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Harry S. Truman

The presidency of the United States’ thirty-third chief executive Harry S. Truman was indeed an eventful one as he had gained office after the death of Roosevelt in 1945, and started a tumultuous 8 year rule that is marked by the immense difficulty of the Second World War reconstruction and the onset of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. All in all, no presidency could have possibly experience as many roadblocks as there had been during Truman’s tenure, during which was plagued by domestic problems as well as dilemmas in terms of foreign policy.

The backlash of the World War placed great burdens and challenges in the shoulder of Truman, who survived two presidency terms. Although dubbed by some as one of the top Presidents in American history, Truman has had low ratings in popularity and approval polls, which lingered in the lower 20s towards his term end. Harry S. Truman has been responsible for legislation and policies, locally and internationally, that drastically changed how politics is practiced and defined the second half of the 20th century.

These are logically the product of the local and international reconstruction brought about by the political and economic implications of the world war, which ushered President Truman to redefine the powers of the executive branch and give a new character to the top administrative and political position as the nation’s Chief Executive. It was President Truman who made the very historically altering decision of bombing the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan in hope of bringing an end to the World War.

It was also Truman who made several tough decision in the domestic and international front, that has met both positive and negative responses, but nevertheless altered the face of local and international politics. Born 1884, Harry Truman was an American of humble beginnings, having grown up to be a farmer, and eventually serving in the army during the First World War. His political career took shot during the early 1920s when he was elected as judge of a county court, and gradually, rose through the ranks and became a Senator.

As a national legislator, he headed a war investigating committee at the time of the Second World War, which was one of the most influential committees during that time, and catapulted him into prominence. The year 1945 marked the period when Truman gained the Presidential seat and started his 8-year administration. Truman’s Presidency The onset of the Truman Presidency was met by a very great and dire challenge – the recovery of America from the immense economics, social, political, and emotional investment that it has gambled in the World War.

Though emerging as the victor, the United States has much to recover from, as it had incurred expenditures; the Truman period was the time of rebuilding. Strikes, rallies, and shortages were prevalent during the years after Truman assumed power. The administration’s Fair Deal program, which is essentially a social welfare program, only gained marginal success. In the domestic front, Harry Truman aimed for the integration of the US Armed Forces. Also, the President launched a series of campaigns to rid the bureaucracy of communist sympathizers, and launched loyalty checks to ensure continued allegiance from his government.

Also, the military experienced budget cuts during the time of Truman. In international relations, Truman has had several major contributions that changed the face of global relations and aided in the creation of new international orders. One such instance, and perhaps the most important and notable, is his support for the creation of the United Nations. On 1945, President Truman, as representative of the United States, signed the charter of the United Nations along with 44 other states.

Another instance of international intervention during Truman’s tenure was when the president sought the support of the Congress to aid the countries of Greece and Turkey from pressures from the Soviet. The Marshall Plan, a blueprint for the rebuilding of Europe which was devastated by the Second World War, was also and initiative of the late President. Large amounts of money was poured into the region in order to rehabilitate the countries struck by the war; this strategy was, as Truman argues, an effective deterrent to the spread of communism in Europe.

Apart from the Marshall Plan, the Korean War was another notable event in foreign policy during the time of Truman. His administration argued that military assistance must be provided to South Korea, lest there would be a continual spread of communism, which was the primary threat for the government back then. Implications on Executive Power The Presidency of Harry Truman has effectively heightened the role of the office, owing to policies of his that exceeded roles that had traditionally been the responsibility of the chief executive.

This is perhaps the necessary step that a leader, after a catastrophic even like a World War, must take, as there are inherited problems and continued threats that must be face. Domestically, Truman has managed to dominate even the Congress and was able to pass policies that are highly contested, using numerously the communist argument to make his point. Also, this was the period when the United States became more active than it has been previously in the international scene, as it emerges as a great power following the war victory.

In summary, the implication that these policies, both domestic and international, is the extension of the power of the President, who from the example of Truman, was able to encompass institutional limitations of the office and focus on issues that is not traditionally identified with the presidency. Also, the active campaigns of Truman, in many issues like anti-Communism and foreign policy, has led the executive branch to be more prominent in pushing for their demands and for specific national policies. Conclusions In conclusion, President Harry S. Truman has contributed immensely to the transformation of American and international politics.

Whether these policies has gained support, or whether these are sound decisions or the best options, are very contestable, but one thing is without argument, that the political landscape was dramatically changed during the regime of Truman. Presidential powers and the capacity of the executive branch grew more powerful than it was can had become a veto institution that directed the path of the country.


Books Bernstein, Barton, Ed. (1970). Politics and policies of the Truman administration, 2nd Edition. USA: Franklin Watts. Ferrell, Robert, Ed. (1980). Off the record: the private papers of Harry S. Truman. USA: Harper & Row.

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