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How Did Former US President Harry S. Truman Learn About the Manhattan Project?

During the Second World War, powerhouses like the United States started working on nuclear weapons to destroy their enemies and eventually win the war. The project to create a fully functional atomic weapon was kept a secret the whole time. If so, how did former US President Harry Truman find out about it?

While serving in the Senate, Harry S. Trueman took note of funding a project labeled “Expediting Production.” However, there was no further detail about the project. He only found out about it when he became President in 1945.

Who is Harry Truman?

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri. He was the oldest of three children. Their family depended on farming as their livelihood. John Truman, his father, was a livestock dealer.

Their family moved a lot when he was growing up, from one small town to another. By the time he was 6, they had settled in Independence, Missouri, so that Truman could attend Sunday school at the local Presbyterian Church. However, he did not receive formal education until he was eight years old.

He went on to study at the Independence Highschool. He graduated in 1901 and continued his education at Spalding’s Commercial College in Kansas City. He studied bookkeeping but left a year later.

He worked in the mailroom of The Kansas City Star for his first job. He went on to take a timekeeper job at a construction site in the Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Before he was drafted into the army, he worked as a clerk at the National Bank of Commerce. He did this job with his brother. (Source: Atomic Heritage)

Truman’s Life After the First World War

After World War I, Truman started investing in businesses to earn more. Though he was able to make some money from his enterprises, these were not proven successful in the long run. He took night classes to acquire a law degree at the Kansas City Law School but did not complete it.

Even if he did not complete his studies, he earned enough credits to receive a law license. He served as a county judge during this time. Truman was quite successful as a county judge that the road to politics was a run at the right path.

He wanted to run as Governor or Congress but became a US Senator instead. (Source: Atomic Heritage)

Harry Truman and the Manhattan Project

Truman is the only US president since William McKinley not to have a college degree. Before he won the presidency, he was already curious about a classified project that needed Expediting Production while he was a senator. He asked the Secretary of War about it then, but he was not entitled to any information about it.

Fast forward to the time he was the sitting president, the same Secretary of War explained the entirety of the Manhattan Project to Truman.

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd United States President. He has served his nation for two terms as president and has led his country through the final years of World War II. (Source: Atomic Heritage)

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