Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, died April 12, 1945 after only serving less than three months of his fourth term.
Harry S. Truman, previously a U.S. senator from Missouri, had only served 82 days as vice president when he became president. The summer of 1945 would become the most challenging of his life.
A former artillery officer in World War I, he proved he was up to it. On May 8, 1945, the German forces surrendered to the Allied Forces under the command of American Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In the Pacific, thousands of Americans had died and continued to die fighting the fanatical forces of Imperial Japan. We were winning, but at a terrible price.
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On July 26, Truman called on Japan to surrender. They refused. On Aug. 6, 1945 Col. Paul Tibbets and his B-29 crew, dropped the world's first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. On Aug. 9, Maj. Charles Sweeney and B-29 crew dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered.
The summer of 1950, North Korea attacked South Korea. Americans, once more, went into battle.
By the summer of 1952 over 30,000 Americans had died in Korea. Dwight Eisenhower was running for president, promising that if elected the war will end, even if he has to use nuclear weapons. He won.
In June 1953 a contingent of infantry arrives at Fort Bragg, N.C. to join a special weapons unit. Shortly thereafter, orders are received to go "overseas." I was part of that unit. On July 27, 1953, the Korean War ended and I received a furlough.
I fully believe Eisenhower meant what he said. The Koreans and the Chinese must have believed him as well.
As commanders in chief, Truman and Eisenhower possessed courage, conviction and patriotism! Contrast that with today.
John A. Holcom