33

Harry S Truman
33rd President of the United States
Harry S. Truman
1945- 1953



Vice President: none
                          Alben W. Barkley (1949-53)
Born: May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri
Died: December 26, 1972, in Kansas City, Missouri
Career/Occupation: Farmer, Public Official
Religion: Baptist
Education: Attended the University of Kansas City Law School
Political Party: Democratic
Nickname(s): "Give 'Em Hell Harry"
Secret Service Code Name:


Other Government Positions:

  • Judge on Jackson County Court, 1922-24 
  • Presiding Judge of Jackson County Court, 1926-34 
  • United States Senator, 1935-45 
  • Vice President, 1945 (under F.D. Roosevelt)



Presidential Salary: $75,000/year (increased to $100,000 + $50,000 expense account in 1949)

Presidential Firsts:

  • The first president born in Missouri.
  • The first president to be assigned a Secret Service codename. 
  • First president to visit Germany while in office, he visited Allied-occupied Germany in July–August 1945.
  • The first president to serve in World War I. Truman served as an officer of the American Expeditionary Forces and commanded Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery Regiment. He saw combat service in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was discharged from the Army in 1919, with the rank of major. He remained affiliated with the United States Army Reserve until 1953. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1925 and colonel in 1932.
  • The first president to have a television set installed in the White House.
  • The first president to have a nationally televised inauguration.  His second inauguration in 1949 was the first presidential inauguration televised.
    Millions of people watched the inauguration, broadcast as a single live program that aired on every network. Many schoolchildren watched from their classrooms.  Truman authorized a holiday for federal employees so that they could also watch.
  • The ceremony and Truman's speech were also broadcast abroad through the Voice of America, and translated into other languages including Russian and German.
    According to some calculations, the 1949 inauguration had more witnesses than all previous presidential inaugurations combined.
  • First president to leave office on January 20 (after the passage of the Twentieth amendment). He left office on January 20, 1953.
  • The first president and person to be issued a Medicare card.
    In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and gave the first two Medicare cards to Truman and his wife Bess Truman, to honor the former president's fight for government health care while in office.
  • First president to address a joint session of the Canadian Parliament.
  • The first president to have had a secretary of defense.
  • The first president to have had a White House chief of staff.
  • The first president who was a Democrat to ascend to the office upon the death of his predecessor.
  • First president to pardon a turkey.
    This presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey is a tradition subsequent presidents have practiced every year.
  • First president to address the nation on television.
  • First president to deliver an Oval Office address.
  • The first president who did not go to college who was neither a general nor a lawyer.

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