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Harry Truman State of the Union Highlights: 10 Quotes from Final Message

By    |   Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 07:55 PM

President Harry Truman, took the helm of a country at war, authorized the first atomic bomb and desegregated the armed services. After winning an unexpected re-election victory, the thirty-third president of the United States continued his dogged perseverance in world affairs and is responsible for leading through what The White House calls some of the “most crucial decisions in history.”

According to the American Presidency Project, Harry Truman delivered eight state of the union addresses. The final January 7, 1953 message was given in written form only on the eve of Truman leaving the presidency.

Here are 10 quotes from his last message to Congress on the State of the Union:

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1. “In just two weeks, General Eisenhower will be inaugurated as President of the United States and I will resume--most gladly--my 'place as a private citizen of this Republic.”

2. “The President-elect is about to take up the greatest burdens, the most compelling responsibilities, given to any man. And I, with you and all Americans, wish for him all possible success in undertaking the tasks that will so soon be his.”

3. “Our times are not easy; they are hard-as hard and complex, perhaps as any in our history.”

4. “I took the oath of office on April 12, 1945. In May of that same year, the Nazis surrendered. Then, in July, that great white flash of light, man-made at Alamogordo, heralded swift and final victory in World War II--and opened the doorway to the atomic age.”

5. “Now let me turn to another question we faced at the war's end. Would we take up again, and carry forward, the great projects of social welfare--so badly needed, so long overdue--that the New Deal had introduced into our national life?... This question, too, we have answered. We have answered it by doubling old age insurance benefits and extending coverage to ten million more people. We have answered it by increasing our minimum wage. We have answered by the three million privately constructed homes that the Federal Government has helped finance since the war.”

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6. “In our armed forces, our civil service, our universities, our railway trains, the residential districts of our cities--in stores and factories all across the Nation--in the polling booths as well--the barriers are coming down. This is happening, in part, at the mandate of the courts; in part, at the insistence of Federal, State and local governments; in part, through the enlightened action of private groups and persons in every region and every walk of life.”

7. “The world is divided, not through our fault or failure, but by Soviet design. They, not we, began the cold war. And because the free world saw this happen because men know we made the effort and the Soviet rulers spurned it--the free nations have accepted leadership from our Republic, in meeting and mastering the Soviet offensive.”

8. “The supreme test, up to this point, of the will and determination of the free nations came in Korea, when communist forces invaded the Republic of Korea, a state that was in a special sense under the protection of the United Nations. The response was immediate and resolute. Under our military leadership, the free nations for the first time took up arms, collectively, to repel aggression.”

9. “From 1945 to 1949, the United States was sole possessor of the atomic bomb. That was a great deterrent and protection in itself. But when the Soviets produced an atomic explosion--as they were bound to do in time--we had to broaden the whole basis of our strength. We had to endeavor to keep our lead in atomic weapons.”

10. “It is no wonder that some people wish that we had never succeeded in splitting the atom. But atomic power, like any other force of nature, is not evil in itself. Properly used, it is an instrumentality for human betterment.”

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President Harry Truman, took the helm of a country at war, authorized the first atomic bomb and desegregated the armed services. He delivered eight state of the union addresses including the final on January 7, 1953.
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2015-55-22
Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 07:55 PM
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