This article appears in the August 4, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
The Beast-Men Who Made and Dropped the Bomb
This is an edited and shortened version of the original article first published in 21st Century Science & Technology, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2005, pp. 22–39. Act and scene numbers are the same as in the original, reflecting that some scenes have been excised.
July 26, 2023
In the pages ahead you will read of the horrifying yet actual procession of events as they unfolded at the tail end of World War II, culminating in the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945. These dramatic events not only shook the world at the time in a way that had never been felt before, they altered the course of history for everything that has followed—up to and including today.
This point cannot be stressed enough: Today’s current strategic complications are absolutely a result of the decisions taken during the final days of the war in 1945. As the world today looks in horror at the events unfolding between Russia and NATO in Ukraine, with all its overtones of threatened thermonuclear conflict, it is actually looking at a process set into motion nearly 80 years ago. It is our belief that the truth of this fateful history must urgently be grasped by future-oriented leaders of today, if the world is to ever move beyond this continuing threat of global war, and all the smaller “regime change” wars that are its shadows.
EIR has therefore decided to re-publish this article, originally published in 2005. A few words about this context should first be given.
In the more than a decade since the author first wrote this report, nothing has emerged to cause him to alter the three main conclusions:
1. There was no real reason, military or otherwise, that justified the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on an unsuspecting Japanese civilian population.
2. The Beast-Men who urged their dupe President Harry S Truman to drop the two bombs, did so knowing full well that the action was militarily unnecessary, but did so for geo-political reasons: The real “target” of the bombing was the leadership of our ally, the Soviet Union, whom they sought to dominate.
3. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had had no intention of dropping the bomb on the Japanese, realizing such action was morally unacceptable and militarily unnecessary.
Newly declassified documents and further scholarly research have supported all of these contentions. For example, there is the report of an assessment prepared by military intelligence and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which concluded that, even at the time of the August decision to drop the first bomb on Hiroshima, the peace negotiations conducted by Monsignor Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI)—working with the OSS’s Max Corvo, and his emissary Martin Quigley—had produced a realizable surrender agreement that had the approval of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Though the Vatican channel had to be kept “unofficial,” it was approved by OSS head Gen. William J. Donovan, acting on behalf of FDR.
The key element of the negotiations was whether, in the terms of surrender, the Japanese would be allowed to retain their Emperor, if they so determined. Eventually, this was agreed to in the final surrender terms. But Corvo told associates of Lyndon LaRouche that, while the political and military leaders, including President Truman, concurred that this would eventually be necessary to secure the surrender, they were not willing to send a signal, prior to the dropping of the bombs.
Corvo, Quigley and others believed that had the signal been sent, the Japanese would have agreed to terms of surrender without any further actions, as the Emperor would have demanded it. Corvo said that the reason this was not done was that a decision had already been made to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, if a test showed the bomb worked.
Donovan and Corvo knew that FDR would have sent such a signal when requested, and his sheer political power would have over-ruled and crushed any counter arguments from the Beast-Men. FDR saw the matter from a higher dimension than the military or political. If this terrible weapon had been necessary to defeat the Nazis, he might have been tempted to use it. But it were likely he would have found a way to demonstrate its awful power without killing large numbers of human beings.
And herein lies the tragedy—one created by raw lust for power and domination of the Beast-Men in the Anglo-American elite, not by a mission to defeat the Nazis or Japanese. It is the same kind of Beast-Man thinking by the elements of that same elite that today is driving the world to the edge of a nuclear Armageddon. It remains the job of human beings, men and women of good will, to stop today’s Beast-Men. We must remind ourselves that in the 78 years since those bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States is still the only nation to have used nuclear weapons in war. It is a stain on our soul as a nation.
Oppenheimer, the Movie
That said, a short comment should be made on the stir that is being created around the release of Christopher Nolan’s movie Oppenheimer. Nolan attempts to portray the complex reality described in this report, by focusing on the work and moral torment of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (1945–1954) and the scientist credited with putting together and guiding the team of scientists of the Manhattan Project, the super-secret program which developed the atomic bomb. While from the outset, everyone involved knew they were developing a weapon of unprecedented destructive potential, internally they all hoped its actual use would not be needed.
Steps were taken to make sure that would be the case, working with their counterparts in the Nazi bomb development program to delay its progress, until the Nazis could be defeated by military means. Most of all, these scientists thought they could depend on the sound moral leadership of FDR, whom they rightfully believed would never authorize the bomb’s use.
The author’s knowledge of these matters does not come from books or movies (although he has read many, many books on and around the subjects discussed here), but from discussions with one of the Manhattan Project’s leading scientists, Dr. Robert Moon, to whose memory this paper is dedicated. He had said that the death of FDR on April 12, 1945, on the eve of the Nazi surrender in Europe, hit him and the other scientists like a mule kick to the head. No one even knew who Truman was, Dr. Moon told me. He and the others in his circle did not believe that this little man could stand up to the pressure from the utopian geopolitical warriors.
Those scientists who were politically astute, were aware that with the U.S. having a monopoly on this super-weapon, there would be more than a temptation to threaten to use it against their Soviet ally at the earliest opportunity. This meant, Dr. Moon said privately, that if the bomb worked—it had yet to be tested—they were certain to make a show of slaughter and drop it on the already-defeated Japanese. He said that there was talk of possibly sabotaging the test, but this was rejected. The project had enough bomb-making fuel for three bombs—the test bomb, and the two bombs that were later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The scientists decided to sabotage and delay the production of bomb-making materials, the which could be done subtly, but would delay the creation of new bombs for a year or more, and then also limit the number that could be produced.
