Object Image

Harry S. Truman

Thirty-third president, 1945–1953

Upon learning of President Franklin Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945, Harry Truman told reporters he felt as if “the moon, the stars, and all the planets” had fallen on him. That summer, faced with the daunting task of ending the war in the Pacific,Truman directed the use of devastating nuclear bombs against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ushering in the atomic age and a race for states, particularly the Soviet Union, to develop similar weapons. After the war, he signed the United Nations Charter to help prevent future conflicts. Confronting an increasingly belligerent Soviet Union, Truman endorsed the Marshall Plan, a program that aimed to ...

Oil on canvas
102.1 x 81.6cm
Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2023

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