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President Harry Truman


On this date in 1950, some 35,000 people gathered at Fargo’s Great Northern Railway depot to see President Harry Truman, who was touring the western states. Truman spoke for 22 minutes and then shook hands with people in the crowd.

Truman inherited his job when President Delano Roosevelt died in office. Although Roosevelt oversaw most of WWII, it was Truman who was in charge when the U.S. used the atomic bomb on Japan. He was also in office when the Korean War broke out about five weeks after he was in Fargo. This war, which was officially labeled a police action, became enormously unpopular. Tens of thousands of casualties prompted one survey to name it an “utterly useless war.” Russia, too, had the atomic bomb by this time; Truman walked a tight wire to avoid a full-blown nuclear eruption while simultaneously trying to halt the spread of communism in Asia.

Truman was back in Fargo to defend his administration and to campaign for presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson on Sept. 29, 1952. Only three to five thousand people turned out for that visit.

By Merry Helm