PAST EVENT RECORDINGS
The Truman Library Institute is now hosting virtual lectures, books talks, and moderated conversations. Enjoy watching past events, and register for upcoming programs.
November 14, 2023
Author Matthew Algeo retraces the Trumans’ 1958 Mediterranean vacation and visited the places they went with Picasso, including Picasso’s villa, Picasso’s ceramics studio in Vallauris, and Château Grimaldi, a museum in Antibes. A rigorous history with a heartwarming center, When Harry Met Pablo intertwines the biographies of Truman and Picasso, the history of modern art, and twentieth-century American politics, but at its core it is the touching story of two old men who meet for the first time and realize they have more in common—and are more alike—than they ever imagined.
November 2, 2023
On November 2, 1948, a politically divided nation went to the polls to elect a president, but the outcome was all but certain: Thomas Dewey was going to trounce Harry Truman. Now, on the 75th anniversary of that great upset, author A.J. Baime joins us for a livestream event focused on one of the greatest election stories of all times, in which Truman mounted a history-making comeback and staked a claim for a new course for America.
October 25, 2023
September 20, 2023
Join us in watching the much-anticipated biennial award program honoring Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War by Christian Ostermann, History and Public Policy Program director at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In the aftermath of World War II, American policymakers turned to the task of rebuilding Europe while keeping communism at bay. In Germany, the U.S. prioritized the political, economic, and, eventually, military integration of the fledgling Federal Republic with the West. The extraordinary success story of forging this alliance has dominated our historical understanding of the American-German relationship.
Most East Germans were largely left out of the story of U.S.–German relations, who found themselves caught under Soviet control and dearly paid the price for the country’s division. Ostermann takes an international approach — drawing on recently declassified documents from American, Russian, and German archives—to write the East Germans, both the leadership and general populace, back into history.
July 26-28, 2023
A National 75th Anniversary Commemoration
On July 26, 1948, with the stroke of a pen, President Harry S. Truman changed the course of American history. By signing Executive Order 9981, “Establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services,” he officially declared that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” His action reflected the growing realization by more and more Americans that our nation could no longer reconcile segregation with the values we had fought a war to uphold.
Seventy-five years on, during a three-day public symposium in Washington, D.C., the Truman Library Institute led the national commemoration of this landmark civil rights anniversary. Already, the Truman Civil Rights Symposium has garnered more than a quarter-million video views. And yet, numbers cannot convey the spirit of the Symposium—the histories provided by expert academic panels; the deeply personal stories of military leaders, veterans and service members; the unexpected moments of reckoning, remembrance and honor; and the unforgettable opportunity to share an evening with America’s 46th president, Joe Biden.
All of these moments, all of these stories—great American stories—were recorded and are available online.
May 11, 2023
We are happy to make available this sold-out event at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum. Featuring world chess champion, author and master of strategy, Garry Kasparov, “A Free World with Unity and Purpose” encourages those who care about global democracy to remember the “urgent lessons of the Berlin Airlift.” The airlift was a tremendous practical achievement, as well as a potent example of individual and collective leadership and courage. With Russia’s war on Ukraine raging and China increasingly aggressive, Kasparov calls for an immediate renewal of the will shown by President Harry Truman to stand up to belligerent authoritarian regimes on every front.
May 11, 2023
On May 14, 1948, President Harry S. Truman recognized the new state of Israel, just 11 minutes after its founding. It was the endorsement the fledgling nation needed to legitimize its sovereignty. Seventy-five years on, Ambassador Michael Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., visited the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum to lay a wreath on the President Truman’s tomb, tour the newly renovated museum and deliver remarks during a private ceremonial event. This recorded event also features remarks by Clifton Truman Daniel, the president’s eldest grandson.
April 3, 2023
Two years after V-E Day, Europe lay in ruins, with its economies devastated and its people facing famine. In a commencement address at Harvard University, Secretary George Marshall called for American assistance in restoring the economic infrastructure of Europe. Western Europe responded favorably, and the Truman administration called for legislation. The resulting massive aid package – the biggest of its kind and named for Marshall – provided more than $13 billion in funding for housing, infrastructure and industry. The story of Europe’s post-WWII recovery is often told with numbers. Now, Mark Adams, education director at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, shares the human side of the story, drawing on the Truman Library’s rich archival collection. From drawings by schoolchildren to an urn of blood-stained soil to the original audio recording of General Marshall’s Harvard commencement speech, we’ll delve into the vault for a stunning collection of artifacts and a fascinating “Out of the Archives” experience.
