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Did Truman Need to Drop the Bomb?
Recently discovered documents shine a new light on the President’s biggest decision
April/May 2003 | Volume 54, Issue 2
At the Monday meeting all the participants agreed that an invasion of the home islands would he extremely costly—but that it was essential for the defeat of Imperial Japan. Stimson said he “agreed with the plan proposed by the point Chiefs of Staff as being the best thing to do, but he still hoped for some fruitful accomplishment through other means.” Those other means ranged from increased political pressure brought to bear through a display of Allied unanimity at the imminent Potsdam Conference to the as-yet-untested atomic weapons that might “shock” the Japanese into surrender.
As for Truman, he said at the meeting that he “was clear on the situation now and was quite sure that the Joint Chiefs of Staff should proceed” but expressed the hope “that there was a possibility of preventing an Okinawa from one end of Japan to the other.”