Truman and the Hiroshima Cult

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Overview

The United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 to end World War II as quickly and with as few casualties as possible. That is the compelling and elegantly simple argument Newman puts forward in his new study of World War II's end, Truman and the Hiroshima Cult. According to Newman: (1) The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey conclusions that Japan was ready to surrender without "the Bomb" are fraudulent; (2) America’s "unconditional surrender" doctrine did not significantly prolong the war; and (3) President ...

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Truman and the Hiroshima Cult

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Overview

The United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 to end World War II as quickly and with as few casualties as possible. That is the compelling and elegantly simple argument Newman puts forward in his new study of World War II's end, Truman and the Hiroshima Cult. According to Newman: (1) The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey conclusions that Japan was ready to surrender without "the Bomb" are fraudulent; (2) America’s "unconditional surrender" doctrine did not significantly prolong the war; and (3) President Harry S. Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons on Japanese cities was not a "racist act," nor was it a calculated political maneuver to threaten Joseph Stalin’s Eastern hegemony. Simply stated, Newman argues that Truman made a sensible military decision. As commander in chief, he was concerned with ending a devastating and costly war as quickly as possible and with saving millions of lives. 
     Yet, Newman goes further in his discussion, seeking the reasons why so much hostility has been generated by what happened in the skies over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August, 1945. The source of discontent, he concludes, is a "cult" that has grown up in the United States since the 1960s. It was weaned on the disillusionment spawned by concerns about a military industrial complex, American duplicity and failure in the Vietnam War, and a mistrust of government following Watergate. The cult has a shrine, a holy day, a distinctive rhetoric of victimization, various items of scripture, and, in Japan, support from a powerful Marxist constituency. "As with other cults, it is ahistorical," Newman declares. "Its devotees elevate fugitive and unrepresentative events to cosmic status. And most of all, they believe." Newman’s analysis goes to the heart of the process by which scholars interpret historical events and raises disturbing issues about the way historians select and distort evidence about the past to suit special political agendas.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Seeking the reason so much animosity has been generated over President Truman's motives in dropping the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945, Newman (emeritus professor, communication, U. of Pittsburgh) concludes that the source of discontent is a "cult" which has grown in the US since the 1960s. It was weaned on disillusionment spawned by concerns about a military-industrial complex, American duplicity in the Vietnam War, and a mistrust of government following Watergate. Truman's only motive, Newman argues, was to end the war; he raises questions about the ways historians may select and distort evidence about the past to suit political agendas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870134036
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/1995
  • Series: Rhetoric & Public Affairs Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Lexile: 1390L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert P. Newman is a distinguished historian and writer, and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Why Did Truman Drop the Bomb? 1
2 Was Japan Ready to Surrender? 33
3 Was the Policy of Unconditional Surrender Justified? 57
4 Why No Warning or Demonstration? 79
5 Was a Second Bomb Necessary to End the War? 105
6 Was Dropping these Bombs Morally Justified? 115
7 Why Has the "Japan-as-Victim" Myth Been So Attractive? 153
8 What if the Bomb Had Not Been Used? 185
Notes 199
Chronology 237
Bibliography 243
Index 261
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2013

    Systematic debunking of various contentions that the atomic bomb

    Systematic debunking of various contentions that the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were unnecessary to attain a rapid surrender, and that Truman and other American leaders knew this but ordered the bombs used for their own nefarious purposes. It is astonishing that such hogwash is so frequently found among academics who completely ignore the Japanese side of the surrender story, which was at best stalemated in a determination to continue the conflict to a slaughter of Allied troops during the apparently inevitable invasion of the home islands. The author links the "Hiroshima cult" to the now besmirched cult of the "peaceful atom" as the solution to all energy needs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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