Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman and the Modern State of Israel
Linda Winer
Time Frame:
5-7 days
Recognition Of Israel
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

We will participate in cross curricular planning with the social studies teacher. Each student will work

on a one page biography of an individual from this time period. Some students may draw maps of the

present Middle East . Children will be encouraged to read a biography of an individual-Truman,

Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir or someone else.

Some students will give oral reports to their classmates.

A suitable short film will be shown to the class.


The Israeli=Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been simmering for decades. It is important for students of

history to understand how Israel came into being and its relationship to its Arab neighbors.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • Curriculum Standards for Social Studies-Bulletin of the National Council for the Teaching of Social
  • Studies.
  • Chart,interpret,use and distinguish various representations…such as maps.
  • Explain how governments(presidents)attempt to achieve their stated ideas at home…and
  • abroad
  • Use and analyze primary sources in reports and oral communication.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Dr.Michael Benson-“Harry S. Truman and the Recognition of Israel.”
  • “1948”-David Pietrusza
  • “Quest for Peace in the Middle East”-Michael J.Devine

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Balfour Declaration of 1917
  • Announcement of the recognition of the new government on a de facto basis on 5/14/1948
  • Israeli postage stamp honoring President Truman
  • Notes that Truman made on his daily schedule for May of 1948. 

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • We will explore the year 1948. Students will learn of the pressing issues facing

Truman during the crucial year of 1948. The young people will be encouraged to

research magazines of the period-such as “Life” and “Time” in their local libraries

and report on an eventful episode taking place. Students will see that Truman had a

lot to contend with during that fateful year of 1948.

  • Students will analyze closely the Balfour Declaration and come to their own conclusions

as to what it really meant.

  • The teacher will provide copious handouts, including pertinent chapters from

books and magazines.

  • Guest speakers will be introduced.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Students will take short answer quiz at the conclusion of the lessons.
  • Students will write an essay explaining whether or not they think President Truman did theright thing on May 14th.
  • Students who opt to give an oral report will be judged on content and delivery of speech.
  • Art work will be judged on its accuracy.