The International Campaign for Real History

Quick navigation

 Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004
Harry S Truman's speech from the White House

delivered at 10 P.M. Washington time on August 9, 1945.

The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.

Sources: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, Containing the Public Messages, Speeches and Statements of the President April 12 to December 31, 1945 (Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1961) page 212. The full text also was published in The New York Times, August 10, 1945, page 12.

Below: Harry S. Truman, Diary, July 25, 1945

President Truman told his diary on July 25, 1945, that he had ordered the bomb used. Note Truman's apparent belief that he had ordered the bomb dropped on a "purely military" target, so that "military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children."

WE have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark. Anyway we "think" we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom. An experiment in the New Mexico desert was startling -- to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1,200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower '/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more. This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th.

click to enlargeI have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new.

He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I'm sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful. . .

Inset: Order to War Dept, Jul 31, 1945

[See: War Dept order to Carl Spaatz, Jul 25, 1945] [Index]
© Focal Point 2004 e-mail:  write to David Irving