For Immediate Release: March 12, 1998
Contacts: Larry Hackman
Truman Library and Museum
or Dean Davison
Barkley & Evergreen Public Relations
RE-LIVE A YEAR OF TURMOIL AND TRIUMPH
AT TRUMAN LIBRARY
- 1948 Exhibition Opens April 20 -
(Independence, Mo.) - On November 3, 1948, Harry S. Truman awoke at 4 a.m., turned on the radio and learned that he had been re-elected President of the United States. His incredible upset over Thomas Dewey capped a year in U.S. Presidential history unlike any other. The threat of communism in Eastern Europe, the emerging American civil rights issue, the recognition of Israel and Truman's dramatic election victory were the cornerstones of this tumultuous year.
You can re-live these events in the new 50th anniversary commemorative exhibition, "1948: Year of Turmoil and Triumph," on display April 20, 1998 through February 10, 1999 at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo.
By 1948 the nation had struggled through the most wrenching aspects of reconversion following World War II and now looked to the future. For most Americans the future seemed bright, but storm clouds threatened at home and abroad.
President Truman responded to the many threats and promises of 1948 with a series of bold actions and decisions. In the Truman Library exhibition that remembers this important year, museum visitors enter an environment filled with the sights and sounds of life in America in 1948.
The exhibition is divided into four sections:
- "Finding a Home"
On May 14, 1948, President Truman was the first world leader to officially recognize the new state of Israel. Among the numerous items on display, you will see Truman's original statement of recognition, the Menorah given to President Truman by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, and other artifacts.
- "To Secure These Rights"
In July, 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 ordering the desegregation of the Armed Forces. You can see the original documents ordering desegregation and prohibiting discrimination in Federal hiring, both on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration.
- "Cold War and Red Herrings"
On June 26, 1948, the first planes began delivering food and supplies to Berlin after a Soviet ground blockade. The Berlin Airlift lasted 15 months and helped the U.S. and Soviet Union avoid a war over the city. Meanwhile, at home the opening rounds of the domestic communist "witch hunts" began. The exhibition includes photos, cartoons, documents and other memorabilia on the stiffening attitude of the United States toward both foreign and domestic communism.
- "Upset of the Century"
Truman's 1948 re-election stunned political pundits and pollsters. You can follow the map chronicling Truman's dramatic "whistle stop" train tour taking his message to the American people, listen to campaign music and speeches, and cast your vote in the campaign in a replica of the 1948 voting booth Truman used in Independence. Buttons, posters, pennants, and other memorabilia from the campaign supplement this part of the exhibition.
The exhibition concludes with "The Legacy of 1948," where visitors can draw their own conclusions about how these sweeping events and a shifting popular culture changed America.
"President Truman faced a series of monumental decisions throughout 1948. When you consider that this was an election year, some of his decisions, especially on civil rights, are extraordinary," said Larry Hackman, director of the Truman Library. "Keep in mind that in 1948, many Americans, including many members of Truman's own Democratic party, were opposed to civil rights. But Truman did what he thought was right, despite some major political risks."
A variety of special events and programs is planned around the exhibition. For more information, call the Truman Library at 1-800-833-1225
The Truman Library and Museum is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in
Independence, Mo. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5
p.m., Thursdays from 9 a. m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is
closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50
for seniors, $3 for children ages 6 to 18, and free for children 5 years and under.
The Harry S. Truman Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries administered by
the National Archives and Records Administration.