2 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2021 4:44 AM by Michelle Kinnucan

    Seeking records of 1947 Truman assassination attempt

    Michelle Kinnucan Wayfarer

      It is alleged in Dear Mr. President . . .’ The Story of Fifty Years in the White House Mail Room (New York: J. Messner, 1949) by Ira R. T. Smith that in the context of "controversy ... including the Palestine question" in the summer of 1947 someone sent President Truman letter bombs "intended to kill" (see pp. 229-230).

       

      These allegations are repeated in a book by Truman's daughter, Margaret Truman, titled Harry S. Truman (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1973) where they are specifically attributed to Jewish terrorists based in Mandatory Palestine (see pp. 489-490). Margaret Truman's account is unsourced but appears derivative of Smith's.

       

      The allegations, citing Margaret Truman, also appear in an endnote (see n. 11, p. 331) in Political Assassinations by Jews: A Rhetorical Device for Justice by Nachman Ben-Yehuda (Albany: SUNY Pr., 1993).

       

      Are there any records in the Truman Library or elsewhere that address these allegations?

        • Re: Seeking records of 1947 Truman assassination attempt
          Tammy Williams Wayfarer

          Thank you for your question, Michelle! After consulting with my other colleagues at the Truman Library, we have heard this story before, but we don't remember if the bomb or bombs were actually mailed. We would need to do a little more research into this, but unfortunately, Truman Library staff are on 100% telework right now due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Once we are able to get back into the office, we can do a little more investigation and get back to you on this.

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            • Re: Seeking records of 1947 Truman assassination attempt
              Michelle Kinnucan Wayfarer

              Tammy, thank you for reply. For what's it worth, the sources I cited all indicate that the bombs were actually sent but were intercepted by mail room and/or Secret Service personnel.

               

              If so, the attempted bombings would have taken place at roughly the same time that the Jewish terrorist group Lehi, a.k.a. the Stern Gang, sent twenty-three letter bombs to a number of highly placed British officials, including Prime Minister Attlee and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, Winston Churchill (see Bruce Hoffman, Anonymous Soldiers (Knopf, 2015) p. 408-9 citing numerous sources).

               

              According to Margaret Truman, it was the Stern Gang who also tried to assassinate her father in the summer of 1947.