"The face of war is the face of death; death is an inevitable part of every order that a wartime leader gives. The decision to use the atomic bomb was a decision that brought death to over a hundred thousand Japanese...
"But this deliberate, premeditated destruction was our least abhorrent alternative. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the Japanese war. It stopped the fire raids, and the strangling blockade; it ended the ghastly specter of a clash of great land armies. In this last great action of the Second World War we were given final proof that war is death."
Source: President Truman responds to the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America
My dear Mr. Cavert:
Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.
Sincerely yours, Harry S. Truman1
Source: Marshall, King, and Leahy, military advisors to President Truman, discuss predicted casualties during the planning for the invasion of Japan
The Japanese did not want to surrender and considered it a question of honor to defend their homeland. "The bomb was unfortunate, but it was the only means to bring Japan to a surrender," argues Sadao Asada, a historian at Doshisha University in Kyoto. Professor Asada cites Japanese archival evidence that military officials were likely to fight on, furiously, until the end. "Sacrifice 20 million Japanese lives," a senior Japanese navy official urged in August 1945, with tears in his eyes, as he proposed a huge suicide attack on the Allies.” 2
Against the Use of Atomic Bomb DOCUMENT 4
Source: Nippon Times (Tokyo, Japan), August 10th, 1945
How can a human being with any claim to a sense of moral responsibility deliberately let loose an instrument of destruction which can at one stroke annihilate an appalling segment of mankind? This is not war; this is not even murder; this is pure nihilism. This is a crime against God and humanity which strikes at the very basis of moral existence. What meaning is there in any international law, in any rule of human conduct, in any concept of right and wrong, if the very foundations of morality are to be overthrown as the use of this instrument of total destruction threatens to do? The crime of the Americans stands out in ghastly repulsiveness all the more for the ironic contradiction it affords to their lying pretensions….
For this American outrage against the fundamental moral sense of mankind, Japan must proclaim to the world its protest against the United States, which has made itself the arch-enemy of humanity.
Memoirs of General H.H. Arnold, Commander of the American Air Force in the Second World War (1949):
“The Surrender of Japan was not entirely the result of the two atomic bombs. We had hit some 60 Japanese cities with our regular H.E. [high explosive] and incendiary bombs and, as a result of our raids, about 241,000 people had been killed, 313,000 wounded, and about 2,333,000 homes destroyed. Our B-29s had destroyed most of the Japanese industries and, with the laying of mines, which prevented the arrival of incoming cargoes of critical items, had made it impossible for Japan to carry on a large-scale war…Accordingly, it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse. “
Admiral William E. Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, in his memoirs I Was There (1950):
“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.
My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was taught not to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying woman and children.”
This is the mushroom cloud rising over Hiroshima, Japan. The city of Hiroshima was the target of the world’s first atomic bomb attack at 8:16 a.m. on August 6, 1945. The cloud rose to over 60,000 feet in about ten minutes.
About 30 seconds after the explosion, the Enola Gay circled in order to get a better look at what was happening. By that time, although the plane was flying at 30,000 feet, the mushroom cloud had risen above them. The city itself was completely engulfed in a thick black smoke.
After the detonation and the subsequent destruction of Hiroshima, one of the crewmembers of the Enola Gay muttered, “Good God, how could anyone survive that down there?”