Harry S. Truman

Harry S.
Truman
1884
1972

33rd President of the United States

Author Quotes

The White House is the finest prison in the world.

To me party platforms are contracts with the people

When a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me.

You and I are stuck with the necessity of taking the worst of two evils or none at all. So-I m taking the immature Democrat as the best of the two. Nixon is impossible.

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.

Today, America has become one of the most powerful forces for good on earth. We must keep it so. We have achieved a world leadership which does not depend solely upon our military and naval might. We have learned to fight with other nations in common defense of our freedom. We must now learn to live with other nations for our mutual good. We must learn to trade more with other nations so that there may be — for our mutual advantage — increased production, increased employment and better standards of living throughout the world. May we Americans all live up to our glorious heritage. In that way, America may well lead the world to peace and prosperity. [on bombing of Hiroshima]

When a High Explosive shell bursts in fifteen feet and does you no damage, you can bet your sweet life you bear a charmed life and no mistake. I didn't have sense enough to know what was going on until the next day and then I was pretty scared. The men think I am not much afraid of shells but they don't know. I was too scared to run and that is pretty scared.

You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on.

There are 14 or 15 million Americans who have the resources to have representatives in Washington to protect their interests, and that the interests of the great mass of the other people - the 150 or 160 million - is the responsibility of the president of the United States, and I propose to fulfill it.

Washington is a very easy city for you to forget where you came from and why you got there in the first place.

When a leader is in the Democratic Party he is a boss, and when he is in the Republican Party he is a leader.

You can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook.

There is a lure in power. It can get into a man's blood just as gambling and lust for money have been known to do.

We are going to continue to fight communism. Now I am going to tell you how we are not going to fight communism. We are not going to transform our fine FBI into a Gestapo secret police. That is what some people would like to do. We are not going to try to control what our people read and say and think. We are not going to turn the United States into a right-wing totalitarian country in order to deal with a left-wing totalitarian threat.

When Kansas and Colorado have a quarrel over the water in the Arkansas River they don’t call out the National Guard in each state and go to war over it. They bring a suit in the Supreme Court of the United States and abide by the decision. There isn’t a reason in the world why we cannot do that internationally.

You don't set a fox to watching the chickens just because he has a lot of experience in the hen house.

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

We are in a troublesome period and some "nonsense" as you term it — but this is a great nation with a high purpose, and we shall come to our senses and resume our course.

When they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me. [on being elected President]

You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.

There is a right kind and wrong kind of victory, just as there are wars for the right thing and wars that are wrong from every standpoint. … The kind of victory MacArthur had in mind – victory by the bombing of Chinese cities, victory by expanding the conflict to all of China – would have been the wrong kind of victory.

We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war. It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn't for you. It's for the Presidency.

You know, the United States Government turns its Chief Executive out to grass. They're just allowed to starve… If I hadn't inherited some property that finally paid things through, I'd be on relief now.

There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country we punish men for crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have.

Author Picture
First Name
Harry S.
Last Name
Truman
Birth Date
1884
Death Date
1972
Bio

33rd President of the United States