Harry S. Truman photo

Harry S Truman Event Timeline

April 12, 1945

  Harry S. Truman (33) Event Timeline
04/12/1945 – 01/20/1953


Election Day. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Vice Presidential candidate Harry Truman win 53.4% of the popular vote and 81.4% of the electoral vote, defeating Republican nominees Thomas Dewey and John W. Bricker.




President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage less than three months into his fourth term. Vice President Harry Truman becomes President. Shortly thereafter he learns for the first time about the Manhattan project and the atomic bomb.


Announces the death of President Roosevelt.


Makes first address as President to a joint session of Congress. “With great humility I call upon all Americans to help me keep our nation united in defense of those ideals which have been so eloquently proclaimed by Franklin Roosevelt.”


Delivers address in San Francisco at the first United Nations Conference. “If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace . . . We must build a new world—a far better world—one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected.” Representatives of 50 countries had convened to draft the UN Charter.


Benito Mussolini is executed by Italian partisans who capture him attempting to escape into Switzerland.


American forces liberate the Dachau concentration camp.


Adolf Hitler commits suicide at his bunker under the Reich Chancellery.


Message to Allied Commanders on the Surrender of German Forces in Italy.


News Conference. [21.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to comment on the death of Adolf Hitler reported, or Mussolini?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, the two principal war criminals will not have to come to trial; and I am very happy they are out of the way.
Q. Well, does that mean, sir, that we know officially that Hitler is dead?
Q. Do we know how he died, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. No, we do not.


Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies, bringing an end to Nazi Germany and ending World War II in Europe.


Calls for the unconditional surrender of Japan in order to officially bring World War II to a close.


Broadcast to the American People Announcing the Surrender of Germany.


First meeting of the “Interim Committee” formed by Secretary of State Henry Stimson to advise the President about the use of nuclear energy and weapons.


The Interim Committee recommends keeping the A-bomb secret until it has been used on Japan; and that the attack should take place as soon as possible.


Address before the Senate urging ratification of the United Nations Charter. The Senate ratified on 07/28/1945 and it entered into force on 10/24/1945.


Releases a joint report by Allied leaders on the Potsdam Conference. The conference is in Potsdam, Germany, which borders the city of Berlin, from 07/17/1945 to 08/02/1945. The last of the Big Three meetings during World War II, the Conference is attended by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union; on the agenda is partitioning of the postwar world and resolving the problems of the war in East Asia.


Joint Proclamation from Potsdam conferees urging Japanese surrender [“The Potsdam Declaration”]. “The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole Germany people.”


Western newspapers report prominently that the Japanese government has officially rejected the ultimatum in the Potsdam declaration.


Announces the use of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan.


Delivers radio report to the American people following the Potsdam Conference. Truman explains the Allies’ objective to obtain war reparations from Germany, emphasizes the need to support European nations in their rebuilding efforts, and demands surrender by Japan. “. . .the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. . . . We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war. . . ”


Second atomic bomb is detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.


Japan officially surrenders.


Address to the American People After the Signing of the Terms of Unconditional Surrender by Japan. “Victory always has its burdens and its responsibilities as well as its rejoicing.”


In a Special Message, presents a 21-point plan for the reconversion of the United States.


Delivers statement following Korea’s liberation from Japanese occupation and colonial rule; the United States commits itself to ensuring its independence.


Establishes a week dedicated to employing those with physical disabilities.


Special Message to the Congress on Atomic Energy. Requests the creation of an Atomic Energy Commission to oversee the development of atomic power for appropriate purposes..


Address to Joint Session of Congress on Universal Military Training. Argues for universal military training—a draft—although he does not used that word. “The backbone of our military force should be the trained citizen who is first and foremost a civilian, and who becomes a soldier or a sailor only in time of danger--and only when Congress considers it necessary.” See below 06/24/1948 Selective Service Act.


The United Nations officially comes into existence after the Charter is ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories.


Releases a letter to British Prime Minister Attlee, dated August 31, 1945. Discusses the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (see below, 4/20/1946) and the recommendation to admit 100,000 refugees to Palestine.


The International Military Tribunal begins the trial of Nazi leaders accused of war crimes—the Nuremberg Trials. Justice Robert Jackson took leave from the U.S. Supreme Court to serve as chief American prosecutor at the war crimes trial. Jackson made a much-cited opening statement on 11/21/1945.


News Conference following the signing of a Joint Declaration on Atomic Energy with Great Britain and Canada.




