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Harry Truman Inaugural Address Highlights: 10 Quotes From Speech

Image: Harry Truman Inaugural Address Highlights: 10 Quotes From Speech
President Harry S. Truman Inaugural speech, 1949. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 03:17 PM

When Harry Truman delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 1949, he had led the nation through the end of World War II only to face the dangers of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Truman, who became president in 1945 following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, stunned political observers with his unexpected presidential victory over Republican Thomas Dewey in 1948.

Much of his address focused on challenges with the worldwide communist threat. Here are 10 quotes from Truman's speech:

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1. "Each period of our national history has had its special challenges. Those that confront us now are as momentous as any in the past. Today marks the beginning not only of a new administration, but of a period that will be eventful, perhaps decisive, for us and for the world."

2. "The first half of this century has been marked by unprecedented and brutal attacks on the rights of man, and by the two most frightful wars in history. The supreme need of our time is for men to learn to live together in peace and harmony."

3. "The American people desire, and are determined to work for, a world in which all nations and all peoples are free to govern themselves as they see fit, and to achieve a decent and satisfying life."

4. "In the pursuit of these aims, the United States and other like-minded nations find themselves directly opposed by a regime with contrary aims and a totally different concept of life."

5. "Communism is based on the belief that man is so weak and inadequate that he is unable to govern himself, and therefore requires the rule of strong masters."

6. "I state these differences, not to draw issues of belief as such, but because the actions resulting from the Communist philosophy are a threat to the efforts of free nations to bring about world recovery and lasting peace."

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7. "We are moving on with other nations to build an even stronger structure of international order and justice. We shall have as our partners countries which, no longer solely concerned with the problem of national survival, are now working to improve the standards of living of all their people."

8. “More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas.”

9. "I believe that we should make available to peace-loving peoples the benefits of our store of technical knowledge in order to help them realize their aspirations for a better life."

10. "Events have brought our American democracy to new influence and new responsibilities. They will test our courage, our devotion to duty, and our concept of liberty. But I say to all men, what we have achieved in liberty, we will surpass in greater liberty."

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When Harry Truman delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 1949, he had led the nation through the end of World War II only to face the dangers of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
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2015-17-25
Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 03:17 PM
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