Harry S. Truman was the thirty-third president of the United States of America. Truman took over the presidency after serving only a short time as vice president under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Known as the plain-speaking man from Missouri, Truman led the United States through the end of World War II
World War II was a global conflict that began in Europe on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany. War broke out between the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and the Allied Powers (Britain, France, and the Soviet Union). Japan invaded China, occupied the Philippines, and seized a number of islands throughout the Pacific, while Germany captured much of Europe and North Africa before invading the Soviet Union. Millions of civilians were killed; Jews were specifically singled out by the Germans for extermination, as were other minorities, such as those who were mentally ill, physically and mentally disabled, homosexual, or members of political and religious groups who opposed the Axis Powers.
The United States provided aid to the Allied Powers but remained neutral until Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The United States then declared war on Japan and, in turn, Germany declared war on the United States. The United States joined the Allied Powers and launched an enormous war effort at home and abroad. On the home front, civilians made important contributions by helping to produce military equipment, supplies, and food in record amounts. American military forces fought in Europe, North Africa, and throughout the Pacific against the Axis Powers. By the end of the war, over twelve million Americans had served in the armed forces.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered, bringing an end to the war in Europe. The war in the Pacific continued until the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in early August 1945. The Japanese surrendered on August 14, 1945. By the end of the war, over 418,500 American servicemen were killed, and worldwide an estimated thirty-eight million people lost their lives during the war.
the Korean War
The Korean War began in 1950 and lasted until 1953. Like Vietnam, Korea was divided politically after World War II. North Korea was backed by the Soviet Union and China, and South Korea was supported by the United States. The two sides could not agree on a common government and Korea was therefore divided at the 38th parallel (a line of latitude 38 degrees north of the Equator). When Communist North Korea tried to invade South Korea on June 25, 1950, President Harry Truman committed the United States to helping South Korea in order to prevent the spread of communism. General Douglas MacArthur was able to push the North Koreans back, but this action led the Chinese to enter the war. President Truman had to abandon his attempt to reunify Korea and plan for a cease-fire instead in order to prevent the war from escalating into a bigger conflict. The United States, with the help of United Nations forces, drove Chinese troops out of South Korea and a truce agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, creating a Korean Demilitarized Zone at the 38th parallel, which is still defended today by both sides.
, and helped transform the nation into a world superpower.