Dr. Moon did not reveal who besides himself was involved, but it was many, if not the majority of scientists in the project. It is not clear whether their effective director, Oppenheimer, was involved, but it is hard to imagine that he didn’t know. With what we now know of the pressure being applied by utopian lunatics to do what the scientists feared, that is, go after the Soviet Union with a pre-emptive nuclear attack after the defeat of Germany—as was advocated at the time in published articles by Bertrand Russell—the courageous actions by Moon and his fellow scientists rank among the main reasons that we are still here to debate these subjects.
This work was originally presented in 2005 in three Acts, but we have reduced it to the final parts of Act II and all of Act III. Act I dealt with the selling of the bomb project to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, an effort led by the Wall Street banker Alexander Sachs—who used, as his leverage point, the existence of a Nazi atom bomb program—and involving a reluctant Albert Einstein. Act II dealt with the creation of the super-secret Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb, but also the efforts of scientists, including Niels Bohr, working with counterparts in the Nazi program, to sabotage that project from within.
We pick up our story at the end of Act II in the final months of FDR’s life. Some important maneuvers are taking place, including by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to create the possibility that the bomb might be used on Japan after FDR’s death.
We have included the entire, terrifying Act III, the dropping of the bomb, which proceeds toward its tragic conclusion with a force, not of destiny, but of the moral weakness of those who might have stopped what was happening when up against the evil Beast-Men committed to dropping the bomb. The American people played no role in the decision, but had they been consulted—if they were not told that peace without Hiroshima was at hand—they would have no doubt approved the decision which killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese in a matter of minutes but supposedly saved American lives that would otherwise be lost in an invasion.
In reflecting upon this story 78 years later, it is hoped that the American people will have a much different response than they did in 1945. In fact, their voice may be the most important factor in preventing the ultimate conclusion of this still unresolved tragedy today.
Act II—The Making of a Nightmare
Scene 8—The President’s Health
We must now do a bit of a time reversal. We go back to March 27, 1944, when Roosevelt, at the inducement of several people close to him concerned about his recent health problems and fatigue, goes to the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for a medical check-up. During the check-up, administered by a young Navy cardiologist, Lt. Commander Howard Bruenn, FDR is his normal cheerful self, joking with patients and nurses, and putting the young doctor at ease. Bruenn, however, is shocked by what he finds—his patient is suffering from serious and advanced heart disease, with signs of previous cardiac failure. FDR’s condition is serious, and requires immediate treatment, lest there be a fatal incident.[fn_1]
But FDR is no normal patient: He is the President of the United States. And although a treatment regimen is prescribed, including digitalis, the patient is not given the normal treatments for someone with advanced heart disease. Nor is he ever told the full extent of his illness. It is probable that he guessed some of what was wrong. But FDR believes that he is soldier fighting a necessary battle for his country and civilization and he is willing to put his life on the line for his cause.
For the sake of our story, it were important to understand that FDR never doubts that he will be the man who will make the decisions about the use of the atomic bomb and the immediate post-war arrangements about nuclear power. While often physically strained and increasingly weak, he was in full command of his faculties. Had he seen the potential nearness of his demise, he might have acted differently—for example, in the case of Vice President Henry Wallace and his place on the 1944 ticket.[fn_2] But FDR’s hubris and willpower would allow for no such doubts; the very qualities that made him a great leader, in this case play an important role in the unfolding tragedy we report here.
Winston Churchill, through British intelligence sources, knows of the Bruenn examination and its conclusions. He is likely told by British doctors that Roosevelt is going to die, most likely within the next 24 months, possibly sooner.
Churchill realizes that no successor to FDR would dare go against the President’s intentions on the atomic bomb. He decides on a gamble: He will bet that FDR will die before the bomb decision is made; before that event, Churchill will obtain a vague agreement on the bomb’s possible use against an already increasingly prostrate Japan, hoping that the President will offer this to him if he demands that it must be used. Once FDR is gone, Churchill can interpret this piece of paper as authorizing the bomb’s use.
Scene 9—The ‘Bomb’ Memorandum
There are no “official” records of what took place at the September 1944 Hyde Park summit between FDR and Churchill. But from various “unofficial sources,” a picture emerges.[fn_3] Churchill has come with certain “information.” He tells FDR that he believes that “your friend” Niels Bohr is leaking material to the Soviets. Churchill presents FDR with reports on the message from the Russians to Bohr asking him to join “their team.” Roosevelt didn’t believe that Bohr was a Soviet agent, but being confronted with Churchill’s allegations, he cannot afford to associate himself with Bohr or his ideas.
Churchill then presents a draft of a memorandum that incorporates the core of his strategy on the bomb.
The following aide-mémoire, marked TOP SECRET, is issued Sept. 19, 1944 over the initials of Roosevelt and Churchill:
1. The suggestion that the world should be informed regarding TUBE ALLOYS, with a view toward international agreement regarding its control and use, is not accepted. The matter should continue to be regarded with utmost secrecy, but when the “bomb” is finally available, it might, perhaps, after mature consideration be used against the Japanese, who should be warned that this bombardment will be repeated until they surrender.
