Truman and the Bomb


Truman and the Bomb

The Untold Story

272 pages
18 appendixes, index

eBook (EPUB)
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August 2023


$34.95 Add to Cart

August 2023


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2023


$34.95 Add to Cart

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 specifically discussed in the 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 and worked diligently—and successfully—toward that end.

Using previously unpublished material, D. M. Giangreco busts these myths and more.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 then 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.


"Giangreco has made an extremely useful work for understanding the dropping of the atomic bombs and the debates surrounding it both among decision-makers and later scholars."—Robert Clemm, Journal of Military History

"Giangreco's close analysis of these documents is thought-provoking, and makes a strong case that Truman believed dropping the bomb would save lives. Readers will come away with new insights into a world-changing event."—Publishers Weekly

"Truman and the Bomb is relevant to today's national security professionals. Giangreco delivers a highly readable account that touches on the political and military aspects of a key presidential decision during war. This momentous decision during World War II is still felt today."—Clayton K. S. Chun, Parameters

"Giangreco is a most able and indefatigable military historian who has made important contributions to the long-running debate over the use of the atomic bombs in August 1945. . . . The book should be essential reading for anyone who enters that debate in the future."—Wilson D. Miscamble, Missouri Historical Review

“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 and the postwar historiography surrounding its use. Relying on documentary evidence, he 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 antiwar movement, popular culture, and 1980s antinuclear 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.

“Dennis Giangreco has rendered obsolete most of what has been written on the subject.”—Robert James Maddox, professor emeritus of history at Pennsylvania State University and author of key books and articles on the history of the atomic bomb and American foreign policy

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