blockade on May 12, 1949. MORE
  • Executive Order 9981 – Integration of the Armed Forces (VUS.14a)

    Executive Order 9981 – Integration of the Armed Forces (VUS.14a)
    This order ended segregation in the Armed Forces. Considered a victory for civil rights, Truman believed the color of the uniform was far more important than the color of skin. MORE
  • Truman (not Dewey) wins presidential election

    Truman (not Dewey) wins presidential election
    In perhaps the greatest election “upset” in history (Dewey was way ahead in the polls), Harry Truman was able to overcome even a party split, as Strom Thurmond ran as a third party – “the Dixiecrat”, or Southern Democrat. Truman winning popular votes from labor and African-Americans was able to win the election. MORE
  • Truman proposes the “Fair Deal”

    Truman proposes the “Fair Deal”
    Recommendations for national health care, equality through civil rights, increase in minimum wage, federal aid to education, and public housing. MORE
  • NATO is Formed (VUS.13b)

    NATO is Formed (VUS.13b)
    Twelve nations signed a defensive alliance pact and created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Designed to stop the spread of communism in Europe, NATO became an integral tool of containment. The Soviet Union would soon respond with a pact of their own, the “Warsaw Pact”. MORE
  • Partition of Germany is Official (VUS.13a)

    Partition of Germany is Official (VUS.13a)
    Germany was divided into East and West Germany. West Germany became democratic and resumed self-government after a few years of American, British and French occupation. East Germany remained under the domination of the Soviet Union and did not adopt democratic institutions. Tensions between East and West Germany were symbolic of the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • Soviet Union tests an Atomic Bomb (VUS.13b)

    Soviet Union tests an Atomic Bomb (VUS.13b)
    The arms race with the Soviet Union just got more intense! Using secrets bought from spies, the Soviet Union now matched America’s destructive force… MORE
  • Mao Zedong and Communist China (VUS.13b)

    Mao Zedong and Communist China (VUS.13b)
    After leading a successful civil war campaign, Mao Zedong replaced the “pro-American” government of Chiang Kai Shek with the People’s Republic of China – a communist government. This was a huge blow to America in the Cold War. Truman refused to formally recognize the PRC – instead continuing to recognize the old regime now confined to Taiwan. MORE
  • Alger Hiss Convicted of Perjury (VUS.13b)

    Alger Hiss Convicted of Perjury (VUS.13b)
    Accused of espionage and ties to the communists, Alger Hiss – a ranking member of the State Department – was convicted of lying under oath and sent to prison. Americans realized that Soviet Spies could be anywhere, and hysterical fear of spies began to grow. MORE
  • McCarthyism Begins (VUS.13b)

    McCarthyism Begins (VUS.13b)
    Senator Joe McCarthy declares that there are 205 communists working in the State Department - setting up a rapid rise to prominence as he made reckless accusations that individuals were communist based on little evidence. Considered a “witch hunt” – individual rights were trampled under America’s rising fear of domestic communism. MORE
  • North Korea invades South Korea (VUS.13b)

    North Korea invades South Korea (VUS.13b)
    Divided along the 38th parallel, the communist North Korea invaded hoping to unify the nation under communist rule – beginning the “Korean War”
  • Counter-attack in Korea (VUS.13b)

    Counter-attack in Korea (VUS.13b)
    American forces, working with the United Nations, pushed the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel – pressing towards the border with China. MORe
  • China enters the Korean War (VUS.13b)

    China enters the Korean War (VUS.13b)
    Backed by the Soviet arsenal, Communist China moved its forces into North Korea to attack the American and UN forces. Within months, the Chinese Army had pushed back to the 38th parallel, where stalemate fighting continued.
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sentenced to DEATH! (VUS.13b)

    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sentenced to DEATH! (VUS.13b)
    Convicted of selling atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, this husband/wife team of scientists fanned the flames of fear as Communists seemed to be everywhere, doing incredible damage. Americans seemed more fearful than ever of the potential communist threat. MORE
  • Oliver Hill makes arguments in Davis v. Prince Edward Co School Board (VUS.14a)

    Oliver Hill makes arguments in Davis v. Prince Edward Co School Board (VUS.14a)
    Oliver Hill – the NAACP legal defense team in Virginia – made arguments in this case that would later be joined with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas and argued before the Supreme Court.
  • “Duck and Cover”; guidelines for an attack (VUS.13b)

    “Duck and Cover”; guidelines for an attack (VUS.13b)
    The ever present danger of an atomic bomb attack by the Soviet Union, school aged children were indoctrinated into emergency response – duck and cover in case of attack. Americans were also encouraged to build personal bomb shelters in their basements for protection. MORE
  • Hydrogen BOOM! (VUS.13b)

    Hydrogen BOOM! (VUS.13b)
    The Unites States detonated the first hydrogen bomb – much more powerful than the previous atom bombs. This ups the stakes in the arms race with the Soviet Union.