Kelly Shaver AMH 2030 Week 7 Individual Work
What factors likely motivated President Truman to authorize the use of atomic bombs against Japan in August 1945?
President Truman did not trust the Soviets. The Potsdam Declaration – July 26 listed U.S. policy also giving Japan a chance to surrender without guaranteeing that Emperor Hirohito would not be tried for war crimes committed by Japan. Japan was so cautious about their response that is was seen as a refusal on their part. The Japanese were seen as bloodthirsty savages willing to die rather than give up. Their defense of Okinawa and the thousands of kamikaze pilots only confirmed this fear in the eyes of the Americans.
Truman felt the bomb would save more lives in the long run, due to avoiding another six or more months of carnage that the war was known for. Truman later said he estimated fighting losses numbered in the several hundred thousands, while bomb losses numbered in the tens of thousands since he intended to spare as many women and children as humanly possible.
Using the bomb pretty much guaranteed that the U.S. would occupy Japan without the Soviets as well as sending a clear message to the Soviets to go slow and careful in Europe and it’s territories. Also, the billions spent on the bomb project was only to be justified by proving the military worth of the Atom Bomb in actual use.
In his diary, President Truman stated that he and the Secretary of War, Mr. Stimson were in agreement on the bombing. The targets were to be purely military to save innocent lives. A warning was to be issued to the Japanese government in the hopes that they would surrender before the bomb fell. Truman said in the diary that he doubted they would. He also stated that it was a good thing that neither Hitler or Stalin’s people discovered the terrible power of the bomb and that it seemed that “It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful….”. Truman quoted in Robert H....