A Rueful Harry Truman on the 3rd Anniversary of his Presidency: “I don't know whether I need congratulations or commiseration”

April 15, 1948

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A Rueful Harry Truman on the 3rd Anniversary of his Presidency: “I don't know whether I need congratulations or commiseration”
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 256

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      Background

      On the third anniversary of his sudden ascension to the presidency, Truman responds ruefully to an old friend’s congratulations. “I don't know whether I need congratulations or commiseration,” he writes, “probably the latter.”

      Things didn’t look particularly bright, that third anniversary, for the unelected President. With a rebellious House on the Hill, a crisis on Palestinian partition aboard, and - just the day before - 30,000 angry New York Jews rallying at Yankee Stadium to protest the country’s botched reversal of its initially pro-Israel policy – it hardly looked like Truman had a lock on the White House in 1948. His best bet was the unlikely Harold Stassen who, before becoming a perennial candidate for the Republican nomination, actually made a good showing in the early rounds of the ’48 campaign, beating Dewey, Taft, Vanderberg and Douglas MacArthur in Nebraska. “It looks as if Stassen upset the apple cart in Nebraska, and that the boys are worried about Ohio” Truman comments here. “Well as long as they can have troubles it will not injure our own prospects.”

      He was right, of course: Truman faced Dewey in ’48, was widely predicted to lose, but won - in an upset so close that the morning after, Truman was able to gleefully hold up the Chicago Daily Tribune with the banner headline “Dewey Defeats Truman."
      Typed Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, The White House, April 15, 1948. To Edward D. McKim in Omaha.  With typewritten transmittal envelope.
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      THE WHITE HOUSE

      WASHINGTON

      April 15, 1948

      Dear Eddie:

      Thanks for yours of the twelfth congratulating me on the Third Anniversary.  I don't know whether I need congratulations or commiseration - probably the latter.

      It looks as if Stassen upset the apple cart in Nebraska and that the boys are worried about Ohio.  Well as long as they can have troubles it will not injure our own prospects.

      Sincerely yours,

      HARRY TRUMAN

      Mr. Edward D. McKim
      300 Karbach Building
      Omaha, Nebraska 

      Page 2/3

      Page 2 transcript

      THE WHITE HOUSE 

      WASHINGTON, D.C. 24

      APR 15 

      8 30 PM

      1948

      Mr. Edward D. McKim

      300 Karbach Building

      Omaha, Nebraska

      Page 3/3

      Page 3 transcript

      Chicago Daily Tribune

      DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN