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World War 2 (2374 words)

1.2 Robert H. Ferrell editor with commentary
1.3 High Plains Publishing Company, Inc.

1.4 1996
1.5 Chapters: 21, Pages: 125
2.1 The title fits the story line because the story is about Truman’s decision on dropping the atomic bomb. This is a non-fiction book that includes diary entries, letters, White House press releases, and handwritten notes by Truman. These documents are from 1945-1958 and are all related in the decision to drop the atomic bomb.

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2.2 The author’s points are that Truman used all available sources to help him make the decision of dropping the bomb (military advisors, scientists, what he saw in Germany) and he believed that dropping the atomic bomb saved lives.

2.3 Yes, I accept the author’s thesis. I believe Truman used all his resources. For example he checked with the military for how many people would die if America would invade Japan. When Truman went to Berlin he saw total destruction and in his diary called it Hitler’s folly. By using the casualty rates at Iwo Jima and Okinawa military experts estimated 500,000 American casualties if an invasion on the home island took place. This is much greater than the number of people killed by the atomic bomb.

3.1 The author is writing to Americans.

3.2 The author investigates if America was justified for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. The author looks at the documents of the time period (diaries, letters, and memos), examines how the Japanese treated prisoners and conquered people, and looks at battle casualty rates.

3.3 The author is pro-American. When he wrote the intro he includes statements against the Japanese such as, The barbarities of the war had their beginnings in Japan’s war against China?Between 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed by occupying troops for no reason at all except what may only be described as blood lust.(Pg1) Throughout the intro the author uses words such as countless horrors, sneak attack, maltreatment, and savagery to describe the Japanese and their behavior.

4.1 Robert H. Ferrell is Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus Indiana University. Other books the author wrote include The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman, Truman and the Modern American Presidency, and Harry S. Truman His Life on the Family Farms.

4.2 The book was written in 1996, using documents from the 1940s and 1950s. The author had plenty of access to the primary information. He wrote it 50 years after the event happened making him more objective than someone from the time period.

4.3 None, I all ready agree that Truman should have dropped the bomb because I believe that it saved more lives.

4.4 I would not recommend this book for pleasure reading because HARRY S. TRUMAN ; THE BOMB is made up of facts (letters, memos, documents, and diaries). I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know about why America dropped the atomic bomb.

5.1 The book covers from 1945 to 1958.

5.2 The action takes place all over the world mostly in the White House in Washington, D.C, the Potsdam Conference near Berlin, Germany, the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, and Japan. The setting is during World War II and soon after the war.
5.3 The author is a realist. In the book he talks about how if America did not drop the atomic bomb on Japan and used invasion that more men would die. Truman and leading officials of his administration looked upon nuclear warfare as a positive good rather than terrible savagery, there was the very real issue in the summer of 1945 of the cost of a U.S. invasion of the Japanese home islands. Whatever the historical – one might describe as emotional – reasons for ?getting back’ at Japan, there was the frightening cost of an invasion by the U. S. Army and Navy (pg. 3).

5.4 I think the structure of this book is chronological because of how the author put his chapters in order from 1945-1958.

6.1 The most notable thing that I liked was that after the war ended we helped Japan get back on there feet. Truman wrote, And in spite of the shot in the back, this country of ours, the United States of America, has been willing to help in every way the restoration of Japan as a great and prosperous nation (pg 115).

6.2 1. How would the story be told in the Japanese point of view?
2. Did Harry S. Truman research every possible choice to end the war?
3. Was there a better way than dropping the atomic bomb?
6.3 Summary
Chpt.1 Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to Harry S. Truman, April 24, 1945
Stimson wrote to Truman to set up a meeting to tell Truman the details of the atomic bomb.

Chpt. 2 From the President’s Diary, July 16
After Germany surrendered Truman took a trip to Berlin and saw the city in ruin. He saw people of all ages out on the streets carrying possessions on there backs, kicked out of their homes by Russia conquers.

Chpt. 3 Major General Leslie R. Groves to Secretary Stimson, July 18
General Groves, Manhattan Project Commander, reports on the successful atomic test that took place at 5:30 A.M. on July 16, 1945. He mentions a lighting effect for a radius of 20 miles, a huge fireball, a mushroom cloud over 10,000 ft high, a crater with a diameter of 120 ft, and the destruction of a steel and concert tower (similar in size to a 20 story sky scraper) that was half a mile away from the blast.

Chpt. 4 Cloud Drawings by Luis W. Alvarez
Luis Alvarez, professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley drew what he saw at Alamogordo detonation. Drew the atomic mushroom cloud at different times between 5:30 ? 5:42 A.M.

Chpt. 5 From the President’s Diary, July 17, 18, 25
Truman met with Stalin and Churchill in Potsdam. Some of the things discussed were firing Franco, dividing Italian Colonies, how Russia would enter the war against Japan on August 15. Truman told Churchill about the atomic bomb, but only hinted at it to Stalin. Truman made a judgement about Stalin, I can deal with Stalin. He is honest, but smart as hell(pg 30). Truman also says that he glad that U.S.A. discovered the atomic bomb first, not Hitler or Stalin’s crowd(31).

Chpt. 6 General Thomas T. Handy to General Carl Spaatz, July 25
This letter tells General Spaatz, Commanding General United States Army Strategic Air Forces, that the atomic bomb would be dropped after August 3 on either Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, or Nagasaki. Spaatz was order to take military and scientific observers to record the bombing and he was ordered not to give out any information. He was also ordered to hand deliver a copy of the letter to General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz.

Chpt. 7 The Potsdam Declaration, July 26
The Potsdam Declaration has 13 points.

