Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Susan Medler
PH 816.268.8245
FAX 816.268.8299

60 Years On, New Exhibition Examines President Truman's
1948 Decision to Recognize the State of Israel

"I think we can safely say that if there had been no Harry S. Truman, there would be no Israel today."
Trygve Lie, former Secretary General of the United Nations

INDEPENDENCE, MO- With a new round of Mideast peace negotiations underway, the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum will present a new exhibition that examines President Truman's world-altering decision to recognize the fledgling state of Israel.

It was May 1948. With neighboring Arab countries vowing to go to war against them, Jewish leaders in Palestine declared the existence of the new State of Israel. Eleven minutes after the announcement, President Truman declared America's de facto recognition of the new Jewish state, thus giving diplomatic legitimacy and political support to the new state and paving the way for other nations to follow suit.

The new exhibit Truman & Israel commemorates the 60th anniversary of Truman's decision and will be open to the public February 15 through April 13, 2008. Additional programs and events have been planned to honor the 60th anniversary, including an international symposium in Jerusalem later this spring.

"The decision to recognize Israel was one of the most difficult of Truman's presidency," said Michael Devine, Truman Library director. "It is also considered to be one of the most significant foreign-policy actions in the history of the United States. The Truman Library is pleased to be able to draw on its collection to offer an inside look at the dramatic days and hours leading up to that decision."

Exhibition Highlights
Truman & Israel comprises two side-by-side exhibits, Inside the Decision and Portrait 2000.

Inside the Decision brings 1948 dramatically to life with firsthand accounts of the political battle leading up to the recognition of Israel. Multimedia stations offer perspectives from those closest to Truman at the time, including the President's longtime friend and former business partner Eddie Jacobson, who pleaded with Truman to meet with Jewish leader Chaim Weizmann. Among the many original artifacts and documents included in the exhibit:

  • President Truman's Cabinet chair
  • An Israeli war standard from Israel's first war of independence 1948-49
  • A portion of the original manuscript for the book Exodus, presented to President Truman in 1960 by the author Leon Uris
  • Bound presentation copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, originally given to Dr. Robert Ley, head of the German Labor Front of the Nazi Party
  • President Truman's statement offering "de facto" recognition to Israel, May 14, 1948
  • Correspondence between President Truman and several prominent people who had offered him advice on the issues of displaced persons and the recognition of Israel. Among those correspondents were Eleanor Roosevelt and Groucho Marx.
  • Original maps of the region used by the Truman Administration to follow the United Nations debate and other events associated with the end of the British mandate in Palestine and the partition of Palestine.
  • Harry Truman's original handwritten diary entries and letters to Bess Truman in which he makes candid assessments of the personalities and policies associated with his decision to recognize Israel

Portrait 2000 is presented as a companion exhibit. Organized by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education with funding from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the exhibit features 50 black-and-white portraits of Holocaust refugees and survivors who settled in Greater Kansas City.

Truman & Israel is made possible by the generous support of The Jacob & Frances Brown Family Fund, as well as The Sosland Foundation. The Truman Library gratefully acknowledges its presenting partner, the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, and exhibit committee members Joyce Hess, Gayle Krigel, Rosemary Nochlin, Vicki Reisler, Carol Sader, and Evy Tilzer.

Admission, Hours & Additional Information
Truman & Israel may be viewed in the Museum with the price of regular admission, which is free for children 5 and under, $3 for youths 6-18, $7 for adults, and $5 for senior adults 62 and older. To schedule group visits of this and the permanent exhibits of the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, please call 816.268.8221. For all other information, call 1-800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Located at 24 Highway and Delaware in historic Independence, Missouri-just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City-the Museum offers ample free parking and numerous nearby attractions, boutiques and restaurants.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is one of 12 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Since its dedication in 1957, the Truman Presidential Museum & Library has inspired millions of visitors. Step into a replica of Truman's Oval Office, test your Presidential mettle with interactive exhibits, and discover the powerful stories of an era that continues to shape our world today.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is supported, in part, by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the not-for-profit partner of the Truman Library. The Institute seeks to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history and culture, the process of governance, and the importance of public service, as exemplified by Harry S. Truman. To learn more, visit www.trumanlibrary.org.


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