KEY WEST, Florida Keys — History and political aficionados can learn how America’s 33rd president dealt with Russia and the Cold War during the annual Truman Legacy Symposium on the island that was Harry S. Truman’s chosen retreat.
Exploring the lasting effects of Truman’s 1945-1953 presidency, the symposium is set for Friday and Saturday, May 18-19. Activities are headquartered at Key West’s Harry S. Truman Little White House, 111 Front St., where the former president spent 11 working vacations.
The carefully restored property is now Florida’s only presidential museum.
The event’s keynote speaker is to be Dr. Melvyn Leffler, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, who will explore the origins of the Cold War. A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, he is the author of “A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War.”
Other symposium presenters include author and Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel; Timothy Riley, director of the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri; Dr. Leopoldo Nuti, a Cold War expert from Italy’s University of Roma Tre; and Randy Sowell, archivist at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.
The symposium weekend begins Friday, March 18, with a 5:30 p.m. reception on the grounds of the Little White House, featuring Leffler’s keynote address at 6 p.m.
Saturday’s symposium is to begin at 8:30 a.m. at Key West’s Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St. According to Robert Wolz, executive director of the Little White House, presentations will explore topics including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that was created during Truman’s presidency, the Truman Doctrine that mandated military and economic aid to countries threatened by communism, the Iron Curtain and Key West’s Cold War connection.
The weekend schedule also features a Saturday luncheon at the Little White House featuring A.J. Baime, author of “The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World.”
Events are to conclude with a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the museum.
Event information, prices and ticketing: trumanlittlewhitehouse.com or 305-294-9911
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY