President Truman’s Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

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Webster’s dictionary defines hindsight as “the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event”. It is a fair assumption that most people understand the old adage “hindsight is always 20/20”; alluding to the fact that, in our everyday lives, we as humans make decisions based on what we know, what seems right and occasionally what makes our lives easier. The average person does not have the mental capability to consider every possible outcome that a choice will have on his entire life, all within the thought process that leads him to reach a conclusion, however long and detailed that process may be. If we add massive amounts of pressure, contradictory advisement, the lives of millions, failure in pervious solutions and the responsibility of protecting a nation; the fore-mentioned “average person” becomes a United States president at the time of what was arguably the most destructive war in history. I cannot, in good conscience, applaud Harry Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, vaporizing hundreds of thousands of people; however, I refuse to privately, let alone literarily, argue that Truman made an immoral or strategically flaw decision. Harry Truman did the best he could with the situation he was given. Rumors have it that even he, himself, felt remorse for the decision.

In the summer of 1945, after the end of a difficult war with Germany, President Truman and his advisors were fully focused on ending the war with Japan as quickly, and with as few American casualties as possible. The Introduction of the RTAP reading emphasizes the point that the current methods of battle with the Japanese were proving futile. Even when America did claim vic...

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...I can understand how with discoveries of new information and the development of more unanswered questions, people might be inclined to produce alternative theories about why Truman chose to use the atomic bombs. The RTAP (p.275) talks about the people who are now questioning Truman's motives, known as Revisionists because they attempt to revise common perceptions of history, proposing alternate theories and motives. I however, feel that we begin to tread on dangerous ground when we argue that major historical events should have been handled differently. Just as the person making the decision, we as chronologically distanced viewers, could not possibly assess the entirety of possible repercussions our retrospective opinions would have had on American history. As far as Harry Truman knew, dropping the atomic bombs saved the entire world from becoming evil communists.

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