2. Full collaboration between the United States and the British Government in developing TUBE ALLOYS for military and commercial purposes should continue after the defeat of Japan, unless and until terminated by joint agreement.
3. Enquiries should be made regarding the activities of Professor Bohr and steps taken to ensure that he is responsible for no leakage of information, particularly to the Russians.
Churchill believes that he has gotten everything he wanted.
Roosevelt also believes that he has what he wants. He substitutes for Churchill’s demand for an explicit commitment to use the bomb if military matters might dictate, the conditional agreement, including wording that any decision will be taken after “mature consideration.” Had FDR lived to undertake such “mature consideration,” no bombs would have been dropped. But with FDR out of the picture, Churchill will not allow mere nominalisms to stand in his way.
Scene 10—‘As Long As I Am Around ...’
The memo is discussed by the TOP Committee, the people briefed on the bomb project. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson in particular seems happy with what has happened. He has some vague idea that the bomb might be used only as a threat to force the Soviets into compliance with the international system, to bring them into the Great Game under acceptable rules of conduct; on the issue of whether the bomb should actually be used against Japan, he is hesitant and uncertain.[fn_4]
In late August, Stimson goes to see the President to convince him of the need to understand how the bomb (his code name for it is “S-1”) could be used to create a “new world order.” His notes for the meeting, available from the Stimson archives, read:
The necessity of bringing the Russian orgn. into the fold of Christian civilization....
The possible use of S-1 to accomplish this ...
Steps toward disarmament
Impossibility of disclosure—(S-1)
Science is making the common yardstick impossible.
Henry Wallace is upset at what he sees in the Hyde Park memo and in Stimson’s ideas of a “new order.” Wallace, dumped from the vice presidential spot on the Democratic ticket in favor of Truman in the 1944 presidential election, is still FDR’s trusted aide on these matters. He participates in all TOP Committee meetings, and FDR has informed him that he will be made Secretary of Commerce in the next Administration, from where, among other things, he intends Wallace to oversee the peaceful development of atomic power.
Wallace goes to see the President, according to an article he wrote later. He asks whether the memo means a change in his policy—is he going to drop a bomb? Roosevelt says nothing has changed. FDR explains that the memo keeps Churchill off his back. As long as I am around, we will do the right thing, he says.[fn_5]
The President looks tired and gaunt in these last days of the 1944 Presidential campaign, even before the grueling Yalta trip that is to come with the New Year.
Scene 11—The Light Goes Out
For Franklin Roosevelt, time is running out.
In early 1945, Roosevelt tells the Joint Chiefs of Staff that he intends to delay any decision on an invasion of Japan until at least the Fall of 1945. In Europe, five-star General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, concurs. In the Pacific, five-star General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, whom FDR despises as a political thinker but respects as a military genius, thinks the plan for the Japanese invasion is a waste of manpower and money; Japan is no longer a threat to anyone but itself. Wait them out until a surrender can be arranged, he counsels.
Some time in March 1945, OSS Chief William Donovan goes in to see the President to brief him. He emerges from the Oval Office shaken. The President is wasting away. He is gone, he tells an aide, with a sense of foreboding.[fn_6]
Bohr, who has been in Europe much of the time since the Sept. 19, 1944 memo, returns to the U.S. in early April. He has heard that Churchill believes that he can force the U.S. to use the bomb, and that its main target will not be Japan, but the Soviet Union. This is called “terror politics,” and Bohr stays up several nights writing a special memorandum for FDR. In it, he argues for openness and for collaboration with the Russians, and against secrecy and distrust, lest the world live in an era of “atomic terror.” Bohr seeks out Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter to help him get the memo to Roosevelt. He proposes to discuss the matter with the British Ambassador, the synarchist Lord Halifax, who represents himself as an opponent of Churchill. Their meeting is set for Rock Creek Park in Washington for the late afternoon of April 12.[fn_7]
On April 11, FDR drafts a speech for the April 13 Jefferson Day events. He is in Warm Springs, Georgia, away from Washington for some rest and relaxation. It seems to be having a wonderful effect, reinvigorating him. He is full of hope and optimism. In the draft, after paying tribute to Jefferson as a Secretary of State, President, and scientist, FDR turns to the world situation:
The once powerful, malignant Nazi state is crumbling. The Japanese war lords are receiving in their own homeland, the retribution for which they asked when they attacked Pearl Harbor.
But the mere conquest of our enemies is not enough.
We must go on to do all in our power to conquer the doubts and fears, the ignorance and greed, which made this horror possible....
Today, we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships—the ability of all peoples, of all kinds to live together and to work together, in the same world, at peace….
The work, my friends, is peace. More than an end of this war—an end to the beginnings of all wars. Yes, an end, forever, to this impractical, unrealistic settlement of differences between governments by the mass killing of peoples….
The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
At a little after 1:00 p.m. on April 12, FDR suffers a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Not long after, the voice that much of the world looked to for reason, is dead. He had told Henry Wallace that he would be there to make the fateful decisions about the bomb; now those decisions will be made by Harry S Truman, whom Roosevelt hasn’t even briefed on the bomb project.
