Herbert Feis served as the Special Consultant to three Secretaries of War. This book was his finale to a series on the governmental viewed history of World War II, one of these receiving the Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Feis gives personal accounts in a strictly factual description leaving out no information that the president and high officials discussed within the walls of the White House. The information that is presented is referenced countlessly throughout the book.
His position in the government gave him the ability to have direct knowledge from personal individuals, in the government at that time, who had assessed the actions first hand. With these contacts his information is not presented as secondary information. In early August 1945, two Atomic Bomb Essays were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These two bombs quickly yielded the surrender of Japan and the end of the American involvement in World War II. By 1946, the two bombs caused the death of perhaps as many as 240,000 Japanese citizens. The popular view that dominated the 1950s and 60s, presented by President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, was that the at the dropping of the atomic bombs was a solely military action that avoided the loss of as many as a million lives in the upcoming American invasion of the island of Kyushu.
In the 1960s a second idea developed, put forth by a collaboration of historians, that claimed the dropping of the bomb was a diplomatic maneuver aimed at gaining the upper hand in relations with Russia. Twenty years after the bombing, Feis, with the advantage of historical hindsight and the advantage of new evidence, developed a third view, free from obscuring bias. First, he stated that the dropping of the bomb was born out of a number of military, domestic, and diplomatic pressures and concerns. Secondly, many potentially alternatives to dropping the bombs were not explored by Truman and other men in power. Lastly, because these alternatives were never explored, it can only be pondered over whether or not Trumans decision to drop the atomic bombs was a savior of lives, and it may never be known if Trumans monumental decision was morally just one.
Japan had expansionist aims in Eastern Asia and in the Western Pacific. In July of 1940, the United States placed an embargo on materials imported to Japan, including oil. The majority of the American war effort was placed in Europe. Before the United States could fully mobilize, most of South-East Asia had fallen to Japan, including the Philippines.
The Japanese forces waged a stubborn, often suicidal battle. Truman learned of the project, then called by its code name, S-1 (and later as the Manhattan Project), from Secretary of War Stimson on 25 April 1945, only after becoming President. Concurrent with the Manhattan project, both Japan and America were making preparations for a final all-encompassing conflict. Both sides expected it would involve an American invasion of mainland Japan. The Americans expanded conventional bombing and tightened their increasingly successful naval blockade. The Japanese began the stockpiling of aircraft, amassed a giant conscripted military force, and commenced the creation of a civilian army, all who swore total allegiance to the emperor.
This awe-inspiring army included “so-called ‘Sherman Carpets,’ children with dynamite strapped to their bodies and trained to throw themselves under American tanks. “In the end, these final preparations were not effective. On, August 6, 1945, the American B-29 bomber, named Enola Gay by the pilot Paul W. Tibbets, dropped the “little boy” uranium atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima.
Three days later a second bomb, made of plutonium and nicknamed “fat boy,” was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally and the war in Asia ended. Truman’s monumental decision, to drop these bombs, was born out of a complex background of decisions. Pressure to drop the bomb stemmed from three major categories: military, domestic and diplomatic. The military pressures stemmed from discussion and meetings Truman had with Secretary of War Stimson, Army Chief of Staff General Marshal, Chief of Staff Admiral William Leahy, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and others.
On June 18, 1945, General Marshall and Secretary of .