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DECEMBER 4, 1988
On Parade
What's Up this Week 
A Time for Romance
My First Love is a story about sixtyish widower (Richard Kiley) who, despite having a much younger girlfriend, strikes sparks with is recently widowed high school sweetheart (Beatrice Arthur). At a recent press conference, a reporter actually asked: "Mr. Kiley, speaking for men in your age group, if your character hadn't had a prior relationship with Bea Arthur, do you truly think he would have given her a second look if he met her at a party...I mean, you know, a woman that age?" Kiley hedged his response, but you can safely assume that the two-hour romantic comedy doesn't bring Kiley back into Arthur's life just to leave her
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[[personal note]]
Good luck 9/12/58 [[Harry Truman?]]
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I photographed Palimino horses for Alex Campbell, the National Democratic Chairman. He and his wife ruby rode them every year in the Rose Parade. (I had three magazine covers) On 9/12/58 I sat in the Campbell Ranch kitchen with Alex and two Secret Service men and listened to President Truman tell Vance Hartke how to win his Senate seat. Three years later I again sat in the kitchen and listened to Sen. Strom Thurmond tell birch Bayh how to win. Both Hartke and Bayh served for 18 years.

[[image: photo of President Truman and 4 other men]]
[[caption: 9/12/58 Alex Campbell Ranch
Left to Right
Charles Westerman
Vance Hartke
President Harry Truman
Alex Campbell
Jim Inskeep

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the development of a sort of super-bomb and that that bomb was almost ready. I was still stunned by Roosevelt's death and by the fact that I was now President, and I didn't think much more about it at the time. But then, on April 26, Stimson asked for a meeting in my office, at which he was joined by Major General Leslie Groves, who was in charge of the operation which was developing the bomb, the Manhattan Project. At the meeting, Stimson handed me a memorandum which said: "Within four months we shall in all probability have completed the most terrible weapon ever known to human history, one bomb which could destroy a whole city."

Stimson said gravely that he didn't know whether we could or should use the bomb, because he was afraid that it was so powerful that it could end up destroying the whole world. I  felt the same fear as he and Groves continued to talk about it, and when I read Groves' 24-page report. The report said the first bomb would  probably be ready by July and have the strength of about 500 tons of TNT, and, even more frighteningly, that a second bomb would probably be ready by August and have the strength of as much as 1200 tons of TNT. We weren't aware then that that was just the tip of the iceberg. That second bomb turned out to have the power of 20,000 tons of TNT, and the hydrogen bomb which eventually followed it had the explosive power of 20 million tons of TNT.

Stimson's memo suggested the formation of a committee to assist me in deciding whether to use the bomb on Japan, and I agreed completely. The committee, consisted of Stimson as chairman, James F. Byrnes, who later became my Secretary of State, as my representative on the committee; James B. Conant, the president of Harvard; Karl T. Compton, the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Vannevar Bush, the head of our Office of Scientific Research and Development. The Interim Committee in turn called in, for advice and information, the scientists who had developed the bomb: Arthur H. Compton, who was Karl Compton's brother, Enrico Fermi, Ernest O. Lawrence and J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Then, On May 8, my 61st birthday, the Germans surrendered, and I had to remind our country that the war was only half over, that we still had to face the war with Japan. The winning of that war, we all knew, might even be more difficult to accomplish, because the Japanese were self-proclaimed fanatic warriors who made it all too clear that they preferred death to defeat in battle. Just a month before, after our soldiers and Marines landed on Okinawa, the Japanese lost 100,000 men out of the 120,000 in their garrison, and yet, though they were defeated without any question, thousands more fell on their grenades and died rather than surrender.

Nevertheless, I pleaded with the Japanese in my speech announcing German's surrender, begging them to surrender too, but I was not too surprised when they refused. On June 18, I met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss what I hoped would be our final push against the Japanese. We still hadn't decided whether to use the atomic bomb, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested that we plan an attack on Kyushu, the Japanese island on their extreme west, around the beginning of November, and follow up with an attack on the more important island of Honshu.

But the statistics that the generals gave me were as frightening as the news of the big bomb. The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that the Japanese still had 5000 attack planes, 17 garrisons on the island of Kyushu alone, and a total of more than 2 million men on all of the islands of Japan. General (George) Marshall estimated that, since the Japanese would fight more fiercely than ever on their own homeland, we would probably lose 250,000 men and possibly as many as 500,000 in taking the two islands. I could not bear this thought, and it led to the decision to use the atomic bomb.

We talked first about blockading Japan and trying to blast them into surrender with conventional weaponry; but Marshall and others made it clear that this would never work, point out that the Germans hadn't surrendered until we got troops into Germany itself. Another general pointed out that Germany's munitions industries were more spread apart and harder to hit than Japan's. When we finally talked about the atomic bomb, on July 21, and came to the awful conclusion that it would probably be the only way the Japanese might be made to surrender quickly, we talked first about hitting some isolated, low-population area where there would not be too many casualties but the Japanese could see the power of the new weapon. Reluctantly, we decided against that as well, feeling it wouldn't be enough to convince the fanatical Japanese. We finally selected four possible target areas, all heavy military-manufacturing areas: Hiroshima, Kokura, Nagasaki and Niigata.

I know the world will never forget that the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and the second on Nagasaki on Aug 9. One more plea for surrender had been made to the Japanese on July 29 and rejected immediately. Then I gave the final order, saying I had no qualms "if millions of lives could be saved." I meant both American and Japanese lives.

The Japanese surrendered five days after the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and a number of major Japanese military men and diplomats later confided publicly that there would have been no quick surrender without it. For this reason, I made what I believed to be the only possible decision.

In a speech I made at a major university in 1965 I said:
"It was a question of saving hundreds of thousands of American lives... You don't feel normal when you have to  plan hundreds of thousands of...deaths of American boys who are alve and joking and having fun while you're doing your planning. You break your heart and your head trying to figure out a way to save one life...The name given to our invasion plan was Olympic, but I saw nothing godly about the killing of all the people that would be necessary to make that invasion. The casualty estimates called for 750,000 American casualties - 250,000 killed, 500,000 maimed for life...I couldn't worry about what history would say about my personal morality. I made the only decision I ever knew how to make. I did what I though was right."

I still think that.
From the book by Harry S. Truman, edited by Margaret Truman and Scott Meredith, to be published by Warner Books.


The Japanese who had broken our code, thought that Thin Man was Roosevelt and Fat Man was Churchill. When Roosevelt died the name was changed to Little Boy to hide its identity.
(Thin Man)

[[image: photo of "Little Boy" atomic bomb]]
[[caption: (Thin Man) original name
  New name -> "Little Boy" - Uranium - 8.900 lbs - 120"x28" - Hiroshima]]

[[image: photo of "Fat Man" atomic bomb]]
[[caption: "Fat Man"
  (Big Boy) - Plutoniam - 10,800 lbs - 
  128"x60" - Nagasaki
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