Act III—The Dropping of the Bomb
Scene 1—The Little Man Who Is President
Harry S Truman, a mean little man of limited intelligence, is now the President of the United States. One day after FDR’s death, Stimson goes to see him. Truman has not been a participant in the TOP Committee; Wallace has continued to serve there, at FDR’s insistence. Stimson now lets Truman in fully on the bomb project; he tells him that by the best estimates, a bomb will be ready for use by mid-Summer.
Truman is shocked by what he hears. However, he quickly becomes excited with the prospects for the “super-weapon.” Was Roosevelt planning to drop the bomb on Japan? Truman asks. Stimson tells the new President that FDR was prepared to use it on Japan, and hands him a copy of the Sept. 19 memo with Churchill as his “proof.” Then, I am prepared to use it, as well, Truman blusters. He is to never waiver from this initial determination to use the bomb.[fn_8]
On that same day, Truman receives a top secret briefing paper prepared by Secretary of State Edward Stettinius that purports to describe U.S. foreign policy.[fn_9] Stettinius had never really shared FDR’s views on the prospects for post-war cooperation with the Soviet Union. In two areas in particular, this difference is crucial: The paper does not mention Roosevelt’s clearly stated intent to use American power to end colonial empires; it exaggerates FDR’s concerns about problems with the Soviets. Churchill reinforces this briefing in his first communications with the new President.
Such briefings reinforce Truman’s own Hobbesian views of foreign policy and basic distrust and fear of foreigners. While he soon tells the nation that he intends to “continue [FDR’s] policies,” Truman intends to put his own stamp on these policies. He will be pragmatic, tough, and forceful, where FDR was a dreamer and an idealist.
When Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov stops in Washington for a “courtesy visit” with the new American President, he is greeted with a harangue, which includes cuss words, about how the Russians have broken the Yalta agreements, especially on Poland, and have betrayed the trust of the late President and the hope of the world. Molotov, shocked by the little President’s outburst in such undiplomatic terms, says, “I have never been spoken to like that in my life.” Truman sternly replies, “Carry out your agreements, and you won’t get talked to like that!”
A stunned Molotov leaves Washington. He had been sent by Stalin to the San Francisco conference to draft and approve the UN Charter as a sign of Russian commitment to the late President’s dream. He now cables Stalin that Truman is a “madman.”[fn_10]
Scene 2—The Puppetmaster
One man is pleased by the new President’s behavior—James “Jimmy” Byrnes, the former Justice of the Supreme Court and South Carolina Senator, who is to become Truman’s Secretary of State and his Rasputin on foreign policy. FDR had used Byrnes’ organizational skills in heading the War Mobilization Board, but he knew that the South Carolinian’s view of the world was that of an American imperialist, the flip side of Churchill’s views. The ambitious Byrnes believed that he, not Truman, should have been sitting in White House.[fn_11]
Truman knew Byrnes in the Congress, and feels at ease with the bourbon and scotch drinking Southerner, a fellow poker player. Byrnes makes Truman dependent on him; if he cannot be President, then the President will be his puppet. He moulds Truman’s vague Hobbesian worldview into a virulent, anti-communist neo-imperialism with a utopian flair.
In briefing Truman on the bomb, Stimson had proposed the creation of a new secret “Interim Committee.” Perhaps fearing what he sees as the unstable qualities of the new President, and the growing influence of Byrnes, he proposes that this new committee make a recommendation on the testing and use of the bomb. Truman immediately agrees, and Stimson draws up a list of participants. Stimson will be its chairman. However, Truman appoints Jimmy Byrnes as his special and personal representative to the Committee. Byrnes, not Stimson, becomes the person who briefs the President on its deliberations.[fn_12]
The first meeting of this new so-called Interim Committee in late April 1945 hears reports on the awesome power of the bomb. Byrnes asks whether there is any possible defense against this weapon. He is told there isn’t; that in the future, only ever-larger and more powerful bombs will be built. Then, the only defense against further development is to kill all the scientists? Byrnes asks.
Byrnes asks both the Committee members and the various engineers and others interviewed how long it would take before the Russians might develop an atomic weapon. Based on the information that he is given, he concludes that it would “take seven to ten years, at least....” He believes this estimate to be “optimistic.”
On July 1, at a secret session of the Committee, the decision is made to unanimously recommend that the bomb be used against Japan as soon as it is ready. Byrnes reports that the only caveat in its use should be that a site be selected of some “military value,” either war production plants or port facilities or military bases in the general area. Wanting to give the Japanese no excuse to surrender and thus avoid the bomb’s use, Byrnes argues against advance warning, claiming that if warning were given, the Japanese might bring U.S. POWs to the bomb target area.[fn_13]
Byrnes is sworn in as the new Secretary of State on July 3. He now controls all decisions about the potential surrender terms with the Japanese, and can make it impossible for them to surrender without suffering an atomic bombing.[fn_14]
Scene 3—The Puppet Is Manipulated
Byrnes briefs the President on the Committee’s recommendation. Truman, realizing that he is now being asked for a decision on the bomb, becomes nervous. Explain to me what the military implication of all this is, he asks. Byrnes starts by telling the President of the Joint Chiefs’ battle plan which called for an invasion of the Japanese home islands in November, starting with Kyushu, and then followed in the Spring of 1946 by an invasion of the main island, Honshu. Five million allied troops, mostly Americans, would be facing five million fanatical Japanese willing to die to defend their homeland and their Emperor; there would probably be upwards of a million casualties, mostly American, and millions of Japanese dead.