March 23, 2023 | Women Rising / Truman Legacy Series
New York Times bestselling author Liza Mundy captivates a live and virtual audience with her story of Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. This special event was presented as part of the Truman Library Institute’s annual series, Women Rising. This new Truman Legacy Series is generously sponsored by the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund to profile the women who found their place on the world stage during the Truman administration; to reflect on the contributions of women; and to serve as a catalyst for promoting women as activists and leaders.
October 6, 2022 | Truman Economic Medal Award Program
As all eyes are on historic inflation, global shortages and international macroeconomic chaos, former Fed vice chair Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. is in demand for his unparalleled experience and insights on the three crises we have experienced – health, social, justice – and what must be done to mitigate the damage as we navigate a post-COVID world. At a time when many Americans lack of confidence in the economy’s ability to respond to emerging challenges, Dr. Ferguson will focus his remarks on the future of capitalism.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. is the recipient of the 2022 Truman Medal for Economic Policy.
May 25, 2022 | Distinguished Author Event
Presidential historian Mark K. Updegrove discusses his latest biography, Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency, with Truman Library Director Kurt Graham. Updegrove eschews the Camelot myths and paints a full, textured portrait of a complicated leader, examining the major challenges JFK faced and the influential figures that surrounded him.
March 15, 2022
The new Truman Legacy Series, Women Rising, lifts off to rave reviews. Join Katherine Sharp Landdeck, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Texas Woman’s University, for the inspiring true story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II. The Women Rising series is generously sponsored by the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund to profile the women who found their place on the world stage during the Truman administration; to reflect on the contributions of women; and to serve as a catalyst for promoting women as activists and leaders.
March 15, 2022
To mark the 75th anniversary of the Truman Doctrine, John Avlon, CNN senior political analyst and author, considers the increasing relevance of Truman’s foreign policy legacy in light of renewed Russian aggression in Europe.
February 24, 2022
From best-selling author A.J. Baime comes a riveting new biography. Walter F. White led two lives: one as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and the NAACP in the early 20th century; the other as a white newspaperman who covered lynching crimes in the Deep South at the blazing height of racial violence. Born mixed race and with very fair skin and straight hair, White was able to “pass” for white. He leveraged this ambiguity as a reporter, bringing to light the darkest crimes in America and helping to plant the seeds of the civil rights movement. A.J. Baime is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World, Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America’s Soul, and The Arsenal of Democracy. He is a longtime regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, Popular Science, and Men’s Journal. He holds an MA in literature from NYU and currently lives in northern California. This Distinguished Author Event is part of the Truman Legacy Series “To Secure These Rights,” made possible, in part, by The Boeing Company.
December 15, 2021
In 1946, Black WWII veterans who had risked their lives overseas returned home to another fight for freedom. In the weeks and months following V-J Day, violence against Black Americans – and veterans, in particular – soared. President Truman’s response was clear – “I shall fight to end evils like this!” – but he was frustrated both by the judicial branch and the southern Democratic bloc in Congress. Undeterred, Truman drew on the Constitution and his presidential powers to issue Executive Order 9808, creating a 16-member Presidential Committee on Civil Rights. Truman’s landmark action 75 years ago this December was the first significant federal reply to racial violence since Reconstruction. What would be the findings of the committee, and how would Harry Truman—an unlikely champion for racial equity—respond?
December 2, 2021
In this episode of our popular Whistle Stops series, Claire McCaskill hops on board to explore Harry Truman’s evolution from the “Senator from Pendergast,” a naïve tool of gangsters, to the “Senator from Missouri” who will be featured on the front page of the New York Times and TIME magazine for his work on the Truman Committee. Through documents, artifacts, and photographs, this stop shares the story of what Truman called his “ten happiest years” … and how those years landed him the vice-presidential nomination in 1944.
November 22, 2021
Truman and Stalin. Truman and MacArthur. Truman and Acheson. Truman and Eisenhower. The remarkable rise of Harry Truman from Midwestern obscurity to world-shaping power was very much a story of personal relationships. One of the most illuminating relationships in Truman’s career began long before Harry Truman went to Washington, and endured to the end of his life. Tom Veatch, a brilliant Kansas City engineer and founding partner of Black & Veatch, played a key role in Truman’s political education and gave a crucial boost to the future president when Truman needed it most.
