1. Harry S. Truman
  2. Educational Resources
  3. Student Resources
  4. Presidential Years: (1945 - 1949)

Presidential Years: (1945 - 1949)

Chronology Harry S. Truman's Life and Presidency

Presidential -- First Term, 1945-49


12 April: Sworn in as thirty-third president of the United States upon the death of President Roosevelt.

25 April: Delivered radio address from Washington, DC, opening U.N. conference being held in San Francisco to create the charter for a new, permanent world organization.

8 May: Announced the end of the war in Europe over radio at 9 am (V-E Day).

11 May: Visited at the White House by mother Martha Ellen and sister Mary Jane.

19 June: Flew to Washington State, becoming the first president in office to use air travel within the country.

26 June: Delivered address at the closing session of the U.N. Charter Conference in San Francisco.

6 July: Departs Washington for the Potsdam Conference.

17 July-2 August: Attended conference at Potsdam, Germany to discuss post-war treatment of Germany with Premier Joseph Stalin of Russia and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, latter being replaced by Prime Minister Clement Attlee on 29 July.

6 August: Announced dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan by a B-29 bomber of the U.S. Army Air Force. (Second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on 9 August.)

14 August: Announced end of war with Japan at press conference held at 7 pm. (V-J Day).

6 September: Presented twenty-one-point legislative program to Congress for the reconversion period as a continuation and expansion of Roosevelt's New Deal, contrary to popular expectations that the policies of the new president would be more conservative than that of his predecessor.

23 October: Delivered message to Congress calling for enactment of a peace-time universal military training program.

15 November: Issued joint statement in Washington with Prime Ministers Clement Attlee of Great Britain and Mackenzie King of Canada calling for a U.N. Atomic Energy Commission.

19 November: Proposes new national health care program before Congress.


17 January: Proposed that the dispute between U.S. Steel and the United Steel Workers union be settled by an 18.2 cents per hour wage increase. A walkout was not prevented, but it and most major strikes in 1946 were settled on the basis of an 18.2 cent increase.

15 February: Accepted resignation of Harold L. Ickes as secretary of the interior. Ickes, who left the cabinet in protest against proposed appointment of Edwin W. Pauley as under secretary of the navy, was replaced by Julius Krug on 18 March.

20 February: Signed Employment Act of 1946 which established Council of Economic Advisers.

21 February: Reestablished Office of Economic Stabilization under Chester Bowles in an attempt to control mounting prices.

24 May: Announced he would end strike of railroad trainmen and engineer brotherhoods, which had started the day before, by the following day. On 25 May the strike ended with the unions accepting the president's recommendations.

29 May: Attended graduation exercises of his daughter Margaret at George Washington University, on which occasion he received the degree of LL.D.

15 July: Signed bill authorizing loan of $3.75 billion to Great Britain.

25 July: Signed new price control act reviving the Office of Price Administration which had gone out of existence on 29 June when the president vetoed a compromise price control measure.

20 September: Requested the resignation of Secretary of Commerce Henry A. Wallace as a result of a speech delivered by Wallace on 12 September criticizing Secretary of State James F. Byrnes and U.S. policy toward Russia. Wallace was replaced by W. Averell Harriman.

15 October: Ended price controls on meat.

5 November: Received political setback when, in midterm congressional elections, Republican majorities were returned to the Senate and House of Representatives.

9 November: Signed executive order ending all wage and price controls except on rents, sugar, and rice. As a result prices rose sharply.

21 November: Ordered contempt proceedings against John L. Lewis when mine leader, defying a government injunction, called members of the United Mine Workers union out on strike. On 5 December Lewis sent the miners back to work after a federal district court had fined him $10 thousand and the union $3.5 million.

31 December: Signed proclamation declaring end of hostilities for World War II.


7 January: Accepted resignation of Byrnes as secretary of state.

21 January: Sworn in as new secretary of state was General George C. Marshall, World War II chief of staff of the U.S. Army.

22 January: Asked former President Herbert Hoover to undertake mission to study critical food problems in Central Europe and make recommendations for its solution.

3 March: Arrived in Mexico on a state visit. Reaffirmed his predecessor's Good Neighbor Policy.

12 March: Requested appropriation for $400 million before a joint session of Congress to fight the spread of communism in Greece and Turkey (Truman Doctrine). The doctrine received the backing of most of the Republican members of Congress in accordance with the bipartisan foreign policy which was in effect during most of the Truman administration.

21 March: Ordered loyalty investigation of all federal government employees.

22 May: Approved bill providing $400 million in assistance to Greece and Turkey.

11 June: Addressed Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, outlining U.S. foreign policy.

14 June: Signed peace treaty ratifications with Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

16 June: Vetoed $4 billion income tax reduction bill as being unfair to small taxpayer.

20 June: Vetoed Taft-Hartley Bill (Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947) on grounds that it was discriminatory against labor. Bill passed by Congress over the veto on 23 June.

26 July: Signed National Security Act of 1947 unifying the armed forces in one department, a measure long advocated by him. Appointed James V. Forrestal as first secretary of the unified National Military Established (later realigned as Department of Defense). Act also established the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council.

28 July: Attended funeral of mother in Grandview, Missouri.

2 September: Addressed final session of Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Continental Peace and Security. Treaty of Rio de Janeiro signed.


2 February: Sent message to Congress asking for civil rights legislation to secure the rights of the country's minority groups.

1 April: Vetoed income tax reduction act. Bill passed by Congress over the president's veto the following day.

3 April: Signed Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 creating European Recovery Program (ERP) to implement the Marshall Plan for U.S. aid to European recovery. Economic Cooperation Administration established to administer program.

10 May: Ordered government operation of the railroads by the army to forestall nationwide railroad strike.

14 May: Recognized new state of Israel.

3 June: Began "non-political" speaking tour by train to West Coast.

25 June: Signed Displaced Persons Act authorizing admission into the United States of 205,000 European displaced persons in the following two years.

26 June: Ordered Berlin airlift, in conjunction with the British, in answer to Russian blockade of the portion of that city occupied by the Western powers. Blockade lasted until 12 May 1949.

15 July: Nominated Democratic candidate for president on first ballot at Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, after thirty-five delegates from Alabama and Mississippi had walked out of the convention in protest against strong civil rights plank in the party platform. Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky was chosen vice-presidential candidate.

15 July: Called Congress into special session on 26 July to act on housing, civil rights, and price controls. Congress adjourned 7 August, having enacted practically no legislation.

July 26, 1948: Signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the United States Armed Forces. The order also established the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services.

6 September-30 October: Made several extensive campaign trips, traveling through all sections of the country except the South. Calling is a "whistle stop" campaign, he made 275 speeches, centering his attack upon the record of the "do nothing 80th Congress," and traveling about 22,000 miles.

2 November: Elected to second term as president contrary to the forecasts of newspapers and poll takers, who had almost unanimously predicted his defeat. Popular vote: Truman, 24,105,812; Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, the Republican candidate, 21,970,065; Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina running on the States Rights (Dixiecrat) ticket, 1,169,021; and Henry A. Wallace of New York, the Progressive party candidate, 1,157,172. Electoral vote: Truman, 303; Dewey, 189; Thurmond, 39.

Chronology Table of Contents