Distracted by his efforts to finish World War II in victory, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt headed into his presidential campaign for an unprecedented fourth term in 1944, seemed especially indifferent to who would be his running mate. Everyone around him seemed worried about his failing health except F.D.R. who continued to give off a sense of self-invincibility. Roosevelt’s health had shockingly deteriorated. In fact, during the few campaign appearances he would make in 1944, his once clipped baritone voice had become labored and slurred. At fundraiser dinners, he no longer even made the effort to maintain the illusion he could walk, but rather just stayed seated at the table to give his speeches. At a Chicago stadium rally, his open car simply drove around the circle, stopped so a radio microphone could be brought to him and made his remarks seated in the car, which then drove him out. Here are clips of it:
His current Vice President Henry Wallace was being pushed off the ticket for being too liberal. F.D.R.was leaning towards Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, but there was tremendous fighting and jockeying among party bosses with many pushing for the U.S. Senator from Missouri, Harry Truman, who they argued could retain support for F.D.R. among conservatives and southern Democrats.
F.D.R. finally responded to them in July of 1944, “Truman would make you boys happy, and you are the ones I am counting on to win this election.”
“Tell him to go to hell,” was Truman’s response through intermediaries, himself maintaining the guise of indifference.
The wearied Roosevelt had no time for games. Speaking to party operative Bob Hannegan loudly enough on the phone for other politicos gathered in a meeting room at the Democratic Convention in Chicago to hear, the President yelled back that he’d made a decision and Truman had no choice in the matter: “If he wants to break up the Democratic Party in the middle of a war, and maybe lose that war, it’s up to him.”
Truman was nominated on the second ballot and accepted it. After the convention, he had one meeting with Roosevelt at the White House – mostly for newsreel cameramen and photographers. The President never told Truman about secret plans involving the atomic bomb as a potential weapon to end the war.
Throughout the campaign, the two men never conferred directly again, only taking a drive in an open-car during a pouring rainstorm.
After they were both sworn-in on Inauguration Day, January 20, 1945, Vice President Truman would have only two meetings alone with President Roosevelt. And Truman hated both meetings, snapping afterwards: “He does all the talking and he talks about what he wants to talk about, and he never talks about anything you want to talk about, so there isn’t much you can do.” Truman’s primary dislike of Roosevelt, he told a former Senate Republican colleague, was simple: “He lies.”
Talking politics over tumblers of whiskey in the Congressional office of his old pal, House Speaker Sam Rayburn, Vice President Truman was interrupted with a phone call from the White House on the afternoon of April 12, 1945.
Roosevelt had died in Georgia. Arrangements for a swearing-in ceremony were quickly made as Vice President Truman rushed down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, where he soon took the oath of office as the new President.
- Today’s Birthday: HARRY S. TRUMAN (1884) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- ourpresidents: On this day in 1945, President Harry S Truman… (caterpillarcowboy.com)
- Harry S. Truman Pays Final Debt (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- Harry Truman’s House (appliedimaginationbiz.wordpress.com)
- Harry Truman: 7 quotes for his birthday (csmonitor.com)
- The buck stops here: Ex-newsboy finally paid bill said owed by Harry Truman (kansascity.com)
- Harry Truman Debt Fom 1947 Finally Paid (wibw.com)
- Harry Truman (p21chong.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on a Book: 1948 (jowanabueser.com)
- The Munching President (carlanthonyonline.com)