LBJ Signs the Medicare Bill On This Day in 1965
When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Harry S. Truman Library on July 30, 1965, he told the nation that it had “all started with the man from Independence.”
Harry S. Truman, LBJ said, had “planted the seeds of compassion and duty” that led to the enactment of Medicare, a national health insurance for the aged through an expanded Social Security system.
Truman was the first President to publicly endorse a national health insurance program. As a Senator, Truman had become alarmed at the number of draftees who had failed their induction physicals during World War II. For Truman these rejections meant that the average citizen could not afford visiting a doctor to maintain health. He stated:
“that is all wrong in my book. I am trying to fix it so the people in the middle-income bracket can live as long as the very rich and the very poor.”
Truman’s first proposal in 1945 provided for physician and hospital insurance for working-aged Americans and their families. A federal health board was to administer the program with the government retaining the right to fix fees for service, and doctors could choose whether or not to participate. This proposal was defeated after, among many factors, the American Medical Association labeled the president’s plan “socialized medicine” taking advantage of the public’s concern over communism in Russia.
Even though he was never able to create a national health care program, Truman was able to draw attention to the country’s health needs, have funds legislated to construct hospitals, expand medical aid to the needy, and provide for expanded medical research.
In honor of his continued advocacy for national health insurance, Johnson presented Truman and his wife Bess with Medicare cards number one and two in 1966.
President Truman - Just Stopping By
On this day in 1947, President Harry S. Truman stopped by the U.S. Capitol unannounced. According to the President’s appointment calendar for the day:
”White at the Capitol, the President visited the Senate Chamber, took his old seat, was recognized by the President of the Senate and made a brief impromptu speech.”
Addressing the senators around him, he said, “I get homesick for this seat. I spent the best 10 years of my life in this seat.”
Photo: Senator Harry S. Truman on the Capitol Steps, circa 1940.
Smells Like Potsdam
On this day in 1945, President Truman arrived in Potsdam for conferences with Allied leaders. After a particularly trying day of negotiations, President Truman went into the bathroom in his suite. He came out with this bottle of German 4711 cologne.
He said to one of the members of his security detail, “Is some Russian trying to make a stinker out of me with this German stuff?” This member of his security detail “souvenired” this bottle after the conference, and years later donated it to the Library.
-from the Truman Library and Museum
On this day, June 25, 1945, the United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco. Here, Secretary of State Edward Stettinius signs the charter while President Harry S. Truman (second from left) looks on. The United States delegation is gathered around.
On this day, May 14, 1948, the United States became the first country to recognize the State of Israel.
At midnight, the Provisional Government of Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel. At 6:11 pm that same day, President Truman released a statement recognizing the new state and the provisional Jewish government as its de facto authority.
The following day, after issuing a response statement, armies from nearby Arab states invaded Israel, beginning the first Arab-Israeli war.
Photo: Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of Israel, presents a Torah, or Holy Scroll, to President Truman during a visit to the White House. Donor: Rabbi Phillip S. Bernstein. May 25, 1948.
Happy 130th Birthday, Harry S. Truman! (5/08/1884 - 12/26/1972)
Abbie Rowe, photographer.
The photo of Truman smiling while he announces the end of the war in Europe (on his 61st birthday no less) is always one of our favorites. It was also a big hit with our “junior digital curator” who was helping out during our Take your Child to Work Day here at the National Archives—and who also shares a birthday with the 33rd President. In his words: “He’s probably thinking ‘This is an AWESOME birthday present!’”
It’s the Birthday of President Harry S. Truman
A brief timeline on what would have been Harry’s 130th birthday-
- 1884: Harry S. Truman is born in Lamar, Missouri on May 8. As a young man, he works briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks.
- 1906: Harry begins working with his father to run the family farm. He continues working as a farmer for more than ten years.
- 1905-1911: Harry serves in the Missouri National Guard. When the United States enters World War I in 1917, he helps to organize the 2nd Regiment of Missouri Field Artillery, which is quickly called into Federal service as the 129th Field Artillery and sent to France.
- 1919-1922: Harry runs a men’s clothing store in Kansas City with his wartime friend, Eddie Jacobson. The store fails in the postwar recession. Harry narrowly avoids bankruptcy, and through determination and over many years he pays off his share of the store’s debts.
- 1922: Harry is elected to be one of three judges of the Jackson County Court.
- 1934: Harry is elected to the United States Senate.
- July, 1944: Harry is nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- January 20, 1945: Harry takes the vice-presidential oath. After President Roosevelt’s unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, Harry is sworn in as the nations’ 33rd President.
- May 7, 1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally one day before Harry’s 61st birthday.
- 1948: Harry wins reelection despite a widely expected defeat.
- 1953: Harry leaves the Presidency and retires to Independence, MO.
- 1972: Harry S. Truman dies on December 26, 1972.
Photo: President Truman on the celebration of his 61st birthday, the day after the unconditional surrender of Germany in World War II. May 8, 1945.
-from the Truman Library
Our Presidential Throwback Thursday features a very small Harry S. Truman!
Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Missouri. Truman’s early life was plagued with accidents, poor eyesight, and a nearly paralyzing disease. However, Truman grew up surrounded by loving, strong-willed, and doting parents, grandparents, and other relatives, including his grandfather, Solomon Young.
Truman had one younger brother, Vivian. Vivian had long curls that his mother refused to cut. The long curls bothered his grandfather Solomon so much that one day he had Harry help him haul Vivian—highchair and all—out onto the south porch where he quickly gave Vivian a short haircut.
A few days later, Harry decided to experiment with his own hair and comb it a different way. He pulled a big chair up close to a mirror in order to see the back of his head. He kept leaning in the chair until he fell over backwards, breaking his collarbone—his first, but not his last, broken bone.
Learn more about Truman’s childhood from the Truman Library.
This is a time for courage, not for grumbling and mumbling. Now, let us take a look at the things we have to do.
President Harry S. Truman
January 9, 1952
Hanukkah at the White House
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951. Read More
Photos: Menorah presented to Harry S. Truman by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Ambassador to the U.S. Abba Eban, of Isreal on May 8, 1951. The menorah is currently on Display at the Truman Library.