November 2, 2021
Travel back in time to the “wide open” town of Kansas City, where Prohibition was rarely enforced, the mob was ascendant and urban vice was rampant. At the center of it all was political boss Tom Pendergast. Many saw Tom as a “Robin Hood” figure who secured jobs, food and clothes for the poor, but his generosity always came at a price. What, then, is Pendergast’s price when he offers Harry Truman the position of Presiding County Judge in 1926? And what tradeoffs will the principled future president be willing to make during the early days of his political career? John Herron, Director of the Kansas City Public Library, is your guest conductor for this thrilling ride!
October 14, 2021
Don’t miss the next stop on your Whistle Stop tour, when award-winning military historian D.M. Giangreco reveals the little known-story of Captain Harry and his remarkable military performance in World War I. You’ll discover new depths to the endlessly fascinating character of American’s 33rd president.
October 7, 2021
From November 20, 1945 to October 1, 1946, leading members of the Nazi Party had to answer to an international court for conspiracy, war crimes, and crimes against peace and humanity. Known today as the Nuremberg Trials, this “alternative justice” set a remarkable precedent for trying war crimes and had a lasting effect on international criminal law. An expert panel, led by Truman Library Director Kurt Graham, explores the questions: Was justice served? and What is the legacy of the Nuremberg Trials?
October 5, 2021
At our second Whistle Stop tour of the all-new Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Cassie Pikarsky, takes a look at the early experiences of Harry Truman as told in the “Plow to Politics” gallery of the new Museum. Hop on board to take a closer look at the man who said, “Not all readers become leaders. But all leaders must be readers.”
September 30, 2021
Test your Truman know-how with Harold Ivan Smith, author of Almost Everything Worth Knowing About Harry S. Truman: 33rd President of the United States. Smith will quiz participants using some of the more than 600 questions in his book and share the fascinating stories behind the answers.
September 23, 2021
Climb aboard for a “Whistle Stop” tour of the $29 million renovation at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. During this first stop, you’ll travel to the fast-paced, history-packed first days of Truman’s presidency, from the 1944 Democratic Convention to FDR’s death in 1945. With author A.J. Baime as your guide, this 30-min program sets the course for upcoming destinations on this virtual “Whistle Stop” tour. Every stop opens the Museum doors for you to explore the fascinating exhibits, artifacts, films and stories inside the acclaimed and all-new Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.
July 15, 2021
An enduring myth of the 20th century is that the United States rapidly became a superpower after WWII, when the British Empire – the greatest in history – was too wounded to maintain its clout. In a discussion of his award-winning book, Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957, Derek Leebaert debunks this myth and shares a character-driven narrative that examines the evolving relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom through the lens of pivotal policy and events from the Truman Doctrine to the Vietnam War.
March 29, 2021
Watch a riveting exclusive preview of the PBS American Experience premiere of The Blinding of Isaac Woodard. Author and journalist Michele Norris moderates the panel discussion, which includes filmmaker Jamila Ephron and historian Kari Frederickson. In 1946, Isaac Woodard, a Black army sergeant on his way home to South Carolina after serving in WWII, was pulled from a bus for arguing with the driver. The local chief of police savagely beat him, leaving him unconscious and permanently blind. The shocking incident made national headlines and, when the police chief was acquitted by an all-white jury, the blatant injustice would change the course of American history. Based on Richard Gergel’s book Unexampled Courage, the film details how the crime led to the racial awakening of President Harry Truman, who desegregated federal offices and the military two years later.
March 10, 2021
75 years ago, Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri that is now considered one of the opening volleys in the Cold War. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” Churchill warned. Now, watch the anniversary event with special guests David Von Drehle, R. Crosby Kemper III and Candice Millard. Best-selling authors and Churchill experts, they go beyond the historic transcript to deliver rich portraits of Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and a friendship that changed the world.
