Essay about The Debate Over Truman's Use of the Atomic Bombs

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On August 7, 1945 the headline of the front page of the New York Times read: First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan; Missile is Equal to 20,000 Tons of TNT: Truman Warns Foe of a “Rain of Ruin.”1 Now the debate between historians on the question of whether Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb was correct or not had begun. There are critics and historians who say that Japan was already beat and that the war could have ended by negotiations. In their opinions because Germany had surrendered, the Imperial Navy was driven from the sea by the Pacific Fleet, Okinawa and Iwo Jima were in our hands and because Japan was cut off from resources from the Indies, they believe Japan was already defeated. Japan’s defeat however was not the issue. It …show more content…

An answer to the problem had been handed to Truman by Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson when he asked to speak to the President about an urgent matter. Truman wrote in his Memoirs: Stimson told me that he wanted me to know about an immense project that was under way – a project looking to the development of a new explosive of almost unbelievable destructive power.5 Only a handful of people knew about the bomb or the research on the use of atomic energy for military purposes. Now Truman had been informed about the best kept secret of World War II. Truman’s military advisers were working on ways to end the war. One of their plans was an invasion of Japan. On June 18th the President met with his military advisers who recommended an invasion of Kyushu. The operation would be enormous with an estimate of 31,000 casualties in the first thirty days.6 A report by the Joint War Plans Committee estimated that the invasion would cost approximately 4,000 dead, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing in action for a total of 193,000 casualties.7 Truman did not like the high numbers of casualties that the invasion was reported to bring. He had Secretary Stimson to head up a committee of top men to study the implications that the atomic bomb would have for the United States. On June 1, the committee brought their recommendation to Truman. They recommended that the bomb should be used and without warning to show its

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