Truman Told Americans Atom Bomb Was Used on a ‘Japanese Army Base’ to ‘Repay’ the Japanese for Starting the War

There was no talk then of "saving lives"

August 6, 1945: Statement by the President Announcing the Use of the A-Bomb at Hiroshima:

Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British “Grand Slam” which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.

The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development.

It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.

We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.

It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.

On August 6, 1945, President Truman lied on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. “Mr. Truman was jubilant,” wrote Dorothy Day. Weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan had sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan’s codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to “the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace.” President Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor. So, the desire to drop the bombs may have lengthened the war. The bombs did not shorten the war.[xviii]

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to “dictate the terms of ending the war.” Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was “most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.” Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and “Fini Japs when that comes about.” The Soviet invasion was planned prior to the bombs, not decided by them. The United States had no plans to invade for months, and no plans on the scale to risk the numbers of lives that U.S. school teachers will tell you were saved.[xix] The idea that a massive U.S. invasion was imminent and the only alternative to nuking cities, so that nuking cities saved huge numbers of U.S. lives, is a myth. Historians know this, just as they know that George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth or always tell the truth, and Paul Revere didn’t ride alone, and slave-owning Patrick Henry’s speech about liberty was written decades after he died, and Molly Pitcher didn’t exist.[xx] But the myths have their own power. Lives, by the way, are not the unique property of U.S. soldiers. Japanese people also had lives.

Truman ordered the bombs dropped, one on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. The Nagasaki bombing was moved up from the 11th to the 9th to decrease the likelihood of Japan surrendering first.[xxi] Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons — burning Japanese cities, as it had done to so much of Japan prior to August 6th that, when it came time to pick two cities to nuke, there hadn’t been many left to choose from. Then the Japanese surrendered.

That there was cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That there could again be cause to use nuclear weapons is a myth. That we can survive significant further use of nuclear weapons is a myth. That there is cause to produce nuclear weapons even though you’ll never use them is too stupid even to be a myth. And that we can forever survive possessing and proliferating nuclear weapons without someone intentionally or accidentally using them is pure insanity.[xxii]


[xviii] On the possibility of modifying the surrender terms and ending the war earlier without nuclear bombs, see Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2012), pp. 146-149.

[xix] Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2012), p. 145.

[xx] Ray Raphael, Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past (The New Press, 2014).

[xxi] Greg Mitchell, The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood — and America — Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (The New Press, 2020).

[xxii] Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (Penguin Books, 2014).


  1. ken says

    The death toll in today’s covid vaccinations will soon overtake the deaths in Japan’s atomic bombing. In 7 months it’s pushing 40,000 in just the US, UK and EU. Likely over a 100,000 the world over. Doubt anyone will know for sure as they are hiding the numbers.

    Yes,,, those bombings in Japan were uncalled for and should not have occurred if one plays a Monday morning quarterback. One could say the same for the Pearl Harbor attacks where 2403 people died. Nobody seems to worry about them…

    The injections of today for a nonexistent virus is uncalled for and needs stopped. It may already be too late. By mid to end of next year the deaths will exceed the 2 atomic bombings. If they do what they did in the animal studies,,, it’ll be a dark winter for sure.

    Just how people can justify taking injections with these death numbers boggles the mind.

    1. Art says

      FDR through use embargo of materials to Japan assured the attack on a number of so-called US territories – Hawaii seemed to resonate more than the others – so Pearl Harbor was used as focus public attention.

      FDR knew to the second when the Japanese would bomb the Harbor due to the fact that the US had cracked the Japanese code. No word went out to the US admirals in Pearl Harbor to make it look like a surprise attack – the President just allowed those thousands to die with no defense.

      The aim was to get a declaration of war. So even when the declaration was approved, the provocation came from the US not the Japanese.

      1. Juan says

        That whole war was a perfidious fabrication to advance communism and possibly world government. But Stalin had other plans, and word gov had to be postponed.

  2. Annr says

    Not even a minute silence for all those lost souls, but Obama commemorated by hosting a masqued ball for 600 of his closest friends, paid for by the number 1 contributor to Israels endless warmongering The American Taxpayer. They barely finish ruining one country, and then they are on to the next….obamas tally? Sommalia, Libya, yemen, Afghanistan, Syria. Now Big bogie Biden will have his playdate with Taiwan, or China, or….the jews main target, Iran ( does Biden know which suburb that is?). Sickening to see these psychopaths destroy a world some of us love…..

