Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


President Truman's Address to the American people
on the need for Government operation of the Steel Mills
April 8, 1952
Broadcast from the White House at 10:30 p.m.

Listen to the speech, Part One; Part Two | Read transcript

Truman at his deskIn 1952, as American servicemen battled Communist forces in Korea, a steel strike seemed imminent. President Truman outlined the issues that separated the two sides--labor and management--and presented his plan to keep the steel mill in operation.

1. As you listen to President Truman's speech, list 3 effects a steel strike would have on the country.

a.
b.
c.

 

2. What two steps did President Truman take to keep the steel mills open?
a.
b.

 

3. What were the issues of disagreement for steel workers and steel company owners?

 

4. When did the workers threaten to begin a strike?

 

5. After an investigation, what settlement did the Wage Stabilization Board (WSB) recommend?

 

6. How did Truman justify supporting WSB recommendations?

 

7. What was Truman's response to management's insistence that a price increase was necessary?

 

8. How would a price increase impact the economy?

 

9. Compare the company profits with the proposed wage increase.

 

10.What happened at midnight on April 8?

 

11.What reasons did the President site for not invoking the Taft-Hartley Act?

 

12. What did Truman ask both sides to do?

 

Discussion Questions

1. Why was this an important speech for President Truman to give?

 

2. Based on his speech, what values, beliefs, or personal traits could be identified with President Truman?

 

3. Truman stated that the crisis required "everyone to sacrifice some of their own interests" for the good of the entire country. Give examples of other times in history when a Chief Executive has made this same request of the American people.

 

4. What, in your opinion, was the most compelling reason for Truman's decision to order a take- over of the steel mills?

 

5. What was the final result of the steel crisis?

 

Activity created by Jennifer Payne as part of the Truman Library Internship Program