May 8, 1884: Harry Truman was born. He was the 33rd president, serving between 1945 and 1953. Truman became president when Franklin D. Roosevelt died. He retired with low approval ratings, but today is regarded as a great president. He ordered the atomic bombing of Japan, oversaw the Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift, Korean War, and the creation of NATO.
Each morning, Truman went on a brisk walk around Washington — unthinkable today — and played poker with White House reporters. He once threatened to punch a Washington Post reporter in the nose for writing a bad review about his daughter's singing. He was the last president without a college degree.
May 8, 1945: Quite a 61st birthday for President Truman. In a national radio broadcast, he announced the surrender of Nazi Germany — victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
May 8, 1972: President Nixon said the U.S. would mine North Vietnamese ports to stem the flow of weapons to that communist nation.
Quote of the day
"Intense feeling too often obscures the truth." —Harry Truman
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- One girl's extraordinarily wild world
Subscribe to the Week