About a month or so ago, on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, a discussion was brought up as to whether dropping the bomb on Hiroshima was correct. By now we have heard all the arguments as to why it was needed -- namely to prevent an invasion that would cost two-hundred thousand lives. Also now we have heard the revisionist platform that argues that those numbers are inflated, that Japan was ready to surrender, etc. This, by the way, is the prevailing paradigm that is taught at UCLA.
Baby boomer Matthews reminded us though, that his dad who was stationed at the Pacific during the war, that there was a good chance he would never have been born if the Americans invaded. It was that statement that showed, I think, that Truman made the right decision in dropping the bomb. If Americans really think about it, Truman really did not have much of a choice: lose 250 thousand American lives or drop the bomb.
I think it's best summed up by Truman's biographer* David McCullough: "How could a president, or the others charged with responsibility for the decision, answer to the American people if... after the bloodbath of an invasion of Japan, it became known that a weapon sufficient to end the war had been available by midsummer and was not used?"
Now here's a question for this blog: assuming that bombing Hiroshima was neccessary, what about Nagasaki?