"Dewey Defeats Truman" proclaimed the faulty Chicago Tribune headline. For weeks leading up to the 1948 presidential election, newspapers, magazines, and the political experts had predicted that Harry S. Truman would lose. The experts were wrong. Truman won the election and proved that he deserved to be the President of the United States, an office which he had inherited after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. During his years as President, Truman worked to end World War II, helped to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and led the fight to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world. He was also the first leader to recognize the nation of Israel. In Harry S. Truman, Revised Edition, author Michael A. Schuman explores the life and accomplishments of this remarkable man in this updated and revised book. Truman proved himself an honest man who was willing to hold to his beliefs even in the face of disapproval. He will always be known as one of our country's greatest Presidents.
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On the death (Apr. 12, 1945) of Roosevelt, Truman succeeded to the presidency. He assumed power at a very critical time. He was immediately confronted with the problems of concluding the war and preparing for the difficulties of international postwar readjustment. The war in Europe ended with Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, and in July Truman attended the Potsdam Conference to discuss the postwar European settlement. To end the conflict with Japan, he authorized the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That action did bring the war to an immediate end, but the morality of it continues to be debated. First Term At home, inflation and demobilization were the chief worries of reconversion to a peacetime economy. Although Truman began quietly to eliminate the old New Dealers from the administration, his domestic policies were essentially a continuation of those of the New Deal. His program (later labeled the Fair Deal) called for guaranteed full employment, a permanent Fair Employment Practices Committee to end racial discrimination, an increased minimum wage and extended social security benefits, price and rent controls, public housing projects, and public health insurance. However, Congress, which was controlled by the Republicans after the 1946 elections, blocked most of these projects, while passing other legislation¿notably the Taft-Hartley Labor Act (1947)¿over Truman's veto.