Releases statement following a White House meeting to avert a United States Steel Corporation strike.


First Annual State of the Union Message.


Issues executive order that considers the creation of a Jewish state.


Signs the Employment Act of 1946, which charges the federal government with maintaining low unemployment and price stability.


George Kennan, a US diplomat stationed in Moscow, sends a lengthy analysis of Soviet thinking and strategy that becomes known as “The Long Telegram.” Widely considered to be the origins of the policy of “containment.” “Gauged against Western World as a whole, Soviets are still by far the weaker force. Thus, their success will really depend on the degree of cohesion, firmness and vigor which Western World can muster.”


Churchill “Sinews of Peace” Speech, better known as his “Iron Curtain Speech.” He was introduced by President Truman.


Release of the Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry established to examine conditions in Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration and settlement therein. Among the recommendation that 100,000 victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution be immediately admitted to Palestine.


Statement on receiving the Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. “One of the significant features in the report is that it aims to insure complete protection to the Arab population of Palestine by guaranteeing their civil and religious rights. . . “


Calls upon the U.S. Army to take over the railroads after failing to reach a compromise in the railroad strike. Subsequent laws passed to end the strike significantly decrease the power of labor.


Addresses a Joint Session of Congress on the topic of the recently started railroad strike. “. . . unless the railroads are manned by returning strikers, I shall immediately undertake to run them by the Army of the United States.”


In Morgan v. Virginia the Supreme Court holds that segregating riders by race on interstate busses violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. This case is important in the desegregation movement of the 1960s.


Officially recognizes the Philippines as a separate and self-governing nation.


Zionists bomb the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 and injuring 45. British forces deny receiving advance warning.


Releases statement concerning U.S. membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


Signs the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (60 Stat 755) providing for the development and control of atomic energy and authorizing the Atomic Energy Commission.


The White House releases statement that advocates a peaceful compromise between the British government and Palestine on the creation of Israel and urges nations to admit displaced persons as permanent residents.


Commerce Secretary Henry Wallace makes a speech in New York that is critical of US foreign policy especially toward the Soviet Union. Truman appeared to have approved of the language in a News Conference that same day.


Truman publicly requests Wallace’s resignation. “No member of the Executive branch of the Government will make any public statement as to foreign policy which is in conflict with our established policy.”


The Palestine Conference in London ends before a solution can be found. Truman states that the immigration of 100,000 Jewish refugees into an area of Palestine must begin immediately and cannot wait until after a resolution is established.


In the midterm elections, Republicans gain heavily in both Houses, winning majorities in House and Senate for the first time since 1930.


Sends letter to Francis Biddle, the primary American judge during the postwar Nuremberg trials. The trials last from 11/20/1945 to 10/01/1946, and are held by the Allied forces for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice.


Announces an official end to the hostilities of World War II.




Second Annual State of the Union Message.


Extends the Second War Powers Act to maintain allocation controls over certain industries despite attempts to shift from a wartime economy to a peacetime one.

02/05/1947 In a Letter to the Speaker and President of the Senate, recommends (as he had in 1945) that the presidential order of succession be changed to go to an elected official before going to a cabinet officer. This recommendation becomes law in July 1947.


Recommends the direct aid of $350 million to bring relief to liberated countries.


Delivers “Truman Doctrine” speech to Congress, in which he requests a $400 million appropriation to combat the spread of communism in Greece and Turkey. Criticism abounds from the left and right, but support is mobilized from moderates in both parties.


The United States joins the World Health Organization (WHO).


Issues executive order establishing the Federal Employee Loyalty Program as an attempt to root out communist influences in the federal government.

03/21/1947 Congress approves the text of the 22nd Amendment and sends it to the States for ratification within seven years. (Link to pdf of 61 Stat 959)


Issues executive order appointing American lawyer Charles F. Wennerstrum to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) to punish war criminals in Germany.


Jackie Robinson integrates Major League Baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The President attended 16 baseball games during his presidency, all in Washington, none involving the Dodgers. His Public Papers include only nine references to baseball, mostly while campaigning.


Officially signs act implementing the Truman Doctrine, (61 Stat 103) beginning the administration of aid to Turkey and Greece.


Secretary of State George C. Marshall gives a short commencement address at Harvard University in which he suggests that the US “proceed much further” to alleviate the situation in Europe and asks for the European nations to draft a program that the US can support. A retrospective from 2017 said that at the time the speech was “short [and] unadorned” and seemed unremarkable to most listeners.


