In April of 1945, Vice President Harry Truman got a new office.
FDR was dead and Truman took to the Oval office as the 33rd President of the United States.
He was 61 years old.
Now, whether Truman as President was good, bad or indifferent isn't the point here. The point is the reality he stepped into.
Shut out of FDR's inner circle, Truman was minding his own business, doing the very little there is for a Vice President to do, when out of the blue he gets the call. President Roosevelt is dead and you're the man. At his swearing in Eleanor Roosevelt told him, "you're the one in trouble now Harry."
And it was true. . .
Two wars; one not quite wrapped up, another with no end in sight and a contentious congress. (sounds familiar doesn't it?)
He's also got a British prima donna and a Russian gangster nipping at his heels and then, there's a huge atom-splitting secret project he's got to get his head around.
The man really stepped into a steaming heap of it.
But it's his job and he steps up to the plate and handles it all the best he can.
(which is all any of us can do)
Anyway, by November of 1946 the wars are over, the bomb's been dropped, the dust has settled, it's getting cold in D.C.
and Truman is exhausted.
Remember, he's a 62 year old man at that point and, 66 years ago, (when this all happened) 62 was an older guy.
His doctor recommended that he "take a vacation in a warm climate" and Harry did. Where did he take it?
The navy accommodated him in the house on their base that had been the naval command center during World War II. Today that house is an attraction called the
Truman Little White House.
Now if you gave it any thought and weren't a political pundit trying to put negative spin on the President's leaving town, you'd realize that any sitting President's vacation is a working vacation. That's the nature of that job. The President is
When Truman came back to Key West for his 2nd visit in 1947, he knew that wherever the President was, so came the White House. With newer technology, he could direct the government from anywhere. But in Key West, he could go fishing, play golf and lounge in the sun too.
Truman visited our fair city every year of his Presidency from November to December and from February to March. Returning to Washington in January, presumably,
for the State-of-the-Union.
Judging from these old pictures, it looks like he had himself
a hell of a time.