This journey has been an amazing combination of witnessing America’s physical beauty and discovering more about its history. Readers of the blog know that Presidential Libraries have been an especially interesting part of this trip.
Visiting Presidential libraries for us had been a walk down memory lane prior to Kansas City. Both Karen and I were born during Eisenhower’s term of office (Karen just barely) but really had few actual memories prior to JFK. Our visit to the Eisenhower library really helped understand more about America during and after WWII.
Our visit to the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri gave us a chance to explore an increment of American history prior to WWII and bridging into our childhood. Truman grew up as a product of a Missouri farming family. He entered politics in Missouri after returning from service in WWI and served as a State Senator prior to being tapped to serve as VP for Roosevelt prior to Roosevelt’s death just months after he was re-elected to office in 1945.
Harry S. Truman preceded Eisenhower as President and served between April 1945 and January 1953. Although World War II had began with Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency took us into WWII but his death in office in 1945 put Truman in a position to end the war with the use of the atomic bombs in Japan and into the Cold War those of us born in the 1950’s remember all too well.
Truman also presided over the reconstruction of Europe under the Marshall Plan as well as the transition of the US economy from wartime to a peacetime and continued struggle for civil rights.
Of particular interest for me we’re the geo-political insights from this period including the Cold War with Russia, Israel and the Korean War and China’s role which filled in a lot of “the blanks” to current events.
And, as a finale the Library had a wonderful tribute to the year of my birth with Life Magazine covers and articles throughout 1952!