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Grateful to Truman for Dropping the Big One

By Paul Kengor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - August 6, 2010

This week marks 65 years since the United States dropped the atomic bomb. On Aug. 6, 1945, President Harry Truman delivered a "rain of ruin" upon Hiroshima, Japan, with Nagasaki hit three days later, killing 100,000 to 200,000 people.

Truman's objective was to compel surrender from an intransigent enemy that refused to halt its naked aggression. The barbarous mentality of 1940s Japan was beyond belief. An entire nation had lost its mind, consumed by a ferocious militarism and hellbent on suicide. Facing such fanaticism, Truman felt no alternative but to use the bomb. As George C. Marshall put it, the Allies needed something extraordinary "to shock [the Japanese] into action." Nothing else was working. Japan was committed to a downward death spiral, with no end in sight.

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