Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Reflections on the Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

Roger Launius's Blog

A couple of years ago I published on this blog the following discussion of the decision to use the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. On the seventieth anniversary of this defining event in human history I am calling attention to it anew. I would welcome your comments.

It comes up every year at the time of the anniversary. It is one of the most difficult and complex questions in American history. Why did the leadership of the United States choose to drop the atomic bomb on Japan in August 1945, not once but twice?

This represents one of the most complex, divisive, and nuanced debates in the history of the United States in the twentieth century. U.S. President Harry S. Truman in August 1945 chose to drop two atomic bombs from B-29s on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, thereby forcing Japan to surrender and thereby ending World War II…

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