AUTHORSherwin, Martin J.
TITLEOld Issues in New Editions
PERIODICAL TITLEBulletin of the Atomic Scientists
DATE PUBLISHED1985
VOLUME NUMBERn/a
ISSUE NUMBERDecember
PAGE NUMBERS40-44
ISSN0096-3402


This article evaluates the decision to use atomic bombs on Japan during World War II through revisiting three historically important texts on atomic issues. The article draws upon John Hersey’s Hiroshima, Gar Alperovitz’s Atomic Diplomacy, and John Major’s The Oppenheimer Hearings to cover the full breadth of the reaction in the United States to the nuclear age. Martin Sherwin examines how those influential texts shaped the public’s perception of nuclear weapons and continue to be the foundation on which the American nuclear debate occurs. The author’s main focus is on Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s role in the decision to use the atomic bombs and how historians must take institutional, political, and personal factors into consideration in hypothesizing how the decision was made.


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