Thursday, June 27, 2013

Harry S. Truman Museum and Library

Really?  Another museum?

Yes - even though we are about 'museumed out' for a while, we have a couple more to see while we are here in Independence, Missouri.

Reminds me of playing golf during my summers in high school.  After about 8 or 9 days in a row, I was ready for a break.  For a day or two.  Same here.  We are going to take advantage of seeing these places while we can.

So off we went to Independence MO.  We stayed at the Blue Springs Campground which was good.  It is run by the county and in good shape.  Sites and area around them are spacious.  Lots of grass and has a good feel to it.
We are only about 5 miles to the Truman Library and it was easy to find.
Inside, we found it to be very well laid out and full of interesting displays and artifacts.
A replica of the Oval Office:
I looked and looked for the "Buck Stops Here" sign but I could not find it on the desk or the table behind.  Hmmm, curious …..
It had a display all by itself in the hall.

Truman handled his time in the Army like he did with everything in his life:  He gave it everything he had.  Despite his less than imposing figure, he proved his metal and gain the respect of his men.
After WWI he worked on his farm, tried his hand in business and then entered local politics, becoming a county official and judge for 20 years.  Then, with the backing of Kansas City notorious political boss of Tom Pendergast, he won election to the Senate in 1934.  Then during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's for a 4th term, he was an unlikely pick for Vice President.

When FDR died, just weeks after his election, Truman was thrown into an overwhelming situation.  It was either sink or swim.  There was no transition.  He dug in and learned what he needed to in order to survive and make important decisions.  There were many during his two terms as president.
His policies, like any president, often were met with challenge and an opposing view.
Among his first duties was to attend the a summit with Churchill and Stalin in Potsdam, Germany in July 1945 discuss the post-war realities.  He developed his own view of the Soviet Union which was more distrustful than Roosevelt's.  The war in Europe was nearing its end and the war in the Pacific came to a close after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

With the beginning of the Cold War and the growth of what Churchill later called, the 'Iron Curtain', Truman was in the crucible.  He grew into his role and made decisions even controversial ones like firing General MacArther.
During his reelection campaign, he undertook a series of rail car trips all over the United States.
I did not realize how extensive his "Whistlestop Campaign" was until I saw this display.
It was a close call, and some newspapers made an early call which proved to be wrong.
At home, the nation was confronted with the growing fear in the spread of communism, the rise of Communist China and its invasion of Korea, all which came with a U. S. reaction.
Times were changing and Truman's popularity continued to slide.
He declined to run for another term and returned to his home in Independence, Missouri.  There he spent the rest of his days.  He was actively involved in building the library and museum.  He had a lot of notable achievements:

  • Orchestrated the Berlin Airlift, saving the city
  • Responsible for the Marshall Plan, an economic 'get well' plan for Germany and Europe
  • Integrated the Army which led to acceptance and national integration
  • Advocated for national health insurance
  • Recognized Israel which led to its statehood
  • Supported the creation of NATO to stand against the Warsaw Pact
  • Made substantial renovations to the White House
  • Realigned the armed forces, creating the Air Force as a separate service 
I appreciated being able to see the Truman Museum and Library.  I came away from it feeling like I knew more about that period in our country's history and our 33rd president.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thank you again for all your comments.
Until next time...


  1. I understand your comment about being museumed out. . .not a huge museum fan myself. . .be we also enjoyed the Truman Presidential Library and Museum a couple of years ago. . .I had not realized his part in bringing Israel to power until we saw it there. . .good stuff. . .thanks for sharing!

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  2. Great tour, We enjoy museums and they are part of our travels.

  3. One of my all-time favorite U.S. Presidents - Harry Truman. Thanks for the great tour - that's one I'd love to take some day.

  4. Being from Missouri I have always admired President Truman and his library is nice.

    We have stayed at the Blue Springs campground many times. It is amazing how close it is to a residential area, but you would not know it. It is always well kept.