So, you are telling me that using this weapon will save a million American lives and more than that in Japs? Truman asked, as he paces about nervously. Finally he turns to Byrnes: Well, Jimmy, there’s no choice is there. Tell them I agree with their recommendation.[fn_15]
A Presidential order is issued directing that the bomb be tested, and if successful, that it should be used on a target selected by the Committee.
In the late Spring 1945, Dr. Leo Szilard, who at this moment is as obsessed about avoiding use of the bomb as he is later to become obsessed with its pre-emptive use against the Soviets, approaches Byrnes to plead his case, which is supported by a large number of top physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project. Byrnes rejects their plea for a “demonstration test,” telling Szilard that the biggest benefit would not be on Japan or the Pacific War. The bomb would be used, Byrnes says, for another purpose—“to make Russia more manageable in Europe.”[fn_16]
Scene 4—‘Hamlet’ Is Gripped by Doubt
As Secretary Stimson sits through the Interim Committee meetings, he becomes increasingly uneasy. He is now 77 years old, part of the “old guard,” the founder of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the leader of the Eastern Establishment.
He never liked Roosevelt, and suffered him as a necessary annoyance in gaining a victory against the synarchist fascists. Now, he worries about this new breed of utopians and their view of the power of the “bomb.” It is one thing to have it as a threat, to be used within the old balance of power system. It is another to use it with a blindness about your adversaries—you might trigger a war that will end civilization, and the power of the Establishment along with it.
No “humanitarian,” Stimson has little concern for the lives of “little people,” be they Japanese or Americans. It is political pragmatism and fear of utopians like Byrnes that motivates him to press for giving the Japanese a real chance to surrender before the utopians drop the bomb. He drafts a proclamation to be issued by the U.S. and Britain at the July Three Power Conference, scheduled for July 17 to August 2 in Potsdam, Germany. Aware of the past back-channel negotiations, he comes up with language that threatens Japan with the “utter destruction of its homeland” if it doesn’t surrender, but includes an offer to continue “… a constitutional monarchy under the present dynasty ...” if it does.[fn_17]
Stimson now appeals to this little man from Missouri whom fate and poor judgment has made President, going to him with the draft his staff has prepared for the Potsdam declaration on Japan. But the President turns these matters over to his Secretary of State. Byrnes reviews the Stimson draft, accepting its basic wording, but striking its most important passage—the offer to continue the Imperial dynasty.[fn_18]
Scene 5—The Emperor Makes a Move
In Japan, on the eve of Potsdam, Emperor Hirohito is becoming anxious. The back-channel through the Vatican has yielded no result; with FDR’s death, there is no one to talk to. Seeing the needless slaughter, the Emperor decides to make a new overture through the Russians, hoping that they might broker a peace deal.[fn_19]
On July 12, Hirohito goes to see his former Prime Minister, Prince Fumimaro Konoe, who is now in semi-retirement. An opponent of the war with the U.S., he had left the government after being blocked in an earlier effort to secure peace prior to Pearl Harbor through direct negotiations between FDR and the Emperor. Hirohito goes alone, in violation of all royal protocol. He asks Konoe for advice. “It is necessary to end this war as soon as possible,” the Prince counsels. The Emperor orders him to prepare for a trip to Moscow.
The Japanese Foreign Minister cables Japanese Ambassador Satō in Moscow on July 13:
His Majesty is extremely anxious to terminate the war as soon as possible, being deeply concerned that any further continuation of hostilities will only aggravate untold miseries of the millions upon millions of innocent men and women in the countries at war. If, however, the United States and Great Britain should insist on unconditional surrender, Japan would be forced to fight to the bitter end.
The Ambassador is informed that the Emperor will dispatch Prince Konoe to Moscow to speak with the Soviet government.
Hirohito unfortunately miscalculates the “good offices” of the Soviet government, which is preparing to declare war on Japan—as agreed to in the Yalta accords. Stalin is committed to Russia becoming a “player” in the Asian theatre. The continuation of the war, even for a short period of time, is in Russia’s interests.
The Japanese message is intercepted and decoded by American intelligence. It is passed on to Truman, already en route by sea to Potsdam. Byrnes tells Truman to ignore this Japanese “trick.” Truman, in the thrall of his Rasputin, dismisses the idea of any negotiated settlement with the Emperor before the bomb is used.[fn_20]
Scene 6—The Bomb Works
On July 16, the world’s first atomic bomb is exploded over the sands of the New Mexico desert, as Truman and Churchill meet in Potsdam. Meanwhile, a cruiser leaves San Francisco en route to Tinian Island; it carries an atomic bomb.
In Potsdam that same morning, at the dawn of the atomic age, the Joint Chiefs meet with Stimson. According to logs of the meeting, the discussion centers on the final phases of the war and the bomb. General George Marshall, who later regretted that he had not been more forceful on the matter, expresses his fear that the world will not forgive the United States if Japan is not given a real chance to surrender before the bomb might be used. Admiral Ernest King says that there is no need for this weapon; it has no military value, because Japan can be brought to its knees by a blockade. General Henry “Hap” Arnold of the Army Air Force argues that conventional bombing could end the war. Admiral William Leahy, who had called the bomb project a great and tragic folly, is at a loss to explain why “civilians” seem so determined to use this weapon.