Addressing a reunion of the 35th Army Division (in which Truman served in World War I), states that US citizens have an obligation “to lead the peoples of the earth toward the goal of lasting peace.”


Vetoes the Taft-Hartley Act, which restricts power of unions, on the grounds that it would lead to more government intervention in labor. “Its provision would cause more strikes, not fewer. It would contribute neither to industrial peace nor to economic stability and progress. It would be a dangerous stride in the direction of a totally managed economy.”


Letter to Senator Barkley on the Attempt to Override the Taft-Hartley Veto. “I commend you and your associates who have fought so earnestly against this dangerous legislation. On 06/23/1947 the veto was overridden (see 61 Stat 162) and became law (61 Stat 136).


Becomes the first president to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “We must strive to advance civil rights wherever it lies within our power.”


Conference of European Economic Cooperation meets in Paris; a response to Marshall’s proposal in his speech of 06/07/1947.


A aged ship, rechristened the “European Exodus” with about 4500 Jewish refugees attempting to enter Palestine without authorization, is intercepted by British warships as it approaches Palestine. The refugees are forcefully returned to Europe, an action that generates great sympathy for the refugees and the cause of Israel.

07/18/1947 Signs the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (61 Stat 380).


The National Security Act is passed, creating several agencies involving defense. This includes the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and the National Security Resources Board.


Publication of Conference Report of the Committee of European Economic Cooperation. This is the substantive basis for the Marshall plan. [link to pdf of report]


Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in a Bell X-1 experimental plane.


Addresses a Joint Session of Congress on the First Day of a Special Session. He urges emergency financial aid for European countries followed by the enactment of a long-range European Recovery Program. Also urges legislation addressed to inflation including regulating commodities speculation, reinstatement credit controls, and extension of other control programs.


Signs Emergency Aid for Europe (Foreign Aid Act of 1947) (61 Stat 934)


Special Message to Congress on the Marshall Plan. Urges legislation so that the program may become effective by April 1, 1948.


Signs supplemental appropriations bill implementing aid (61 Stat 941)


Signs resolution concerning control of inflation (S.J.R. 167) (61 Stat 945), but expresses disappointment that it addresses only 3 of the 10 priorities he had addressed on 11/17/1947.




Third Annual State of the Union Message.


Assassination of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.


Delivers message to Congress recommending civil rights legislation. “[w]e must protect our civil rights so that by providing all our people with the maximum enjoyment of personal freedom and personal opportunity we shall be a stronger nation—stronger in our leadership, stronger in our moral position, stronger in the deeper satisfactions of a united citizenry.”


Communist coup displaces parliamentary Democracy (led by President Eduard Benes) in Czechoslovakia, putting into power Premier Klement Gottwald.


The Governments of the USA, United Kingdom, and France jointly issue a declaration condemning the coup in Czechoslovakia as “disastrous for the Czechoslovak people.”


Special Message to Congress on the Threat to the Freedom of Europe (a speech to a Joint Session). Emphasizes the “growing menace” of the Soviet Union in undermining efforts to build stable democracies in Europe. Urges Congress to take action to support free and democratic nations of Europe.


In St. Patrick’s Day Address in New York City, criticizes “one nation” for obstructive use of the veto at the UN, trying to undercut the participation of many countries in the Marshall Plan, and placing foreign agents to fight in Greece.


Founding of the Organization of American States. The Charter is forwarded to the Senate for ratification on 01/13/1949.


Signs the Foreign Assistance Act [implementing the Marshall Plan]—officially called the European Recovery Program—to provide aid to Western Europe following World War II. (62 Stat 137) The act creates a number of new administrative positions.


Address to Joint Session of Congress on the 50th Anniversary of Cuban Independence. Celebrates the passage of a congressional Joint Resolution 50 years before supporting a free and independent Cuba.


States Rights Democrats,” meet in Jackson, MS and vote to hold their own convention on 07/17/1948 if the Democrats renominate Truman or fail to repudiate his civil rights program.


The United States officially recognizes the State of Israel after years of deliberation with Palestine. New state had been declared on this same day by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.


Selective Service Act of 1948 (64 Stat 604) establishes a permanent peacetime draft.


The Soviet Union blockades West Berlin and Truman decides not to concede the city. Tensions are high between the United States and the Soviet Union.


Thomas Dewey, former Governor of New York, accepts the Republican Party nomination for President. “The unity seek is more than material. It is more than a matter of things and measures. It is most of all spiritual. Our problem is not outside of ourselves. Our problem is within ourselves.”


