Harry Truman's Reign

Harry Truman's Reign

Themes that Influenced the Presidency of Harry Truman

 Harry Truman assumed the Presidency as the 33rd President of the United States after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. Truman's Presidency was considered as the most controversial in United States history. This is because there were various accusations of corruption in his administration, the Korean War, and McCarthy's anti-communist prosecution. Moreover, his allies contributed to the bad reputation associated with Truman over the years. Once President Roosevelt died, Truman was left to solve all the wartime issues that influenced that period. He led the nation through the final stages of World War II and the early stages of the Cold War. As such, a controversial leader, an analysis of the themes that influenced his era, will be essential.

 President Harry Truman had to make some of the most challenging decisions to safeguard the country's interests. For instance, when he was inaugurated as President, the conflict against Japan had reached its peak. Based on consultations with his advisers, he ordered atomic bombs dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima when they refused to surrender. Further, Truman endorsed the signing of the United Nations charter that was established to preserve peace. As the new President, he followed his predecessor's blueprint but soon developed his own. He submitted a 21-point program to Congress, which was later identified as the Fair Deal. The program consisted of a proposition for the expansion of social security, full-employment strategy, slum clearance, and public housing. Hence, despite that he lacked executive experience; he used his skills to achieve his objectives.

Themes that influenced the Presidency

Cold War

The Cold War began after the Second World War with the United States and the Soviet Union as enemies. The alliance between Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union during the Second World War was possible because they had a common enemy. These nations were all interested in defeating Axis Powers and Hitler, nonetheless towards the end of the war, the leaders began to focus on their security concerns (Kuhelj Bugaric, 2014). The United States and the Soviet Union were afraid of fighting each other. In this case, they resulted in fighting each other indirectly by supporting the opposing sides during disagreements. (Offner, 2002). President Truman’s administration acknowledged that engaging the Soviet Union jeopardized the military and political balance.

Further, the Soviet Union challenged the economic relations that favored the United States and its allies after World War II. President Truman used the Marshall strategy to strengthen the economies and the governments of nations in Western Europe. Based on Ferrell (2006), he also implemented the Truman Doctrine, whose aim was to provide military aid to communist countries. American officials implemented the Truman technique to the U.S-Soviet interaction until the end of the Cold War.


 President Truman chose to take a firm stance on communism when he took over the Presidency. When the Cold War began, and tensions began to rise between the Soviet Union and the United States, Truman implemented the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine. According to Ferrell (2006), the Truman Doctrine symbolized that the United States would not embrace isolationism after World War II. The Truman administration was ready to take an active position in world affairs. In this regard, he pledged in 1947 that the US would assist any country in resisting communism (Spalding, 2006). During Truman's Presidency, the Truman Doctrine triggered another conflict in Korea when the government strived to avoid a communist government formation.

On the other hand, the Marshall Plan was enacted to deal with the Second World War consequences. The war affected the infrastructure, which resulted in extensive food shortages in the winter period in 1946-1947. Truman's administration acknowledged that hunger would influence Europe to turn to communism. Consequently, Marshall Idea offered Europe $13 billion in economic aid. President Harry Truman believed that this approach would facilitate economic and political stability in Europe and eliminate the attraction of Communism to suffering populations in Europe.

Domestic Affairs

As such a controversial leader, Truman is renowned for his contribution to domestic affairs. Despite his lack of experience, it was his responsibility to help the country transition into a stabilized nation. In this regard, he supervised the American economy's conversion from what it was initially during World War II to one that focused on military and consumer production. Additionally, throughout his Presidency, Truman concentrated on protecting the New Deal and expanding Social Security in 1950. The management of domestic affairs was evident by him advocating for the cause of the African-American civil rights. This was achieved by uniting the military, authorizing a federal report on civil rights, and prohibiting discrimination in the civil service. Hence, his input in domestic issues in the country affirmed his position as a leader.

In conclusion, President Truman stood out as a leader who related well with the public. He managed to create his legacy based on aspects that he believed would impact the nation's progress. In this case, the themes that characterized his leadership include the Cold War, communism, and domestic affairs. Regardless of the criticism surrounding his Presidency, he was confronted with the most difficult challenges in American history. 


Ferrell, R. H. (2006). Harry S. Truman and the Cold War Revisionists. University of Missouri Press.

Kuhelj Bugaric, M. (2014). Birth of the Cold War. UCLA Historical Journal, 25(1).

Offner, A. A. (2002). Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953. Stanford University Press.

Spalding, E. (2006). The first cold warrior: Harry Truman, containment, and the remaking of liberal internationalism. University Press of Kentucky.

Published on: 11 Sep 2020

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