Newstalgia Reference Room - Truman Addresses The Rail Strike - 1946.


We tend to forget what a crucial role railroads played in our society during the 20th century. It was the main source of transportation over long distances for passengers (or medium distances for commuters) and for freight and raw materials. Air travel was still considered a luxury and our highway system was still evolving.

In 1946 the country was crippled from a strike by Railroad workers. Essentially, the entire nation was stranded, and the strike quickly escalated to crisis stage where President Truman addressed the country to declare a national emergency in an effort to bring the warring parties back to the bargaining table.

On May 24th he made a radio address and on May 25th he addressed an emergency session of Congress.

Here is that May 24th address by President Truman from the White House as broadcast over all networks.

Ironically, the strike was settled the next day as Truman addressed Congress. But until then, it was a nail-biter.

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