Been watching Oliver Stone’s “History of the United States” on Netflix. I’ve read a lot of history, but this is really eye-opening stuff. Particularly, my opinion of Harry Truman has been completely altered. He knew the Japanese were going to surrender, but chose to drop the world’s first atomic bombs anyway, against the advice of the scientists who developed it and indeed 6 out of 7 of his own generals, simply to show the Soviets that America would not hesitate to invoke vast civilian casualties. In that context, it has to be one of the most reprehensible decisions in the history of the world.
Of course he was also an enthusiastic racist to his core, and did not see the Japanese as human beings.
I would recommend this series to anyone who wants to get beyond the propaganda and find a more accurate picture of the true heroes and villains of our recent history.
To which i replied:
I’ve gone down this topic very deeply over the last few months with 3-20+ hour-long audiobooks, several documentaries and so on.
The debate over what precipitated the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II is a source of contention among historians. This debate has also figured prominently in the discussion of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (for more on that discussion, see Debate over the Bomb). The “traditional narrative” put forward in the war’s immediate aftermath was that using the atomic bombs caused the surrender, but this narrative has come under fire in subsequent years.
As with other debates around the Manhattan Project, ambiguities arise due to the fact that many of the available primary sources are considered unreliable. The historians who have tackled this issue have generally used the same pool of primary source information, but they have come to divergent conclusions because they differed in which sources they considered trustworthy or significant.