Stimson listens. He is aware of Emperor Hirohito’s new peace initiative. He listens, but says nothing as the meeting breaks up.
On his return from a brief tour of Berlin, a glum-faced Stimson greets the President. He has in his hand a cable from his Special Consultant George Harrison, who serves as a liaison with the bomb project. It is written in code, and talks about an “operation” that apparently was a “success.” At first Truman is confused. It’s the bomb, Stimson whispers in his ear. Suddenly Truman becomes highly excited. Grinning from ear-to-ear, he exclaims: “The war is over!”[fn_21]
The next morning, Stimson goes to see Byrnes with the news of the bomb test. He pleads with Byrnes for a two-part initiative: Give the Japanese a direct warning about the bomb, as explicit as possible; and, assure them that the U.S. will allow Japan to keep its Emperor. Byrnes rejects both proposals.
At lunchtime, Stimson walked the cable over to Churchill. The Prime Minister offered his congratulations, but said little else, according to Charles Mee, Jr.
Churchill, Stalin, and Truman meet in Potsdam, and then hold a brief reception. Stimson receives a follow-on cable from Harrison in Washington: Gen. Leslie Groves (the general in charge of the Manhattan Project) reports that the bomb had exceeded all expectations. When Truman hears the news, he boasts that the U.S. now possesses the most powerful weapon in human history.
Scene 7—The War Is Over—
The War Must Go On
The next day, July 18, Truman lunches with Churchill. He is alone—Byrnes is not with him. In his hand, he clutches the two cables. According to the official notes of the meeting, Truman hands them to the Prime Minister who greets the “news” with far greater enthusiasm than he had shown to Stimson. This is “world-shaking news,” he beams, and the two stand there gleeful about the savage potential of the weapon.
Truman believes that Stalin needs to be told “something.” He suggests that it be done casually “after one of our meetings; that we have an entirely novel form of bomb, something quite out of the ordinary, which we think will have a decisive effect on the Japanese will to continue the war.” Churchill concurs.[fn_22]
Now certain that Truman will drop the bomb, Churchill is free to do something to clear his name of this crime in future history books. He informs Truman that Stalin has discussed with him the Moscow peace feeler, coming directly from the Japanese Emperor. “Japan would not accept ‘unconditional surrender,’ but might be prepared to compromise on other terms,” he says. To not accept this and prolong the war means greater loss of life to Americans and to a lesser extent the British, and also the Japanese. Might it not be possible to alter our wording to provide the Japanese with the assurances that they need, that they could surrender with “honor”?
Churchill knows that this will provoke rage from the little President: Pearl Harbor proves that the Japanese do not have nor do they deserve to be treated with honor. Truman shoots back: I am tired of this whining about the terms of surrender; it is “unconditional surrender,” period. The “official” history, as recorded in the records of the Potsdam Conference, will now show that the Beast-Man Churchill is not to blame for the decision to drop the bomb—which he has encouraged all along; it is the Americans, who have ignored Churchill’s “wise counsel.”[fn_23]
Scene 8—Stimson Goes with the Flow
Henry “Hamlet” Stimson awaits the full report from Gen. Groves. He knows what it will say. He knows what the reaction of the other players in our tragedy—Truman, Byrnes, and Churchill—will be.
Another man, a more courageous soul, would have thought of some way to “flank” the utopian “atomic bombers.” Frightened by such thoughts, Stimson, the personification of the Establishment, decides to “go with the flow,” to rationalize his own defeat, and take sides with the winners. His thoughts turn to how the bomb can be used to change the character and thinking of the Russian government.
Finally, the Groves report comes: The bomb is devastatingly effective as a weapon and massively destructive. At 3:30 p.m., Stimson takes the report to the President, who sits in discussion with Byrnes. The two read it, growing wildly exuberant, as they proceed. They shake hands. In their glee, they shake Stimson’s hand. The President thanks him for bringing him this information, for serving these long months in coordinating the bomb project. Stimson doesn’t know it, but he has been given the “kiss-off.” Byrnes in particular doesn’t want any “waverers” around.
Scene 9—A World Transformed
In the plenary session of July 21, the official records show, Truman, with the bomb in his back pocket, is aggressive with Stalin to the point of being almost belligerent.
The meeting is paradigmatic of a change taking place in the conduct of global diplomacy and relations generally. The bomb, even before it has been used, has ended FDR’s hopes for the post-war world.
Roosevelt had believed that through cooperation one develops trust, even with a potential or actual adversary. Through trust and cooperation, over time, one actually changes the way an adversary or potential adversary sees things, and you in turn start to see things differently, from a broader and better perspective. Changing the way the Russians see the world and think about it, FDR believed, was a necessary step in creating a community of nations, with different systems of government and ethnic and religious backgrounds, but of shared common goals and principles.
Cooperation has now been replaced by competition, and, where necessary, confrontation. Nobody changes, and foreign policy becomes a series of conflicts to be managed, rather than projects of hope to be realized.
The utopian Byrnes believes, as does the intoxicated Truman, that the bomb holds some kind of mystical or magical power, such as that of another “super-weapon,” Excalibur, King Arthur’s sword, and that, once it is used on Japan, it will have just such a magical power over the Russians.
