Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Most Terrible Thing

The weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th.  I 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 this terrible bomb on the old capital or the new [Kyoto or Tokyo].

He [Stimson] and I are in accord.  The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement [known as the Potsdam Proclamation] 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.

-- President Harry Truman, writing in his diary, 25 July 1945

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