Today is Harry S. Truman's birthday. Harry Truman (May 8, 1884 - December 26, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States (1945-1953). He succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his unprecedented fourth term. During World War I, Truman served in combat in France as an artillery officer in his National Guard unit. He gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee and was selected as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944. He used executive orders to end racial discrimination in the armed forces and created loyalty checks that dismissed thousands of communist supporters from office. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the defeat of Nazi Germany and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and the Truman Doctrine to contain communism.