from the War
War I was a turning point for Harry Truman. His decisive
leadership and courage under fire earned the respect and
admiration of his men. Truman thrived in the Army and felt
a brotherhood with his fellow soldiers. He maintained lifelong
ties to the military, especially with the men of Battery
D. His military service opened the door to his next business
venture, a retail partnership with Army buddy Eddie Jacobson.
There was sweet success at home, too, as Truman finally
marched down the aisle with Bess.
Battery D suffered no deaths in combat and the men considered
themselves lucky to have survived. They attributed their
luck to "Captain Harry." Their close bonds, forged
on the battlefield, endured for the rest of their lives.
Through service in the reserves, correspondence and reunions,
the men stayed in touch with each other. Throughout his
political career, Truman always counted on his army buddies
When the war came to an end on November 11, 1918, Truman
was eager to head home. He was unsure what kind of work
he would pursue, but very sure he wanted to be married as
soon as possible. Bess began planning for their wedding
two weeks before his return. She wrote him, "You can
invite the whole company if you want to."
" from Camp La Beholle,
near Verdun, January 21, 1919
You know I have two breast pockets in my blouse.
Naturally you can guess whose picture stays in the lefthanded
one. I keep Mary's and Mamma's in the other.
Yours is the one you sent me at [Camp] Doniphan and it
has never left me, nor will it ever."
After the war, Truman did not return to farming. Following
their honeymoon, he and Bess moved
into the Gates-Wallace home at 219 North Delaware in Independence.
It would be their home for the rest of their lives. Harry
opened a men's furnishings business in downtown Kansas City
with his army friend Eddie Jacobson.
We'd done so well in the canteen, we didn't see why we
couldn't do just as well in civilian life, and it looked
were a pretty good combination. I'd do the selling and keep
the books, and we had a clerk part of the time, and Eddie
would do the buying. Of course the way things turned out
we both did everything, a little of everything."
Forging Ties in the Reserves
Truman's military ties during World War I continued long
after his experiences on the battlefields of France. Following
his discharge in 1919, he missed army life and decided to
return to Federal Service through the Officers' Reserve
Corps. Although Colonel Truman completed his final stint
of active duty in 1933, he was appointed commanding officer
of the 379th Field Artillery and attended unit training
during the summers of 1936 through 1938 at his own expense.
Truman's own military service formed his views on security
and defense. He became a strong advocate of military preparedness
as the best method to deter future conflicts.