  3. yuri says

    Americans are uncivilized stupid barbaric

    1. XSFRGR says

      Thank you for your kind, and generous description of the U$.

      1. john says

        Its true, and Im amerikan

    2. Durk McGurkin says

      I can’t fault you for such an opinion, but please know that not all of us are that way. The United States of America is the most heavily propagandized civilization in the history of the world. May God have mercy on our souls.

      1. yuri says

        I attended graduate school in USA and I visit perhaps every 18 months 2 years. sociologists have long described amerikans as mean and bitter.Philip Slater attributed Vietnam and Iraq—both supported by 80+% to a particular culture and the psychology of that culture. See ‘The Lonely Crowd’ David Riesman, ‘The amerikan People’. Geoffrey Gorer, ‘Anti-intellectualism in amerikan Life’. ‘The Paranoid Style in amnerukan Politics, Richard Hofstadter, Morris Berman’ Dark Ages America, why amerika failed, etc
        in a recent IPSOS STUDY only 15% believe torture never justified; 2/3 support the use of torture, only exceeded in 1 Africa nation

      2. yuri says

        Neil Postman takes a different position. “amerikans do not converse, they entertain each other. amerikans do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. the problem with amerikans is not Orwellian, it is huxleyan: amerikans love their oppression”

  4. MrLiberty says

    As if all the provocations in China, the embargoes, the blockades, etc. that even Stinnett call “acts of war” had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. As if we hadn’t already cracked their code and allowed the attack to happen so that FDR’s wealthy friends could profit from US involvement in a war that 80% of Americans wanted nothing to do with. As if the bomb didn’t incinerate tens of thousands of men, women and children that had nothing to do with the military efforts. As if the incineration of Tokyo in the months preceding these atrocities wasn’t also a blatant war crime of the highest magnitude. History is always written by the winners….even if THEY are the war criminals.

  5. Jun Admana says

    Japan was nuked because the Americans didn’t want it to surrender to the Russians. It’s as simple as that! Russia also got the message.

    1. Donald frank Smith says

      Russians no navy to accept surrender. Only USA Jun

  6. Adrian McClaren says


  7. Adrian McClaren says

    Truman and Roosevelt have earned their place in the eternal lake of burning sulphur and fire. The current MURDER rates will continue until 2 billion are murdered (Rev 6.8). Solution: John 3.3, 33-34

  8. Tenet says

    Japan repeatedly offered to surrender, but Roosevelt demanded an unconditional surrender, which is a break with all tradition in warfare. The Japanese feared the U.S. would use this to arrest their emperor and try him in a military court, which U.S. officials had talked about. Roosevelt placed this demand to prolong the war so his beloved Soviet Union could invade China and Japan. Just like he ordered the invading army in Italy to move west into heavily fortified, strategically meaningless southern France, to kill as many German and U.S./British soldiers as possible, while handing over the Balkans to Stalin. Generals and politicians from all countries wanted to go east into the Balkans, but Roosevelt refused to allow this. He also refused to let the U.S. military take Berlin, but they went there anyway despite his orders to leave it entirely to the Soviets.

    Roosevelt had provoked war with Japan, explicitly, to have an excuse to then attack Germany, which had offered peace and withdrawal of troops from France/Benelux nine times. (After taking France, which had declared war on Germany, Germany went back to a peacetime economy, while asking for peace negotiations. Too late they discovered Soviet troops massing on the border, far from their usual fortified bases, ready to invade Germany. Almost half a million Soviet paratroopers included, and 60,000-100,000 Soviet tanks. This was possible because Britain kept the war going in the West instead of agreeing to peace. Germany and its allies, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia – where communists had tried a coup – and Finland and others then attacked first, destroying many of the tanks, thereby saving at least Western Europe from Soviet invasion.)

    A member of Roosevelt’s cabinet wrote in his journal that two weeks after the last election for Roosevelt, he asked them to come up with ways to provoke Japan. They froze Japan’s bank accounts in the U.S. and denied them the oil they needed. He started a blockade to destroy Japan’s new economy. Japan saw they would be controlled by foreigners the way China and other countries had been, unless they could secure oil in Asia from the Western colonies.

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