Orders the airlifting of supplies into West Berlin. In a News Conference on 07/01/1948 mentions a statement by Secretary of State Marshall on 06/30/1948 that the US “intends to stay” in Berlin.


Accepts nomination for President of the Democratic National Convention meeting in Philadelphia. “I am going to call Congress back and ask them to pass laws to halt rising prices, to meet the housing crisis—which they say they are for in their platform.” The Democratic platform stated that the Party “commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination.”


The States Rights Democrats (with delegates from 13 southern states) unanimously select Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina as their nominee for President. Their platform stated that “[w]e stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race. . .”


Signs Executive Order desegregating the Armed Forces.


Calls a special session of Congress to urge action on inflation and the rising cost of living as well as to advocate legislation to ameliorate the national housing shortage. Truman expresses frustration at the Republican Congress for refusing to come to the aid of the people. Advocates increase in minimum wage to at least 75 cents per hour. Urges replacing the Taft-Hartley law.

09/06/1948 – 10/30/1948

Campaigns vigorously, repeatedly blasting the “do-nothing Congress.”


Election Day. Truman wins 49.5% of the popular vote and 57.1% of the electoral vote, solidly defeating New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey despite the fact that Thurmond won four, traditionally Democratic, southern states.


Alger Hiss, a former State Department official, is indicted for perjury in connection to accusation of passing secrets to the communists. (The President is asked about this in a News Conference on 12/16/1948). Hiss is convicted on 01/21/1950 and sentenced to five years in prison (see also News Conference of 01/27/1950).




Fourth Annual State of the Union Message. States that “every segment of our population and every individual has a right to expect from our Government a fair deal,” thus heralding a list of domestic demands that become known as the “Fair Deal.”


Signs the North Atlantic Treaty, which creates trade agreements between 12 countries in Europe and North America (NATO). This aligns with the United Nations Charter, which discusses the need for worldwide goodwill and economic openness.


Transmits the North Atlantic Treaty to the Senate.


Transmits charter to Congress for the International Trade Organization. This is another key trade agreement for international reconstruction and rebuilding.


The Soviet Union ends its blockade of West Berlin in the face of a successful Allied airlift. The President expresses his satisfaction in a News Conference on 05/12/1949.


Signs the Housing Act of 1949, which creates a national housing agency and low-cost housing projects. This is a significant victory for Truman and liberals in Congress.


Confirms immigration quotas revised pursuant to the Immigration Act of 1924.


“China White Paper”—over 1000 pages long—is published. It included the conclusion that only Chinese people could determine the outcome of their civil war. White paper is referenced in a News Conference on 08/11/1949. The full White Paper is available at this link on the internet.


Discusses the State Department’s report on China documenting the United States’ failure to prevent the spread of communism.

09/05/1949 Labor Day Address at Allegheny County Free Fair.  "The people know that the second half of the 20th century is going to be a time of challenge to the way of freedom and progress that our democracy represents.  As we meet that challenge, we shall have to fight, as we have always fought, the selfish forces of reaction and selfish privilege."
09/05/1949 Labor Day Address in Des Moines at the Convention of the American Veterans.  Broadcast nationally on radio.  Advocates strong farm price support system. "We must not be led astray by the false arguments and the loud clamor of the special  interests."


Announces "an atomic explosion occurred" in the Soviet Union "in recent weeks." While not explicitly saying that the USSR has the bomb, the clear implication is that the United States no longer has a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Later it becomes clear that the exposion had been on 08/29/1949.


Creation of the People’s Republic of China is declared by Mao Zedong leader of the Chinese Communist Party.


Signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, which will allow for the supply of military aid to Europe; this is the first aid legislation of the Cold War.


Statement upon signing the Fair Labor Standards Amendments. (63 Stat 910) Includes raising the minimum wage to 75 cents an hour.

11/08/1949 In a special New York State election, Democrat Herbert Lehman wins the Senate seat occupied by John Foster Dulles who had been appointed to a vacant seat by Governor Thomas Dewey. Dulles would later serve as Secretary of State under Eisenhower.




Fifth Annual State of the Union Message. The "duty of government" is to act on "the conviction that all men are created equal, that they are equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  This includes "conservation and development of our natural resources," promoting progress of science and increasing knowledge, promoting "the economic security, health, and education" of citizens. These require guaranteeing civil rights to all citizens, welcoming refugees, meeting international commitments, establishing a system of medical insurance, and strengthening our educational system. 