February 23, 2021
75 years ago, an American diplomat living in Moscow sent an 8000-word telegram to President Truman’s State Department with a clear warning about Soviet expansion and influence. Today, “The Long Telegram” is regarded as a key foundational U.S. document, alongside the Declaration of Independence. What role did this 19-page cable have in shaping Cold War policy, and how does it continue to inform foreign relations and diplomacy today? Find out as Truman Library Director Kurt Graham visits with Evan Thomas, co-author of The Wise Men.
February 13, 2021
Author Catherine Grace Katz shares the untold story of the three intelligent and glamorous young women who accompanied their famous fathers – Averell Harriman, Winston Churchill and FDR – to the Yalta Conference in the waning days of World War II. Honoring the 136th birthday of First Lady Bess Wallace Truman, this special event was presented on Saturday, February 13 by the Independence Pioneers Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution, in partnership with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
January 14, 2021
The 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, and the 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, grew up 150 miles apart in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. In 1947, President Truman urged his fellow Midwesterner to seek the Democratic presidential nomination with Truman as his vice-presidential running mate. Instead, Ike won the 1952 presidential election as a Republican and the bitter election campaign soured the once friendly and close working relationship between the two men, whose careers and decisions shaped world events.
In a special virtual event, Tim Rives, deputy director at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum, and Sam Rushay, supervisory archivist at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, will discuss these two remarkable presidents from America’s heartland, including their united principles and divided politics.
December 17, 2020
President Harry S. Truman was in office for eight Christmases but he only spent two of them in the White House. In 1945, Truman had planned to stay in Washington, D.C. but became so homesick he braved flying in a blizzard to be with his family on Christmas Day. Gather around the virtual hearth to hear stories of being home for the holidays with the Trumans from Doug Richardson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services at the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, including what happened when Truman appeared on the Wallace front porch on December 25, 1945.
November 23, 2020
The night before its release, New York Times bestselling author Joe Scarborough discussed his newest book, Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization, with moderator, former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. In Saving Freedom, Scarborough explores a turning point when patriotic Americans of both political parties worked together to defeat tyranny. Led by the untested President Truman, these efforts were a radical shift from 150 years of isolationism that proved to be the pivotal moment that guaranteed Western Europe’s freedom, the American Century’s rise, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.
Joe Scarborough is a Washington Post columnist, co-host of MSNBC’s popular morning program, Morning Joe, and a former United States congressman. He has been named to the “Time 100” list of the world’s most influential people.
This paid event included a signed copy of Saving Freedom. To watch the event and receive a copy of the book, please contact Cinzia Shelton at Cinzia.Shelton@TrumanLibraryInstitute.org.
November 14, 2020
Just days after what was a truly unprecedented presidential election, renowned historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham appeared as the featured guest at the Bennett Forum on the Presidency. Along with David Von Drehle of The Washington Post, Meacham helped decipher the pivotal 2020 election results, analyzed the current moment from a historical perspective, and looked back at other critical times in American politics and life, including Truman’s 1948 election. A virtual Q&A followed the conversation.
The Bennett Forum was offered exclusively to Truman Library Institute members. If you are a member and would like to watch the recording, please contact Cinzia Shelton at Cinzia.Shelton@TrumanLibraryInstitute.org.
October 22, 2020
From the nation’s inception to the pivotal Truman years to today, the United States’ foreign policy has been shaped by key strategies and traditions. Based on his latest book, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, Former President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick discussed the history of America’s diplomacy tactics with The Washington Post’s David Von Drehle.
Zoellick was President of the World Bank Group from 2007 to 2012, U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005, and Deputy Secretary of State from 2005 to 2006. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a member of the Truman Library Institute’s 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee.
September 15, 2020
What did FDR forbid Vice President Truman from doing? What two foreign policies did Truman describe as “two halves of the same walnut”?
Author Harold Ivan Smith posed questions like these in this interactive webinar based on his latest book, Almost Everything Worth Knowing About Harry S. Truman: 33rd President of the United States. Smith quizzed participants using some of the more than 600 questions in his book and shared the fascinating stories behind the answers.
Harold Ivan Smith is an independent Truman scholar who has dedicated a decade to researching the well-known legacy of and lesser known facts about the Man from Missouri. He is also the author of Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography, about Truman’s predecessor’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt.
September 1, 2020
From one of the foremost scholars of the Asia-Pacific War, Richard B. Frank’s latest book Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War, Volume I: July 1937-May 1942 is the first volume of a trilogy on Asia in World War II. Tower of Skulls provides dramatic details on the battles of the Pacific Theater while analyzing the larger political, economic and social effects of the war.
