2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

President Truman and the Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Unacceptable Surrender
Daniel M. DuBois
Dr. Thomas Zoumaras, Faculty Mentor

Recent scholarship, aimed at vindicating President Harry Truman for his decision to use atomic bombs at the end of World War II, primarily analyzes Japan’s resolve to prolong the war in the Pacific. For these historians, the insistence of Japanese militarists to continue the war effort and invoke an American invasion left Truman powerless to force Japan’s surrender via diplomatic channels. Thus, the atomic bombs were employed as instruments of war that could unearth a Japanese surrender and save American lives. In reality, Truman was told by his top advisors that changing the unconditional surrender formula would result in a Pacific peace agreement. Yet he followed a strategy aimed at keeping Japan in the war to justify using the atomic bombs. By refusing to change the terms of unconditional surrender, Truman was able to prolong the war, drop the bomb, and, consequently, threaten the authority of the post-war Soviet Union.

Keywords: World War II, President Truman, Atomic Bomb, Diplomacy, Soviet Union


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 28-1
Location: VH 1232
Time: 9:45

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