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Critics have charged that the United States was morally irresponsible in using the atomic weapons against Japan during World War II. Were the United States’ actions justified?

In order to prepare for this discussion forum:

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3. Review The Trial And Cast Your Verdict. How Do You Find President Truman? Guilty Or Not Guilty? Discuss Why You Reached That Decision.
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· Review and identify relevant sections of Chapter 26 to support your discussion.

· Read the essay DEBATING THE PAST: THE DECISION TO DROP THE ATOMIC BOMB.

· In 2005 a group of historians held a mock trial- Hiroshima: Truman on Trial.

After you have completed your readings post your answers to only ONE of the following questions.

  1. What are the explanations that have been offered in support of dropping the atomic bomb? What is your response to these explanations? Make sure that you provide specific support from your readings.
  2. What are the arguments that have been presented against using the atomic bomb? What is your response to these arguments? Make sure that you provide specific support from your readings.
  3. Review the trial and cast your verdict. How do you find President Truman? Guilty or Not Guilty? Discuss why you reached that decision.

Hiroshima: harry Truman on trial

In the summer of 2001, on the occasion of the anniversary of Hiroshima, History News Network staged a mock trial of Harry Truman. The charge: that he violated the Nuremberg standards regarding the lawful conduct of war.

Philip Nobile served as chief prosecutor, Ronald Radosh as chief defense counsel. In advance of publication, each writer was given the chance to review each other’s statements.

Afterwards, the statements were submitted to a jury composed of leading scholars. Following the online publication of this”virtual” trial, readers were invited to submit their comments. These were collected and published.

I accuse President Harry S Truman of war crimes under Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter outlawing”the wanton destruction of cities, towns, and villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.”

Specifically, I accuse President Truman of ordering the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki via an experimental terror weapon resulting in the massacre and maiming of some 200,000 Japanese women, children and old people.

Philip Nobile, August 2001

THE TRIAL

OPENING ARGUMENTS:

PROSECUTION Philip Nobile

DEFENSE Ronald Rados

CLOSING ARGUMENTS:

PROSECUTION Philip Nobile

DEFENSE Ronald Radosh

PHILIP NOBILE RESPONDS TO THE JURY

JURY VERDICT:

GUILTY

J. Dresner Brian M. Jones

UNDECIDED

Arnold A. Offner

NOT GUILTY

R. John Pritchard Richard Jensen Oscar B. Chamberlain Robert James Maddox James R. Van de Velde Larry Schweikart Jeff Tenuth

Chapter 26 summary

On March 5, 1933, one day after the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the German Reichstag granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers. As dictators took power in Europe and Asia, America attempted to maintain the isolationist position the country had taken after WWI. The decision to not become entangled in the war that was now raging in other parts of the world was abruptly changed on the morning of December 7, 1941.

The attack caused a large-scale destruction of the American fleet in the Pacific and shocked the nation. It also ended American support for isolationism. The war that America was determined not to become involved with, came directly to the nation’s back door. Twenty million fighting men and 25 million civilians died in World War II, and vast areas of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. The war greatly impacted the country socially and economically, and the nation emerged as a major military power. It showed the interdependence of economic and political systems but also increased that interdependence. Isolation no longer seemed practical, desirable, nor possible

Winning the war and the peace

At 0815 on August 6,1945 , the bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan as recorded by this photograph taken an observation plane. approximately 100,000 people died from the initial bomb blast, with thousands more dying from radiation poisoning.

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