Ian W. Toll: The atomic bomb was not the only way – NY Daily News

In a diary entry on July 25, 1945, Truman wrote that he had asked his secretary of war “to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children…

“The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance.”

Two weeks later, with no explicit prior warning, an atomic bomb wiped out the seventh largest city in Japan. What happened?

The answer to that question remains a matter of heated controversy. Important gaps in the record hinder our understanding. Key decisions were made in face-to-face meetings in which no document was left for posterity. It has been suggested that Truman and his secretary of state, James F. Byrnes, regarded the bomb as a means to impress or intimidate the Soviet Union. While no consensus exists, I believe the weight of evidence supports that conclusion.

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