AUTHORTakaki, Ronald
TITLEHiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb
PUBLISHERLittle, Brown and Company
CITYBoston, MA

In this book, Ronald Takaki reexamines the motives and rationale behind America’s use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He exhumes evidence of dissention by General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy. The author rejects the idea that America dropped the bomb to end the war more quickly. He asserts that Truman ordered the bombings as a way to intimidate and control Stalin after the war. Takaki quotes General Groves: “Russia was our enemy, and the [Manhattan] Project was conducted on that basis” (p. 7). Takaki also blames Truman’s decision on anti-Asian racism. He argues that Truman, and the nation, needed to appease a “cultural passion of rage” against the nation that attacked Pearl Harbor. Takaki rejects Truman’s post-war casualty estimates of half a million men for an Allied ground invasion. While the author assembles a fair amount of evidence for his case, he limits the decision almost entirely to Truman, and the psychology and fears that drove him. He presents Truman, not General Groves or any other figure, as the driving force behind the decision to drop the atomic bombs.

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