Scene 10—‘The Second Coming in Wrath’
On July 22, Stimson walks the Groves report over to Churchill’s villa. Churchill is described as being “transported” by the document. “Stimson,” he booms out, waving a cigar, “what was gunpowder? Trivial! What was electricity? Meaningless! The atomic bomb is the Second Coming in Wrath!”
The meetings continue, and Stimson sits on the outside, looking in. The Hamlet in him is at work again, as he again wavers on the bomb’s use. On the morning of July 24, he goes to see Truman, this time bearing a message from Gen. Groves that the bomb will be ready for dropping on a Japanese target at any time after Aug. 3. Truman is delighted; he will get Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek to sign on to the Potsdam Declaration, along with the U.S., Britain, and the USSR; this will serve as the ultimatum to the Japanese, after which the bomb will be dropped.
Stimson seizes on the mention of the Declaration to again ask that the deleted phrase about a constitutional monarchy be reinstated. Truman winces, says he will think about it, as he ushers Stimson to the door.
Meanwhile, Winston Churchill’s Conservative Party has been soundly trounced in a general election. He is no longer the Prime Minister, and Labour’s Clement Atlee is. Atlee knows little of the bomb, and will have no role in deciding its ultimate use. Churchill exits our stage, depressed at his electoral defeat, but happy in the knowledge that he has kept things on a path leading to the dropping of the great terror weapon—the “Second Coming in Wrath”—on Japan. He is to write in his memoirs later that the bomb was totally unnecessary for either ending or shortening the war; yet, he is also to state that its use “was never really a matter of doubt.”
Churchill’s manic Beast-Man character is best captured by two of his top aides: 1st Viscount Alanbrooke (Alan Brooke), his foremost military advisor, who was present when Churchill had earlier briefed his generals on the American bomb, and Lord Moran, (Dr. Charles McMoran Wilson) his trusted physician.
Brooke reports in Arthur Bryant’s Triumph in the West, 1943–1946:
He [Churchill] had absorbed all the minor American exaggeration, and as a result, was completely carried away.... [W]e now had something in our hands which could redress the balance with the Russians.... Now we had a new value which redressed our position (he said, pushing out his chin and scowling); now we could say, ‘If you insist on doing this or that, well.... And then where are the Russians!’
In his diary, Lord Moran reacted to Churchill’s report that the bomb was going to be dropped:
I own [that] I was deeply shocked by the ruthless decision to use the bomb on Japan ...There can be no moment in the whole war when things looked to me so black, and desperate, and the future so hopeless.... It was not so much the morality of the thing, it was simply that the lynch pin that had been underpinning the world had been half wrenched out.... I once slept in a house where there had been a murder. I feel like that here [sleeping at Churchill’s quarters in Potsdam—author].
Scene 11—The Order Is Given
Meanwhile, in Moscow the wheels of diplomacy continue to spin. At the direction of the Emperor, Shigenori Tōgō, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, sends a July 11 to Naotake Satō, Japan’s Ambassador to the USSR. While Japan cannot accept unconditional surrender, the cable says,
we should like to communicate to the other party [the United States] through appropriate channels [the Russians] that we have no objection to a peace based on the Atlantic Charter.... Should the United States and Great Britain remain insistent on formality, there is no solution other than for us to hold out until complete collapse because of this one point alone. Also, it is necessary to have them [the United States] understand that we are trying to end hostilities by asking for very reasonable terms in order to secure and maintain our nation’s existence and honor.
It is now explicit: Japan is ready to surrender immediately if it is given an “honorable” way out—i.e., the monarchy is kept in place. There is no reason to drop the bomb.
The cable is intercepted and decoded by American intelligence and transmitted with highest urgency directly to Byrnes and Truman in Potsdam. Both see the message; Byrnes tells Truman that there is no need to negotiate, at all. Truman has already made his mind up—either Japan accepts the unconditional surrender of the Potsdam Declaration, or they will be atomic bombed.[fn_24]
On July 25, with the knowledge of the Moscow peace feeler in his hand, Harry S Truman, the man whom FDR never wanted to become President, signs the executive command that orders the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. Attached to the draft order are one-page descriptions of four possible acceptable targets—Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kokura, and Niigata. The President, with Byrnes at his side, tells Stimson that the “order stands,” unless Stimson hears directly from himself that the Japanese reply to the release of the warning-communiqué is acceptable.
The decision to drop the bomb, Truman would say in a letter to his daughter Margaret, was “no great decision ... not any decision you had to worry about.”
Scene 12—A Terror Weapon,
Not a Military Weapon
Truman in his memoirs, and Byrnes in his, claim that they never really considered the bomb as anything more than a military weapon. “I regarded the bomb as a military weapon,” writes Truman, “and never had any doubt that it should be used.” But both men were aware that the bomb was not militarily necessary; they had been told this by members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The decision to use the bomb was made exactly as Lyndon LaRouche has described: Not for military purposes, but as a weapon of horrific terror, which terror could then be used to shape the post-war world—a weapon for use by “Beast-Men.”[fn_25]
Back on June 1, at the request of Byrnes who sought a “better understanding” of how best to target the use of the bomb against Japan, the Interim Committee prepared a report. The report, which has since been declassified, says that the bomb should not merely be used on a military target, but on a “dual military-civilian target”—a military installation or factory surrounded by workers’ and families’ homes. In that way, the bomb “will have the maximum psychological effect.”
