President Harry Truman & his Historic Decision

Harry_S_TrumanHarry Truman, the 33rd U.S president assumed office following the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. During his presidency Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, helped rebuild postwar Europe, worked to contain communism and was the first world leader to support the New established state of Israel.

Truman began his political career in 1922 as a county judge in Missouri and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1934. Three months after becoming vice president in 1945, Truman ascended to the presidency. In 1948, he was reelected for another administration.

The close ties between the State of Israel and the United States began their official existence within minutes of the declaration of the establishment of the reborn Jewish state on May 14, 1948.

Without hesitation, upon learning of that declaration, president Truman, cabled the new government of Israel, proclaiming recognition of the Israeli provisional government. In doing so, the US became the first country in the world to grant official recognition to the new State of Israel.

His decision, coming only minutes after the new Israeli state was formed in a portion of the former British mandate of Palestine, gave immediate legitimacy to a country that existed only on paper and in the hearts of the world-wide Jewish community.

Truman’s decision to recognize Israel was one of the most difficult decisions of his presidency, according to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Many on his staff and in his cabinet argued against recognition, in part because it would anger the surrounding Arab nations and threaten access to the vast oil reserves they held.

Nevertheless, Truman decided to recognize Israel in order to provide for a Jewish homeland. His decision was largely personal, stemming from his understanding of the Bible and from his interpretation of historical texts. He was also swayed by the advocacy of longtime Jewish friends.