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Tag: Harry Truman

Victory! Americans Everywhere Celebrated the End of World War II in 1945

(Today’s post is from Jim Worsham, editor of Prologue magazine, the quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, and is based on a longer article in the Summer 2015 issue.)

President Harry Truman reads the Japanese message agreeing to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945. (Harry Truman Library)

President Harry Truman reads the Japanese message agreeing to unconditional surrender on August 14, 1945. (Harry Truman Library)

President Harry S. Truman watched the clock closely, wanting to abide by the agreement to make the historic announcement at the same time as our Allies in London and Moscow.

At exactly 7 p.m. Eastern War Time on August 14, 1945, Truman revealed Japan’s response to the Allied demand for unconditional surrender.

The announcement the world was waiting for came just a few days after atomic bombs fell on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the opening shots in the nuclear era.

The emperor of Japan, the statement read, had agreed to unconditional surrender to the Allies. The President then appointed Gen. Douglas MacArthur supreme commander in Japan and the Pacific and who would officially accept Japan’s surrender September 2, 1945.

American servicemen and women gather in front of “Rainbow Corner” Red Cross club in Paris to celebrate the conditional surrender of the Japanese on August 15, 1945. (111-SC-210241)

American servicemen and women gather in front of “Rainbow Corner” Red Cross club in Paris to celebrate the conditional surrender of the Japanese on August 15, 1945. (111-SC-210241)

 

New Yorkers in Little Italy celebrated the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945. (208-N-43468; National Archives Identifier 535794)

New Yorkers in Little Italy celebrate the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945. (208-N-43468; National Archives Identifier 535794)

The euphoria that erupted May 8 when Truman announced the Germans … [ Read all ]

From the Presidential Libraries: Hanukkah at the White House

Today’s guest post comes from Susan K. Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives.

Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.

1.Menorah presented to Harry S. Truman by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel on May 8, 1951.  Currently on display at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, MO.

1. Menorah presented to Harry S. Truman by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion of Israel on May 8, 1951. Currently on display at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, MO.

The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces.  A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s.  Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.

When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel.  The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his … [ Read all ]

Sometimes an “S” is just an “S”

Today’s blog post was written by Tammy Kelly, an archivist at the Harry S. Truman Library.

When future President Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, his parents decided to name him Harry, after his mother’s brother Harrison Young. But what about a middle name? Harry’s parents could not come to a decision—should Harry’s middle name be Shipp, in honor of his paternal grandfather, Anderson Shipp Truman? Or should it be Solomon, in honor of his maternal grandfather, Solomon Young?

In the end, they entered his middle name as simply S, which led to a never-ending controversy and questions about Harry S. Truman’s middle name.

When Harry S. Truman wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945, Truman's signature includes the period (ARC 4708753).

Many people tried to give Truman a middle name. When Truman took the oath of office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone delivered the oath as “I, Harry Shipp Truman.” When Truman repeated it back, he made the subtle correction, “I, Harry S. Truman.”

In this press release, Truman runs his signature together and the "S" can barely be seen (ARC 200612).

Truman often received mail addressed to “Harry Solomon Truman,” “Harry Simpson Truman” and “Harry Shippe Truman.” In 1955, on a visit to Eugene, Oregon, to raise money for … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: A Letter from Hairy Harry

The future President sports a rare mustache at Army Reserve camp. From the Harry Truman Presidential Library.

Today’s guest post comes from Tammy Kelly at the Truman Presidential Library.

This week’s Facial Hair Friday photo is a most unexpected person: Harry S. Truman, before he became President! At the Truman Library, we know of only two photographs of Truman wearing any kind of facial hair, so this is a rare photo, indeed.

What prompted this mustache? Truman was away from home.

Truman served as a captain of Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery during World War I. After his discharge, he joined the Army Reserves and participated in yearly training camps, usually held during the summer. Truman had always fancied himself a soldier, and by and large, he had enjoyed his time in the Army. Participating in the Reserves allowed him to continue to fulfill his dreams—and provided a convenient means to get together with “the guys” for a little politicking, poker playing, and tale-telling, as well as for the fresh air and exercise.

But while Truman enjoyed getting away from the stresses of his job, he also desperately missed his family. Whenever he was away from his wife, Bess, for more than a day or two, he wrote her a letter. The Truman Library has over 1,300 letters that Harry wrote to Bess over … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: A mustache, a funny man, and a President

Page of the World War I draft card for Groucho Marx, from the holdings of the National Archives

Julius Henry Marx–better known by his stage name Groucho Marx–passed away on August 19, 1977. He left behind a legacy of humor on stage, radio, and film. I was not able to find to find any images of him in our holdings, which was disappointing as his trademark mustache was a fine candidate for Facial Hair Friday.

However, I did find something unexpected. Groucho had been corresponding with President Truman.

What would a funny man and a President have in common? Well, it turns out that the young Harry Truman was an avid vaudeville fan, attending shows at the Orpheum Theatre and the Grand Opera House whenever he was Kansas City. He even took his future wife Bess to vaudeville shows on dates. Truman especially enjoyed the Marx Brothers, later recalling that he never missed a chance to see them when they were in town.

So Truman was a fan of the famous brothers, but how did he come to correspond with Groucho (and later Harpo Marx)?

It started with the displaced persons, the survivors of the Holocaust who had lost their homes and families and were now living in temporary camps. Truman had issued a directive in 1945 to allow some of them to immigrate to the United States. In … [ Read all ]