70 years after the US dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the real reasons behind the decision still divide historians. Recently declassified documents from the time suggest that the nuclear strikes may have been performed not out of military necessity but to intimidate the USSR.
RTD’s Peter Scott travels to the two Japanese cities that were devastated by the attacks, where he visits a victims’ memorial and meets nuclear blast survivors still haunted by their memories. He also interviews President Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, on the subject of his grandfather’s controversial legacy.
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This concept that “there was no military justification for dropping atomic bombs on Japan” is a new one on me and, nearly as I can tell, an obvious falsehood. However, there is nothing new about the concept that one of the intended benefits of the measure was to influence the post war behaviour of the Soviet Union. That one dates back as far as I can remember, and I am an old man.
Dear Quentin, my father was a WWII Army veteran (Bushmasters) who fought all the way from the Philippines to Okinawa. He actually told me this story decades ago. He said that as much as he disliked the Japanese there was no need for the bomb to be used. Why? because during those days he was in Japan negotiating their surrender and they were just “days away” from finalizing it. As you said, the real target of dropping the bomb was intimidating the Soviet Union and the Japanese were just used as a pawn for that.