The minimum wage is raised from 40 cents to 75 cents under the Fair Labor Standards Act (signed 10/26/1949), and legislation is passed to protect young children from dangerous industrial work.


Announces that the United States will start development of the hydrogen bomb.


In a “Lincoln Day” speech at Wheeling West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) asserts that he has the names of 57 Communists (“enemies within”) working in the State Department. He calls on the President to provide Congress a full accounting. This is the launch of a period known as the “Red Scare.” The Department of State rejects McCarthy’s assertions in a press release of 02/13/1950.


Signing of Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assurance. In a News Conference on 02/16/1950 the President referred reporters to a statement by Secretary of State Dean Acheson on 02/15/1950.


National Security Council Paper NSC-68, “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” stresses the “hostile design” of the Soviet Union; urges US military buildup in response.


Signs the Foreign Economic Assistance Act, which authorizes five economic aid programs for the purpose of promoting peace and recovery.


Statement on the Violation of the 38th Parallel in Korea. “Willful disregard of the obligation to keep the peace cannot be tolerated by nations that support the United Nations Charter.”


Statement on communist North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, which occurred on 06/25/1950: “The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war.” Orders the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa.


Orders U.S. military action in Korea. Truman authorizes Air Force action and a naval blockade. Justifies the action as responding to a United Nations Security Council request for support to Republic of Korea forces.


Special Message to the Congress Reporting on the Situation in Korea. The US acts pursuant to UN request and designation of MacArthur as commander is also at UN request. MacArthur is authorized to use United States Army troops in Korea. More troops will be needed and will be drafted. Appropriations are needed.


Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Situation in Korea.


The Social Security Act is amended, doubling insurance benefits and providing an additional 10 million people with insurance.


Address to the American People Following Signing of the Defense Production Act. Discusses the need to build the strength needed to deter Communist aggression. Broadcast nationally on radio and television.


Veto of Bill Amending the Nationality Act of 1940. Objects to provisions that is intended to exclude persons who covertly seek to overthrow the US Government on grounds that the language is too vague. Veto is sustained.


Marines and Navy led by General MacArthur land at Inchon, Korea, achieving a major victory in the Korean War.


Vetoes the Internal Security Bill, (“An Act to protect the United States Against certain un-American and subversive activities by requiring registration of Communist organizations and for other purposes”) stating that it would help communist efforts by wasting federal time and creating dissension. Congress overrides his veto the following day (64 Stat 987).


Signs Revenue Act of 1950 (64 Stat 906). Due to the Korean War, what had begun as legislation focused on reducing excise taxes emerged as legislation raising both individual and corporate income taxes.


Meets with Army General Douglas MacArthur on Wake Island to discuss the situation in Korea. MacArthur assures Truman the Chinese will not intervene. However, Chinese “volunteers” had entered North Korea, crossing the Yalu River on 10/14/1950.


UN forces in Korea begin the use of incendiary bombs against cities and villages in North Korea. “When the fighting stopped in the summer of 1953, the entire Korean Peninsula lay in utter ruin.”


In the midterm elections, Democrats lost seats in both the House and Senate, but narrowly held majorities in both Houses.


In a News Conference begins with a statement addressing the Chinese attack in North Korea. “We shall continue to work in the United Nations for concerted action to halt this aggression in Korea. . . .We shall rapidly increase our own military strength.”


Declares a state of national emergency in the fight against communism. Imposes wage and price controls.




Sixth Annual State of the Union Message.


Recommends a “pay as we go” approach to the national deficit and advocates for raised taxes in order to finance the federal government and avoid an accumulation of debt.

02/27/1951 Minnesota ratifies the 22nd Amendment. It is the 36th state to ratify, pushing the Amendment over the 2/3 constitutional requirement. The Amendment imposes a two-term limit on anyone serving more than 1.5 terms as President.


Officially relieves General MacArthur of this duties in Korea, stating that the General is unable to follow policy.

07/12/1951 Signs Agricultural Act Amendments (65 Stat 119) to regulate the employment of agricultural workers from Mexico.
07/13/1951 Message to Congress on the employment of Agricultural Workers from Mexico; explains that this is a "first step" toward a needed "comprehensive program." Both the US and Mexico are "concerned about violations of the contract terms under which Mexican citizens are employed in this country."
08/11/1951 The US and Mexico reach an agreement pursuant to the US legislation of 07/12/1951 and the subsequent message to Congress.  This agreement is followed by an interim appropriation to fund related activities of the Department of Labor.


