Tuesday, April 09, 2013

H is for Harry S Truman, Haberdasher

President Harry S Truman
Many people didn't expect much from Harry S Truman, including President Roosevelt, who kept him out of the loop on critical national issues such as the Manhattan Project. Briefly a haberdasher, he entered Missouri politics and was generally thought to be a nobody who became vice president--a position one of his predecessors said wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit. But David McCullough's great biography, Truman, makes clear that he was a man of more substance. He was a brave and skilled Army officer in World War I, putting the safety of his men above everything else. He was an inveterate letter writer and a faithful husband and father. The military was racially integrated under his watch, and for better or worse authorized the use of atomic bombs on Japan. I was a young boy while he was President and was horrified when he fired my hero, General Douglas MacArthur.

Good old HST was a crusty fellow who surely didn't give a damn who liked him and who didn't. We may never see his like in politics again.

Incidentally, the S was not an abbreviation but his middle name. So he was Harry S Truman, not Harry S. Truman, Internet sources notwithstanding.

1 comment:

Melanie Schulz said...

I'm going to have to tell that fact about the middle name to my husband tonight. He'll be so impressed.