TRUMAN , Harry S. (1884-1972), President. Typed letter signed ("Harry"), as Senator, to Fred J. Bowman, Washington, D. C. 4 August 1944. WITH THREE-LINE AUTOGRAPH POSTSCRIPT. 1 page, 4to, on United States Senate stationery.
"THEY ALMOST TORE ME TO PIECES WHEN I WAS HOME"
Fresh from his fateful nomination in Chicago to become FDR's Vice-president, Truman thanks one of his World War I comrades for his support. "I cannot tell you how much I appreciated your letter of congratulations," he writes Bowman. "Bess and I were both sorry we didn't get to see you and Mrs. Bowman again before we left Chicago. I am leaving today for a fishing trip over the week end and also hope to get a little rest. They almost tore me to pieces when I was home. I will of course give you a ring whenever I get to Chicago." In the autograph postscript, Truman writes: "You sure did a lot for us at the Convention. I can't tell you how much we appreciated it."
Truman's selection for the VP nomination that summer came at the end of one of the most convoluted set of maneuvers that FDR ever carried out. Initially floating the name of Jimmy Byrnes, his War Mobilization director, Roosevelt met opposition from the big city bosses. Byrnes was a Southerner hostile to civil rights, weak on labor; and he had dropped his native Catholicism to become an Episcopalian. He managed to offend every major constituency of the Democratic Party. Roosevelt then toyed with the idea of tapping William O. Douglas or even keeping Wallace on the ticket. He went so far as to assure Wallace that he hoped the delegates would keep him "on the team." Yet at the same time he continued to assure Byrnes that he was his preference. At length, Roosevelt finally fixed on Truman--the one man who did not want the job! Hearing of Truman's resistance, Roosevelt bellowed, "Well, you tell that Senator that if he wants to break up the Democratic Party in the middle of the war, that's his responsibility." Hearing Roosevelt's remark, Truman responded, "Well, if that's the situation, I'll have to say yes. But why the hell didn't he tell me in the first place?" (McCullough, Truman, 314).