In this webinar commemorating the 75th anniversary of Japan’s signing of the instrument of surrender, Frank discussed the Pacific Theater in World War II. Frank is an independent scholar specializing in the Asia-Pacific War who has written a number of books, including Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, which was the 2000 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Book Award.
August 6, 2020
Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace‘s latest book, Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World, tells the captivating story of the months leading up to the dropping of the bomb.
In this special webinar, Wallace is in conversation with Truman Library Director Kurt Graham, on the 75th anniversary of this monumental event. This program was presented by the Truman Library Institute, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum and the Eisenhower Foundation.
July 30, 2020
More than any other decision in his presidency, Harry S. Truman is perhaps most known for dropping the atomic bombs that ended World War II. Among the Truman Library’s collection is a number of fascinating artifacts and documents from this eventful moment in history, from the sketch of the first atomic bomb’s explosion in New Mexico to the safety plug pulled from Fat Man.
“Out of the Archives: The Atomic Bomb,” was a webinar presented on July 30, 2020, in honor of the 75th anniversary of Truman’s decision to drop the bomb, and featured Truman Library Education Director Mark Adams.
July 22, 2020
With Europe lying in tatters following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the leaders of the “Big Three” gathered in Potsdam to outline a plan for peace. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gathered to determine the fate of post-war Europe in this historic conference that laid the foundation for international relations in the coming decades.
This webinar featured Michael Neiberg, whose book Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe won the 2016 Truman Book Award. Neiberg discussed the dramatic power dynamics and negotiations of this historic conference and reflected on its significance 75 years later.
June 30, 2020
Harry S. Truman had been president for less than 100 days when he addressed the delegates of the United Nations Conference in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, following the signing of the UN Charter. On his way back to Washington, he stopped over in Kansas City for his first visit home as President, where he would be greeted by the largest crowds in the history of Jackson County. In his brief stay home, he was awarded with an honorary degree by UMKC, he held a press conference in Independence, he got a haircut from a WWI comrade, and he shopped at his old business partner Eddie Jacobson’s new menswear store.
This webinar featured Doug Richardson</strong>, Chief of Interpretations and Visitor Services at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, sharing stories from Truman’s first visit back home to Independence as President of the United States.
June 18, 2020
Truman Library Institute members were invited to join us online for an exclusive update on the renovation taking place at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, followed by a special presentation from acclaimed author Kate Andersen Brower. Her newest book, Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump, offers a poignant look at the lives of five former presidents, including the surprising friendships they have formed through shared perspective and empathy.
This recording is available only to our generous members. If you are a member and would like to watch the recording, please contact Cinzia Shelton at Cinzia.Shelton@TrumanLibraryInstitute.org.
May 21, 2020
Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Harry Truman may have been unlikely friends, but a common passion for public service united them and forged a bond between the two Midwesterners. As Truman faced a daunting food crisis in the aftermath of World War II, he turned to Hoover, the former head of the Food Administration and the only past president alive during Truman’s presidency, for his unique expertise. The two presidents worked together to provide food relief to millions of hungry Europeans and ended up forming a lifelong friendship.
This webinar featured a special conversation with Truman Library director Kurt Graham and supervisory archivist Sam Rushay along with Hoover Presidential Library director Thomas Schwartz and supervisory archivist Craig Wright, discussing the relationship between the presidents in providing food relief following World War II.
April 13-17, 2020
The Truman Library Institute commemorated the 75th anniversary of Truman’s presidency on April 12 with a special webinar series looking back on Truman’s first few days as President. Hosts Clifton Truman Daniel, President Truman’s eldest grandson, and Truman Library Director Dr. Kurt Graham led webinar discussions in an interactive, five-part series about Truman’s first days as the leader of the free world.
This webinar series originally took place the week of April 13-17, 2020, and the recordings are available below:
The Accidental President – April 13, 2020
Dr. Kurt Graham, Director of the Truman Library, tells the story of Truman’s dramatic ascension to the presidency when Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.
Your Questions Answered– April 17, 2020
The final webinar in the series features the President’s grandson Clifton Truman Daniel and Truman Library Education Director Mark Adams answering questions submitted earlier in the week.