Was Harry Truman a Freemason?

Harry S. Truman (born 1884, Missouri) was the 33rd President of the United States. Like his immediate predecessor, President Roosevelt, Truman was a Freemason. Truman served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri and was a 33rd Degree Freemason.


Who was Harry S. Truman?

Truman took the oath as the 33rd president of the United States after the sudden death of President Roosevelt. Truman’s first Presidential term saw the first ever nuclear weapon being used on Japan in 1945 and the Allied victory in World War 2.

He was also known for the Marshall Plan that aimed to recover Europe both economically and politically. His predecessor, President Roosevelt, was a Freemason.

Scroll down further if you just want to read the Freemasonry parts.


Truman’s Early Years

Harry Truman as a young boy.

Unlike Roosevelt, who grew up in wealth, Truman’s is rags to riches story. Truman was born into a poor family in 1884 in Lamar, Missouri and he was brought up on a farm. He had a quite tough life since his childhood.

Harry Truman’s parents could not afford his college expense so he started working at various jobs including farming, bookkeeping and oil drilling.


Truman drops out of college

Dropping out of college seems to be a habit among some of the greatest minds. He tried his hands at Business and Law, before dropping out. Truman at the time of becoming President was only the 2nd President not to have a college degree.


Truman in World War 1

Truman joined Freemasonry during service in the National Guard.

With no luck in college, Truman applied to the prestigious US Military Academy at West Point, but was refused due to poor eye-sight. Not being easily put off, Truman joined the National Guard, based in Missouri. It is during his service in the National Guard that Truman became a Freemason.

Truman would go on to be deployed in France during WW1, again with the Army National Guard. He would rise to become a commander of an Artillery Battery and would even assist the infamous General Patton’s Tank brigade as it rolled through Europe.

Such war-time skills and leadership would earn him medals as well as provide the experience he needed to take on political life.


Truman in World War 2

Joseph Stalin (to left), President Truman (Center), Prime Minister Churchill of UK (Right, also a Freemason).

On April 12, 1945, President Roosevelt died after long standing medical issues and failing health. Harry Truman had been serving as Roosevelt’s Vice-President and so was sworn in as President of the United States on the same day Roosevelt passed away.

Truman was left with the tremendous responsibility of concluding World War 2. By now, Allied troops had defeated most Nazi forces (D-Day having started the previous year). Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, just one month into Truman’s Presidency – Hitler committed suicide.


Decision to use Nuclear weapons

The Imperial Japanese forces at this point still refused surrender and fought on. During this time, the US, under the Manhattan Project, had been secretly developing the world’s first nuclear bomb. Truman only found out about the nuclear project after being sworn in.

After deliberation and consulting with Allied leaders, Truman concluded that using the Nuclear weapons would be the lesser to two evils, as it would end the brutal War sooner, saving lives on both sides.

Truman would take the ominous and controversial executive decision to drop two Nuclear bombs on Japan, for the first  and only time in history. On August 6, 1945, the first nuclear bomb struck the city of Hiroshima and three days later, another struck Nagazaki.

Japan surrendered unconditionally the day after and World War 2 was effectively over. The decision to use these weapons is in hindsight highly controversial. Truman considered the option an awful one to have to use, and regretted what he considered the necessity of their use.



Harry S. Truman and Freemasonry

President Harry Truman in his Masonic apron. Truman was a 33rd Degree Freemason.

Truman was a high ranking Freemason, much like some of his US President predecessors. Again, like many Masons, he joined the Order before stepping into high political power, not after.

P.S. It’s a handy coincidence that he’s the 33rd President – the 33rd degree in Freemasonry being the highest Masonic degree, numerically speaking. (Truman became a 33rd Degree Mason).


Truman joins Freemasonry

Harry Truman received his first Masonic Degree, thereby being initiated into Freemasonry, in 1909. Truman was initiated into a Masonic Lodge called “Belton Lodge No.450” in Missouri.

It’s a misconception that individuals only join Freemasonry when they’re part of the elite. Truman was only a junior officer in the National Guard at this point. Freemasonry takes people in and makes them better.

This Masonic Lodge then split to form another Masonic Lodge called “Grand View Lodge No.618”, and Truman would become the new Lodge’s first Worshipful Master (highest officer in a Masonic Lodge). He also served at least 4 years as secretary of this Masonic Lodge and served a second term as Worshipful Master of the Lodge.


Truman the Grand Master Freemason

Truman became the highest ranking Masonic officer in the State of Missouri by being elected as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, in September of 1940 and held this role until October 1941.

As Grand Master, Truman held authority over all Masonic Lodges and Masonic activity in the whole State of Missouri. The Grand Master in Freemasonry is the most powerful Masonic Officer in a certain country or State.

Truman’s tenure as Grand Master occurred before he became President. When he eventually did become President, he considered his past role as Grand Master as one of the greatest honors of his life.


Truman reaches the 33rd Degree of Freemasonry

President Truman leaving the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Virginia, 1950. George Washington was a dedicated Freemason.

In Freemasonry, there are 3 degrees or levels, the highest being the 3rd Degree – The Master Mason. However, there are optional offshoot degrees of Freemasonry, that although higher in number, are not considered higher in rank than the 3rd Degree.

The highest of these alternate degrees is the infamous, and very rarely achieved, 33rd Degree. The 33rd Degree is an extremely prestigious rank in Freemasonry and only a handful of Masons will ever read this level.

President Harry Truman was made a 33rd Degree Freemason on October 9, 1945, shortly after Japan had surrendered. It was the culmination of his Masonic Career, and he is the only US President to have been made a 33rd Degree Freemason.



President Harry Truman rose from humble beginnings to become the US President that would oversee Allied victory in World War 2. He took the controversial decision to use nuclear weapons for the first time, a decision he felt was an awful one to be forced to make.

Like his numerous predecessor Presidents, Truman was a committed Freemason. Truman reached the highest levels of Freemasonry, becoming a 33rd Degree Freemason, a very rare thing indeed. President Harry Truman is one of the most influential figures of the last century.


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