President Harry S Truman: First Term and Roosevelt's Death

About the death of Franklin Roosevelt and President Harry S Truman's first term in office struggling with a post-war economy.

PRESIDENCY

April 12, 1945....

After spending the day presiding over the Senate, the Vice-President strolled over to Speaker Sam Rayburn's celebrated "Board of Education" to relax with a Bourbon highball. As he walked in at 5:10, Rayburn gave him the message to go over to the White House immediately. Truman's face turned white. "Holy General Jackson!" he said, and made it to the White House by 5:25. He was immediately directed to Mrs. Roosevelt's private study. "Harry," Eleanor said without hesitation, "the President is dead." For a moment, Truman was too stunned to speak. He finally managed to choke out, "Is there anything I can do for you? Eleanor replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now."

An hour and a half later, Truman took the oath of office in the Cabinet room of the White House. He was so nervous that the words wouldn't come to him, so he took a slip of paper from his pocket with the oath written on it held it on top of his Bible. Then his voice began to function and he read the words firmly.

The next day he told reporters: "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now."

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