Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884.
After graduating from Independence High School in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding's Commercial College, a Kansas City business school; he studied bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing, but left after a year.
He enlisted in the Missouri National Guard in 1905, and served until 1911 in the Kansas City-based Battery B, 2nd Missouri Field Artillery Regiment, in which he attained the rank of corporal.
In mid-1918, about one million soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces were in France. Truman was promoted to captain in July 1918 and became commander of Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 35th Division.
Truman's unit joined in a massive prearranged assault barrage on September 26, 1918, at the opening of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
In other action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Truman's battery provided support for George S. Patton's tank brigade, and fired some of the last shots of the war on November 11, 1918. Battery D did not lose any men while under Truman's command in France.
Truman was honorably discharged from the Army as a captain on May 6, 1919.
After his wartime service, Truman returned to Independence, where he married Bess Wallace on June 28, 1919. The couple had one child, Mary Margaret Truman.
In 1920 he was appointed a major in the Officers' Reserve Corps (ORC), a federal organization not connected to the Missouri National Guard.
Truman was elected in 1922 as County Court judge of Jackson County's eastern district—Jackson County's three-judge court included judges from the western district (Kansas City), the eastern district (the county outside Kansas City), and a presiding judge elected countywide.
Also in 1926, he became president of the National Old Trails Road Association (NOTRA).
In 1926, Truman was elected to the judgeship with the support of the Pendergast machine, and he was re-elected in 1930. Truman helped coordinate the Ten Year Plan, which transformed Jackson County and the Kansas City skyline with new public works projects, including an extensive series of roads and construction of a new Wight and Wight-designed County Court building.
He became a lieutenant colonel in 1925.
After serving as a county judge, Truman wanted to run for Governor or Congress, but Pendergast rejected these ideas. Truman then thought he might serve out his career in some well-paying county sinecure; circumstances changed when Pendergast reluctantly backed him as the fifth choice in the 1934 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.
Truman's nomination was dubbed the "Second Missouri Compromise" and was well received. The Roosevelt–Truman ticket achieved a 432–99 electoral-vote victory in the election, defeating the Republican ticket of Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York and running mate Governor John Bricker of Ohio. Truman was sworn in as vice president on January 20, 1945.
33rd President of the United States.
Truman had been vice president for 82 days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.
Hiroshima was bombed on August 6.
Nagasaki was bombed three days later.
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on August 9 and invaded Manchuria.
Japan agreed to surrender the following day.
Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation.
On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked access to the three Western-held sectors of Berlin.
On June 25, the Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift, a campaign to deliver food, coal and other supplies using military aircraft on a massive scale. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before, and no single nation had the capability, either logistically or materially, to accomplish it.
The 1948 United States presidential election was the 41st quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 1948. Incumbent President Harry S. Truman, the Democratic nominee, defeated Republican Governor Thomas E. Dewey. Truman's victory is considered to be one of the greatest election upsets in American history.
Truman's second inauguration was the first ever televised nationally.
The airlift worked; ground access was again granted on May 11, 1949. Nevertheless, the airlift continued for several months after that. The Berlin Airlift was one of Truman's great foreign policy successes; it significantly aided his election campaign in 1948.
The Soviet Union's atomic bomb project progressed much faster than had been expected and they detonated their first bomb on August 29, 1949.
Truman announced on 5 January 1950 that the United States would not engage in any dispute involving the Taiwan Strait, and that he would not intervene in the event of an attack by the PRC.
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army under Kim Il-sung invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War.
On June 27, 1950, after the outbreak of fighting in Korea, Truman ordered the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent further conflict between the communist government on the China mainland and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.
However, on July 3, 1950, Truman did give Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas a draft resolution titled "Joint Resolution Expressing Approval of the Action Taken in Korea"
By August 1950, U.S. troops pouring into South Korea under UN auspices were able to stabilize the situation.
On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempted to assassinate Truman at Blair House.
In 1951, the United States ratified the 22nd Amendment, making a president ineligible for election to a third term or for election to a second full term after serving more than two remaining years of a term of a previously elected president. The latter clause would have applied to Truman's situation in 1952 were it not for a grandfather clause excluding the amendment's application to the incumbent president.
The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two years, with over 30,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting in 1953.
In response, on January 7, 1953, Truman announced the detonation of the first U.S. hydrogen bomb, which was much more powerful than the Soviet Union's atomic weapons.
Died at 7:50 a.m. on December 26, at the age of 88.