Presidential Management and Budgeting from War to Peace: Truman’s First Budget Director, Harold D. Smith, 1945–1946


  • Mordecai Lee University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee



US Bureau of the Budget, Harold D. Smith, President Harry Truman, Cutback Management, Reorganization


This article provides a glimpse into cutback management long before the term came into use. The end of World War II was a major transitional stage in public administration, including demobilization, abolishing wartime agencies, and cutting military spending. It also included the need for novel governmental structures to deal with new subjects emanating from the war, including how to govern atomic energy, how to administer science research, merging the military services, and a policymaking structure to implement the goal of full employment. As Truman’s budget director and de facto manager-in-chief of the executive branch, Harold D. Smith was at the crossroads of practically everything from April 1945 to June 1946. What did he do and how did it do it?

Author Biography

Mordecai Lee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Mordecai Lee is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research focuses on government history and public relations. He has authored 11 books published by university presses and about 70 journal articles. Prior to his academic career, he was legislative assistant to a member of Congress, elected to three terms in the Wisconsin Legislature’s State Assembly and two terms in the State Senate, and headed a faith-based nonprofit involved in public policy and social justice advocacy.






Research Articles