AUTHORFrank, Richard B.
TITLEWhy Truman Dropped the Bomb
PERIODICAL TITLEThe Weekly Standard
DATE PUBLISHED8 August 2005
VOLUME NUMBER10
ISSUE NUMBER44
PAGE NUMBERSn/a
ISSN1083-3013
Web Access
Available online from The Weekly Standard


In this article, historian Richard Frank discusses the importance of secret radio intelligence materials in the controversial decision to drop the world's first atomic bombs by U.S. President Harry Truman during World War II. Frank argues that, based on the radio intelligence materials, which were published in the 1990s, Truman's decision was correct. The article provides a summary of the traditionalist and revisionist historians’ views of the end of World War II in the Pacific theater, which provide the two sides of the controversy: that, respectively, the decision was correct, or that it was not correct because Japan was on the verge of surrender. Frank states that Allied intercepts of Japanese government messages reveal that Japan’s insistence on retention of the emperor was disingenuous as a requirement for surrender and that the country intended to resist to a bitter end with the hopes of obtaining more agreeable surrender terms. He feels that in time his arguments will restore the interpretation of the historical event to the traditionalist view.


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