Truman and the Bomb

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Truman and the Bomb

The Untold Story

D. M. Giangreco
Foreword by John T. Kuehn

272 pages
14 photographs, 1 map, 1 table, 18 appendixes, index

Hardcover

August 2023

978-1-64012-073-0

$34.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Many myths have grown up around President Harry S. Truman’s decision to use nuclear weapons against Imperial Japan. In destroying these myths, Truman and the Bomb will discomfort both Truman’s critics and his supporters, and force historians to reexamine what they think they know about the end of the Pacific War.

Myth: Truman didn’t know of the atomic bomb’s development before he became president. Fact: Truman’s knowledge of the bomb is revealed in his own carefully worded letters to a Senate colleague and correspondence between the army officers assigned to his Senate investigating committee.

Myth: The huge casualty estimates cited by Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson were a postwar creation devised to hide their guilt for killing thousands of defenseless civilians. Fact: The flagrantly misrepresented “low” numbers are based on narrow slices of highly qualified—and limited—U.S. Army projections printed in a variety of briefing documents and are not from the actual invasion planning against Japan.

Myth: Truman wanted to defeat Japan without any assistance from the Soviet Union and to freeze the USSR out of the postwar settlements. Fact: President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Truman desperately wanted Stalin’s involvement in the bloody endgame of World War II.

Using previously unpublished material, D. M. Giangreco busts these myths and more. An award-winning historian and expert on Truman, Giangreco is perfectly situated to debunk the many deep-rooted falsehoods about the roles played by American, Soviet, and Japanese leaders during the end of the World War II in the Pacific. Truman and the Bomb, a concise yet comprehensive study of Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb, will prove to be a classic for studying presidential politics and influence on atomic warfare and its military and diplomatic components.

Making this book particularly valuable for professors and students as well as for military, diplomatic, and presidential historians and history buffs are extensive primary source materials, including the planned U.S. naval and air operations in support of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. These documents support Giangreco’s arguments while enabling the reader to enter the mindsets of Truman and his administration as well as the war’s key Allied participants.
 

Author Bio

D. M. Giangreco served as an editor of the Military Review for the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College for twenty years and served as the editor and publications director for the Foreign Military Studies Office in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the award-winning author or coauthor of fourteen books on military and sociopolitical subjects, including Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945–1947 and Eyewitness Pacific Theater: Firsthand Accounts of the War in the Pacific from Pearl Harbor to the Atomic Bombs.

Praise

“D. M. Giangreco’s sweeping critique of revisionist interpretations of President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan is certain to stir renewed controversy. Giangreco vividly recreates the passion and emotion of the summer of 1945 in a first-rate account of the decision to use the weapon, the postwar historiography surrounding its use, and, relying on documentary evidence, highlights the stark difference between accuracy and opinion in historical writing.”—Edward J. Drea, author of Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall

“Those who continue to cling to the belief that there was another way forward than dropping the atomic bombs, and who wish to retain their intellectual integrity, must read this book. D. M. Giangreco continues to lean on the stake driven through the heart of obsolete arguments from the 1960s anti-war movement, popular culture, and 1980s anti-nuclear academia that continue to reach out from the grave today.”—Sean M. Maloney, author of Emergency War Plan: The American Doomsday Machine, 1945–1960

“[D. M. Giangreco has] demolished the claim that President Truman’s high casualty estimates were a postwar invention.”—Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
John T. Kuehn

Prologue: The Debate
1. The Manhattan Project: What Did Truman Know and When Did He Know It?
2. Projects Milepost and Hula: America’s Hidden Role in the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria
3. Roosevelt, Stalin, and Poland: The Tehran, Moscow, and Yalta Conferences
4. A New President: “The Storm Broke Almost at Once”
5. Truman’s White House Meeting: “My Hardest Decision”
6. “I’ve Gotten What I Came For”: Potsdam, the Bomb, and Soviet Entry into the War

Appendixes
A. Air-Raid Casualties and Property Damage in Japan
B. Memorandum on Ending the Japanese War
C. The Historiography of Hiroshima: The Rise and Fall of Revisionism
Michael Kort
D. The Manhattan Project: A Chronology of Its Expansion and Subsequent Congressional Investigations
E. “Between You, the Boss [Truman], and Me”
F. Secretary of War Henry Stimson to Truman on Atom Bomb Development
G. U.S. Navy Combatant Ships under Project Hula
H. Agreement regarding the Entry of the Soviet Union into the War against Japan
I. Secretary Stimson’s Proposed Program for Japan
J. Proposal for Increasing the Scope of Casualties Studies
K. Discussion of American Casualties at President Truman’s Meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Service Secretaries, June 18, 1945
L. General Thomas Handy’s Atomic Bomb Authorization
M. Atomic Bomb Press Release
N. Potsdam Declaration, July 26, 1945
O. Truman-Stalin Meeting at Potsdam
P. Tripartite Military Meeting of the U.S., Soviet, and British Chiefs of Staff, July 26, 1945
Q. Planned U.S. Naval and Air Operations in Support of the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria
R. Extract from the Log of the President’s Trip to the Berlin Conference, July 18, 1945

Notes
Index
 

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