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vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear
itself." When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt directed
organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global war. During this period he directed
the war effort but also contemplated the planning of a United Nations in which international
difficulties could be resolved. As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on
April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the beginning
of his fourth term as President.

Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Third U.S. President, 1945-1953: Harry S. Truman was born in
Lamar, Missouri, in 1884. He grew up in Independence, and for 12 years prospered as a Missouri
farmer. He went to France during World War I as a captain in the Field Artillery. Returning, he
married Elizabeth Virginia Wallace, and opened a haberdashery in Kansas City. A very active
Freemason, Truman received his Masonic degrees in Belton Lodge No. 450 in Grandview,
Missouri in 1909. In 1911, Truman and several other Masons organized Grandview Lodge No.
618 and Truman served as the first Master of the Lodge. In 1940, Truman was elected Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri and would serve as such until October 1941. Truman
became a U.S Senator in 1934 and was active in monitoring the war effort while in the Senate.
Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt chose Truman to be his Vice-Presidential candidate in the 1944
elections, which Roosevelt won. During his few weeks as Vice President, Truman scarcely saw
President Roosevelt, and received no briefing on the development of the atomic bomb or the
unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia. Suddenly these and a host of other wartime problems
became Truman's to solve when, on April 12, 1945, he became President upon the death of
Roosevelt. He told reporters, "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me."
As President, Truman made some of the most crucial decisions in history. Soon after V-E Day, the
war against Japan had reached its final stage. An urgent plea to Japan to surrender was rejected.
Truman, after consultations with his advisers, ordered atomic bombs dropped on cities devoted to
war work. Two were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese surrender quickly followed in 1945.
In 1948, campaigning against the backdrop of crises in foreign affairs around the globe, Truman
won a term as President in his own right. Deciding not to run for a second term, Truman retired
from the Presidency in 1953 and returned to Independence, Missouri where he died on December
26, 1972 at the age of 88.

Gerald R. Ford, Thirty-Eighth U.S President, 1974-1977: Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913,
Gerald R. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He starred on the University of Michigan
football team, and then went to Yale where he served as assistant coach while earning his law
degree. During World War II he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy. After the
war he returned to Grand Rapids, where he began the practice of law, and entered Republican
politics. In 1948 he was elected to Congress where he developed a reputation for integrity and
openness. That reputation made him popular during his twenty-five years in Congress where he
served as House Minority Leader from 1965 to 1973. Ford was initiated in Freemasonry on
September 30, 1949 in Malta Lodge No. 465 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1951 he received the
Fellowcraft degree and was raised to the Master Mason degree in Columbia Lodge No. 3 in
Washington, D.C. as a courtesy for Malta Lodge while Ford served in Congress. When Ford took
the oath of office as President on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under
extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our
hearts." It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under

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