Lesson Plans Truman, Bess

 

Truman, Bess
Presidential Campaigning: Truman's Whistle-Stop Tour
In the presidential election of 1948 Harry S. Truman, the Democratic incumbent President of the United States, ran against the Republican nominee, Thomas E. Dewey.Most of the national media didn’t give Truman much of a chance of winning the election. One of Truman’s campaign tactics was an ambitious 30,000-mile whistle stop train tour around the United States. On some days he made as many as eight speeches. Large crowds came out to listen to the President. Bess Truman accompanied her husband on these campaign tours on a special train called The Magellan. It was from the back of this train that the famous photograph of Harry Truman holding up the newspaper that proclaimed “Dewey Defeats Truman” was taken.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Truman, Bess
Ushering in the Atomic Age: Debate Lingers About the Bomb
In the summer of 1945, following the surrender of Germany in May, the “big three” allied leaders—Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin – met in Potsdam, Germany to negotiate terms for the end of World War II. This conference lasted from July, 17th to August 2nd. While at this conference President Truman received news of the successful test of the first atomic bomb (The Manhattan Project). He wrote to his wife, Bess, from this conference and in several of these correspondences he made reference to the United States possesion of the atom bomb and even hinted at his decision to use it on the Japanese. In later years, in a biography of Bess Truman written by her daughter, Margaret Truman discussed the fact that Harry Truman had made the decision to drop the atomic bomb without really consulting is wife. She was upset because she felt that “she had become a spectator rather than a partner in Harry Truman’s Presidency.” While we can only speculate what Bess Truman thought about the decision to drop the bomb on two Japanese cites, it is the case that the debate about whether it was a good decision still continues to this day.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Truman, Bess
How Well Do You Know Your Parents? Writing Biographies of Folks You Know.
Margaret Truman was the daughter of Harry and Bess Truman. She was also a very successful author. In addition to the many murder mysteries she wrote she also published a biography of her mother’s life. In a newspaper quote following the publication of her mother’s biography Margaret Truman said, “ This is the most difficult book I have ever written. It is about a woman I thought I knew better than anyone in my life. But I discovered as I wrote it that it was about a woman who kept her deepest feelings, her most profound sorrows, sealed from my view – from almost everyone’s view.”
Skill: Middle School     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Truman, Bess
"Sorry, no meat today." Government Rationing During World War II.
Almostimmediatelyafter the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor the entire economy of the United States shifted to war production. It was quickly determined that the population of the United States would have to do their part in the war effort. In May of 1942, the U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) froze prices on many goods, starting with sugar and coffee. War ration books and tokens were then issued to each American family, dictating how much gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon and other items any one person could buy. These items were essential for the war effort. Although these policies began under the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, they continued after his death under the Truman Administration. Even the Whitehouse had to following the rationing policies. Following the war many of these policies continued on a more limited level and for other purposes. Bess Truman signed a "housewife's pledge" of voluntary food rationing in the White House, in order to set an example for other Americans to limit their consumption and permit food donations to be sent to the many devastated populations of postwar Europe.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Truman, Bess
Jackie Robinson: More Than A Baseball Pioneer
From 1941 to 1945, World War II overwhelmed the world stage. Following the war, here in the United States, a climate of change began. Soldiers came back from the war and worked hard to find their places back in society. African American soldiers had fought and died to defend a nation that did not view them as equal citizens. During the Truman Administration we begin to see the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. The Truman administration went considerably beyond Roosevelt’s New Deal in the area of civil rights. Although, a conservative Congress thwarted Truman's desire to achieve significant civil rights legislation, he was able to use his powers as President to achieve some important changes. He issued executive orders desegregating the armed forces and forbidding racial discrimination in Federal employment. He also established a Committee on Civil Rights. His wife Bess shared these views. There was a strong feeling among the African American population of the United States that things needed to change and change soon. In 1947 Jackie Robinson inspired the African American community of the entire nation when he became the first black player to play in previously all white Major League Baseball. He did not intend to be a hero, and he faced unbelievable racism in the process but he became a model of pride, dignity, and class that still inspires a nation.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Sports and Popular Culture

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