The decision to use the atomic bomb and the architecture of an American myth
One of the most controversial issues absorbing America today: Was it necessary to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Fifty years after the fateful summer of 1945, we are still debating Harry Truman's decision. Now, in an exhaustive, thoroughly documented study of the events of that time, Gar Alperovitz makes plain why the United States did not need to deploy the bomb, how Truman was advised of alternatives to it by nearly every civilian and military adviser, and how his final decision was later justified by what amounted to a deception - the claim that the action saved half a million to a million American soldiers who might otherwise have died in an invasion. Alperovitz demonstrates that Japan was close to surrender, that it was profoundly threatened by the prospect of Soviet entry into the war, and that American leaders knew the end was near. Military commanders like Eisenhower, Arnold, and Leahy saw no need to use the bomb; most of Truman's key Cabinet members urged a clarification of the position of Japan's Emperor to speed surrender. But the inexperienced president listened most intently to his incoming secretary of state, James F. Byrnes, and Byrnes was convinced the bomb would be an important diplomatic instrument in dealing with the Soviets.
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General Efforts to End the War
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advisers Air Force American April atomic bomb attack August Byrnes cable Chiefs of Staff Churchill cited material Conant concerning decision diplomatic discussion documents draft early Eisenhower Emperor Entry evidence fact Ferrell FRUS Grew Groves H-B Files Harriman Harry Herbert Feis Hiroshima HSTL Ibid important intercepted interview invasion issue Japan Japanese Joint Chiefs July July 16 July 24 June 18 leaders Leahy Manhattan Project Marshall McCloy McGeorge Bundy memoirs memorandum military Moscow Nagasaki National Navy negotiations noted officials Pacific peace political possible Pots Potsdam conference Potsdam Proclamation president's question record Red Army Roosevelt Russian Secretary September Soviet Union Spaatz specific Stalin statement Stimson Diary Stimson Papers Strategic Bombing suggested surrender formula Surrender of Japan surrender terms Szilard target tion told Top Secret unconditional surrender United urged Washington weapon White House Yalta York