Harry Truman’s Harried Christmas: 1945

Presidential History Blog

Harry Truman, home for Christmas, 1945.

The Sudden Presidency

President Roosevelt looked very ill when he met with Churchill and Stalin for the last time.

While political insiders had noticed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s physical decline, the country was in shock when their President – for twelve years and counting – died suddenly in Warm Springs, GA. His failing health had been generally hidden from the public.

It had also been hidden from VP Harry Truman, who had only seen him once or twice since the inauguration on January 20, 1945. FDR and Truman had never been more than pleasantly cool acquaintances. Truman had never been included in important decisions.

Now, on April 12, 1945, when Harry Truman received an urgent summons to the White House, he could guess the reason. He later claimed that he felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets fell on him at once.

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