Rightly or not, President Herbert Hoover shouldered blame for the Great Depression. Historians say he did all he could, but neither he nor Congress really knew what to do. He was the Republican nominee for re-election, but was soundly defeated by Democrat F.D.R. The relationship between Hoover and Roosevelt was one of the most severely strained in Presidential history.
One day in 1945 President Harry Truman (a democrat who became president at Rosevelt’s death) learned that Hoover was in Washington, so he called and invited him to visit and sent a driver to retrieve him. Truman asked Hoover to survey world food supplies and was surprised when Hoover wept.
“Mr. President,” Hoover said, “since 1932 no one has asked me to do anything for my country. You are the first one.”
Truman appointed Hoover to a commission to reorganize the executive branch in 1947, and the panel elected Hoover chair. President Eisenhower appointed Hoover to a similar commission in 1953.