ANZUS [Australia, New Zealand and the United States] sign Security Treaty in San Francisco. (Enters into force on 04/29/1952.)


Address at the Opening of the Conference on the Japanese Peace Treaty. “I would also like to pay tribute to the impressive effort put forward by the people of Japan in this period. They have fully complied with the surrender terms. They have cooperated fully in carrying out the purposes of the occupation.”


Treaty of San Francisco (“Treaty of Peace with Japan”) officially ends the state of war between Japan and 47 of the Allies, concludes American Occupation and ends Japanese reparations. Allows the US to station troops in Japan.


United States-Japan Security Treaty (different document from “Treaty of San Francisco”) signed in San Francisco. Allows the US to station troops in Japan, emphasized centrality of Japan in containment of communist countries.


Greece and Turkey are admitted to membership in NATO in meetings at Ottawa, Canada. (This is noted in a News Conference on 09/20/1951.)


Signs the Mutual Security Act, which authorizes $7 billion for economic, military, and technical foreign aid.


Signs bill amending the Taft Hartley Act (65 Stat 601). Praises the reforms as positive but not yet addressing the act’s “basic hostility to collective bargaining.”


Signs a memorandum of disapproval (pocket veto) for a bill that requires segregation in certain schools on Federal property.


Announces efforts to quell the United Steelworkers of America strike and refers the dispute to the Wage Stabilization Board; Truman states that the strike “gravely threatens the progress of national defense.”




Seventh Annual State of the Union Message.


Address at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. Offers lengthy critique of the Republican Party, and announces that “I shall not be a candidate for reelection. I have served my country long, and I think efficiently and honestly. I shall not accept a renomination.”


In a risky move, issues executive order directing the Secretary of Commerce to seize control of steel mills in order to prevent a strike that would constitute a national emergency. This largely expands the power of the executive branch to end strikes.


Address to the American People on the Need for Government Operation of the Steel Mills. Broadcast from the White House on radio and television.


The United States signs an official peace treaty with Japan.


Transmits Puerto Rico’s newly-adopted constitution to Congress for ratification, which ultimately occurs on 07/25/1952.


Issues executive order authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to take possession of and operate coal mines, stating that coal industry disruptions affect the ability of the country to defend itself in wartime.


Opposes a Korean War settlement that would force prisoners of war to be returned to China or North Korea against their will.

05/29/1952 Vetoes "Tidelands Act," arguing that this unnecessarily gives lands to coastal states far beyond simply restoring the situation prior to the 1947 Supreme Court decision in US. vs California (06-23-1947)


In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer, by a 6-3 decision considered a landmark, the Supreme Court rules that the president lacked the constitutional authority to operate the steel mills that he had asserted on 04/08/1952.


In an address to a Joint Session of Congress, asks legislation to help end the steel strike given the ruling of the Supreme Court on 06/02/1952. He called the Taft-Hartley Act approach “unwise, unfair, and quite possibly ineffective.” The Senate voted to recommend that he invoke Taft-Hartley. The strike is ultimately resolved in July.


Congress passes the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act, which terminates the Asian immigration ban in favor of a quota and removes racial bars to naturalization. It also expands federal power to deport non-citizens believed to have communist leanings. Truman vetoes the bill, stating that the quota system is not an accurate reflection of American ideals and inadequate for the present world situation; the bill, he contends, would largely retain the prejudice that exists in the immigration system and render it more difficult for many to come to America. Congress overrides his veto on 06/27/1952 (66 Stat 163).


Marshall Plan aid officially comes to an end, save for a few exceptions.


Dwight Eisenhower accepts the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States.


Addresses the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.


Adlai Stevenson accepts the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.


The United States bombs Pyongyang, North Korea in the largest of many ongoing air assaults of the Korean War. Total fatalities in the entire bombing campaign were estimated to be around 1 million. The Air Force estimated that Pyongyang was 75% destroyed.


Issues a statement on the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces from Korea. United States retreats with significant losses but stalemate still on the ground. He defends the withdrawal as reflecting the consensus of military leaders.


First hydrogen bomb is tested in the Marshall Islands.


Election Day. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower defeats Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson with 54.9% of the popular vote and 83.2% of the electoral vote.




Farewell Address to the Nation.



Last updated 07/23/2023

Harry S Truman, Harry S Truman Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354064

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives