Introductory Film

man in a horse carriage

Harry Truman was 60 years old when he became President of the United States. His life up to that point consisted of a wide variety of experiences, including great successes and failures, which influenced him in subtle, but often profound, ways. He had known farm life, war, owning a business, and business failure. This made him sensitive to the daily struggles of ordinary Americans, who shared many of the same life stories. Truman had also spent nearly a quarter century in politics. This, too, shaped his behavior as President.

These themes are explored in a 15-minute video program by Academy Award-winning director Charles Guggenheim and narrated by Jason Robards. It traces the story of Harry Truman's family, boyhood, life on the farm, courtship of Bess, World War I service, business ventures, political career, association with the Pendergast machine, Senate career, and selection as Vice President.

The video ends with the death of FDR and the swearing in of Truman as the new President.