"The people can never understand why the President does not use his powers to make them behave. Well all the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway." - Harry Truman
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Among America's presidents, Harry Truman's presidency produced some of the nation's most crucial decisions and left one of the nation's most unique legacies. When President Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945, Vice President Truman, somewhat unprepared for the Presidency, now had to fill some of the biggest shoes in American history. Incredibly, Truman had not been informed of the country's secret attempt to build atomic bombs, confiding in his diary after learning about it, "We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark."
The new president had to usher America through victory in Europe in his first month and decide to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few months later, but the end of World War II produced only the first of many consequential decisions Truman would face during his nearly eight years in office.