When they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me.
to reporters the day after his accession to the Presidency on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt
on 13 April 1945
- If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
associated with Truman, but attributed by him to Harry Vaughan, his ‘military jester’; in Time 28 April 1952
- Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.
address at the National Archives, Washington, D.C., 15 December 1952
- I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
television interview, Person to Person CBS 27 May 1955
- I never give them [the public] hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it is hell.
in Look 3 April 1956
- A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead 10 or 15 years.
in New York World Telegram and Sun 12 April 1958
- It's a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours.
in Observer 13 April 1958
- Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.
lecture at Columbia University, 28 April 1959, in Truman Speaks (1960)
- He'll sit right here and he'll say do this, do that! And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won't be a bit like the Army.
Margaret Truman Harry S. Truman (1973)
- I didn't fire him [General MacArthur] because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.
Merle Miller Plain Speaking (1974) ch. 24
- Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it.
- The buck stops here.
unattributed motto on Truman's desk