What Did Harry S. Truman Do During World War II?

President Harry S. Truman oversaw the surrender of German troops, ordered the bombing of Japan and ratified the charter that established the United Nations. Although President Roosevelt put many of the policies that led to the end of the war in place before his death, Truman is credited with ending World War II.

In April 1945, President Truman accepted the surrender of German troops and ended the war in Europe. In July, he traveled to Potsdam to meet with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin to decide Germany's fate. While they agreed that the country should be occupied and demilitarized, the three leaders were unable to agree on a singular policy regarding reparations, settling on dividing Germany into east and west zones.

By August 1945, Truman turned his attention to the Pacific and ordered atomic bombs dropped on Japan, thus ending the war and preventing the massive American military casualties that would have been the result of an invasion. Some historians argue that the bombs also served as a message to Stalin, warning him against acting aggressively during post-war negotiations.

Truman joined the leaders of 50 other nations and signed the charter that established the United Nations, solidifying it as a global organization dedicated to maintaining peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation and promoting human rights and international freedom.