1. Japan has opportunity to surrender.
2. Allies will keep fighting against Japan till they give up.

3. Resistance is futile if Japan don’t surrender it will lead to utter devastation of Japanese home land.

4. Will Japan fallow Military Advisers or the path of reason.

5. Our terms are not negotiable.

6. All Leaders of Japan that deceived the people must lose their power.

7. Until Japan has met our requirements the allies will occupy Japan.

8. Japan will lose the islands that they conquered.
9. Japanese military will be disarmed.

10. War criminals will be punished. Democracy will be strengthened and the people will have freedom of speech, religion, and thought.

11. Japan will be allowed to have industry and world trade.

12. Occupying forces will leave Japan when goals are met.

13. Japan must now unconditionally surrender or face prompt and utter destruction
Unfortunately The United States did not tell Japan about the Atomic bomb. So Japan was not willing to surrender.

Chpt. 8 The President to His Wife, July 31
Truman wrote to his wife from Potsdam at the end of the conference talking about how Stalin is stalling because he is not happy over English Elections and one of the main topics was War Reparations and Russia wants to be paid
Chpt. 9 White House Press Release, August 6
The press release told Americans about the atomic bomb with detail about it. Also telling that they dropped one on Hiroshima 16 hours ago.

Chpt. 10 War Department Press Release, August 6
Stimson set out another press release about the atomic bomb giving more detail about it development and how it will make the war end quicker. Stimson tells how they had to keep it secrete because the enemy if American was told would try to steal it
Chpt. 11 Leaflets Dropped on Japanese Cities
Leaflets were used in psychological warfare to scare the people out of the cities before dropping the second atomic bomb. Leaflets told them to leave their cities and surrender
Chpt. 12 Senator Richard B. Russell to the President, August 7 and the President’s Response, August 9
Senator Russell was trying to influence Truman to not be lenient to Japan and don’t warn them when we bomb their cities. He encourages Truman to destroy Japan’s resistance. They [the American people believe] that we should continue to strike the Japanese until they are brought groveling to their knees. We should cease our appeals to Japan to sue for peace. The next plea for peace should come from an utterly destroyed Tokyo (pg. 69) Truman responds that the Japanese are terrible and cruel , but he refuses to act the same way that they do. Form nyself I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of the pigheadedness of the leaders of a nation and for your information, I am not going to do it unless it is absolutely necessary (pg. 69
Chpt. 13 1Samuel McCrea Cavert to the President, August 9 and the President’s Response, August 11
Cavert writes Truman that Christians are deeply disturbed over the use of atomic bombs against Japanese cities. Truman replies that he is disturbed also but that the attack on Pearl Harbor and the horrible treatment of prisoners makes it so that we must treat the Japanese as beasts. When you have to deal with a beast, you have to treat him as a beast’ (pg. 72).

Chpt. 14 Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt, March 25, 1945 and Subsequent Correspondence
Albert Einstein writes a letter of introduction for Dr. L. Szilard, a researcher of uranium. Dr. Szilard writes to the president’s secretary asking permission to make a petition, which was signed by 67 scientists, public. This petition asks that no atomic bomb would be dropped in Japan without warning the people first.

Chpt. 15 Secretary Stimson to the President, September 11 and Enclosure
Stimson writes to Truman recommending sharing the atomic bomb with Russia even though the Soviet Union was still autocratic with few human rights. Some other people had wanted to only share the bomb after Russia gave more freedom to their people. Stimson believed that over time Russia would change.

Chpt. 16 U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey, the Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June, 9, 1946
This is a report on how the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki affected the morale of the Japanese people. Dropping the bomb did not demoralize Japanese civilians outside of the immediate area. It also did not affect the military leaders’ belief that they could continue the war and defend the home islands. It did give the peace movement the opportunity to push for surrender because the United States had the atomic bomb and Japan did not. No army without the weapon could resist an enemy who had it, thus ?saving face'(pg. 86). The peace movement could overcome the military objection to surrender because Japan could now save face.

Chpt. 17 Carl T. Compton Article and the President to Compton, December 16
Compton wrote an article that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly that defends dropping the atomic bomb. He argues that dropping the bomb was not inhumane because conventional bombing of Tokyo actually killed more people than dropping the atomic bomb. He also argues that even though Japan was already beaten they were not willing to stop fighting and that by using the atomic bomb the war ended sooner saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Truman replied thanking him for such a sensible article
Chpt. 18 Selected White House Memoranda, 1952-1953
Cates, professor at the University of Chicago who was writing a history of the army, writes to Truman asking for specific information on why he made the decision to drop the atomic bomb. The president’s aids recommend that the president give the information to Cates and the president replies listing his reasons that he ordered the bomb to be dropped.

Chpt. 19 Interview with Former President Truman, 1955
Hillman and Royce, assistants to Truman in writing his memoirs, interview Truman about dropping the atomic bomb. They ask if he did it for psychological reasons. The president states, I ordered it for military reasons and for no other reasons, to save the lives of a great many of our soldiers, that’s all I had in mind (pg. 110).

Chpt. 20 Tsukasa Nitoguri to Former President Truman, March 1, 1958 and the President’s Response, March 12
Edward Murrow interviewed Truman on television and Truman said using the atomic bomb was better than invading because it saved more lives and in the future it might be used again. The Chairman of The Hiroshima Council wrote to Truman about that the People of Hiroshima are against using the atomic bomb ever again. Truman replied listing his reason for using the bomb and placing the responsibility on the Japanese because of their actions at Pearl Harbor
Chpt. 21 Handwritten Notes by Former President Truman, 1958
Truman in his notes wants a world police force to maintain peace in the world and the Untied Nations to control nuclear energy. The reason Truman wants this things
Harry S. Truman ; The Bomb
American History


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