As Stimson and Byrnes both knew, as Truman knew, there was no need for this “terror effect” on Japan—it was already in the process of surrendering. “However,” as historian Charles Mee, Jr. observes:
If the weapons were not dropped on Japan, the doomsday machine could have no psychological impact on Russia. The bomb was therefore dropped on Japan for the effect it had on Russia—just as Jimmy Byrnes had said. The psychological effect on Stalin was two-fold: the Americans had not only used their doomsday machine; they had used it when, as Stalin knew, it was not militarily necessary. It was this last chilling fact that doubtless made the greatest impression on the Russians.
Scene 13—The Ultimatum
At 7:00 p.m. on the evening of July 26, the Potsdam Declaration is issued by the governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China:
4. The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
It contains the following fateful ultimatum:
13. We call upon the Government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.
The next day, July 28, ministers of the new British government, Prime Minister Clement Atlee and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, arrive at Potsdam. Together with Truman and Byrnes, they meet that evening with Stalin and Molotov. According to the official records of the conference, Stalin opens the discussions by stating that “I want to inform you that we have received a new proposal from Japan.” He then says that although the Americans and British have not properly consulted with him on their “initiative” to Japan [the Declaration—ed.], “we believe that nevertheless we should inform each other of new proposals.” Stalin then reads the cable delivered by Ambassador Satō—which both the Americans and British have already seen and have dismissed. Stalin points out that the message comes directly from the Emperor of Japan.
If Stalin were to press his “allies” to accept or at least work with this overture, then Byrnes and Truman’s efforts to drop the bomb might be thwarted. They breathe a deep sigh of relief as Stalin says that “the document does not contain anything new” and that the Russians will reply in the “same spirit as the last time”—completely negatively. Truman states, “We do not object.” Atlee comments: “We agree.” Stalin then closes the matter—and, with it, the last real hope to avoid dropping the bomb:—“I have nothing more to add.”[fn_26]
Meanwhile in Tokyo, the Japanese cabinet is debating the Potsdam Declaration. According to Toland, citing official records, the cabinet’s war faction sees it as an ultimatum for an unacceptable “unconditional surrender,” an act that humiliates the Japanese nation, its Emperor, and all those who have died fighting for them. But, Prime Minister Shigenori Tōgō and Foreign Minister Kantaro Suzuki see a glimmer of hope in the words about not destroying the nation of Japan and that “unconditional surrender” refers only to the armed forces, and not the Emperor. The divided cabinet reaches a compromise: It will publish the proclamation edited, without any comment. They will wait to hear from the Russians.
The war party plants information in its allied press that the Japanese consider the Declaration unacceptable and “laughable.” Suzuki holds a mid-afternoon press conference July 28 to clarify the government’s position. He tells the press that the government sees the Declaration as a rehash of the Cairo Declaration, and not of “great importance.” He uses the Japanese word “mokusatsu” to say how the Japanese government intends to treat it. In an interview after the war, Suzuki said the term meant the equivalent of “no comment.” Instead, the U.S. State Department deliberately misinterprets it to mean “ignore” and the American press prints that the Japanese have turned down the surrender ultimatum.
Scene 14—No Turning Back
Events now move quickly, as our drama rushes to its now inevitable tragic conclusion. On Aug. 1, the last day of the Potsdam Conference, an urgent cable makes its way from Tokyo to Ambassador Satō in Moscow:
Efforts will be made to gather opinions from the various quarters regarding definite terms [of surrender]. (For this it is our intention to make the Potsdam Three-Power Declaration the basis of the study regarding these terms)....
Ambassador Satō is urged to persuade the Russians to accept Prince Konoe as a special envoy from the Emperor. This cable is also intercepted, and is sent directly to Byrnes and Truman. It is ignored, as the others were ignored. Japan, clearly already defeated, and accepting defeat, is about to be atomic bombed.
Scene 15—‘The Greatest Event in History’
At 2:45 a.m. Aug. 6 in the Pacific, as Jimmy Byrnes and his puppet, President Truman, are returning home aboard the USS Augusta from their “triumph” at Potsdam, the B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, named after the mother of its 30-year-old pilot, takes off, headed for the military-civilian target of Hiroshima, with the atomic bomb in its bomb bay. At a little after 9:09 a.m., it arrives at the target. Six minutes later, the 27-year-old bombardier releases the world’s first atomic weapon on the unsuspecting and mostly civilian population of Hiroshima. The uranium-235 weapon was considered very inefficient. With only 1.7% of its fissile material reacting, 100,000 people were killed instantly. Another 100,000 are to die from radiation and related causes.
Cables cross the Pacific, then cross the continent to the War Department. Finally, the message confirming the bombing reaches the USS Augusta, still in the Atlantic. Capt. Frank Graham, an officer in the ship’s map room, hands it to President Truman, who is dining with the crew. According to the report in the ship’s newspaper, Truman becomes highly excited, flashing his famous shit-eating grin. “This is the greatest thing in history,” the insane President proclaims.
Another message follows quickly, this one directly from Stimson. It repeats and confirms the information in the first.
Truman can no longer contain himself. He jumps up from his seat, and with both messages in hand, this little man strides triumphantly over to Jimmy Byrnes. Truman now asks for quiet. The crew, some of them alarmed by the President’s behavior, ceases all conversation. I have some good news to tell all of you, Truman says. I have just been informed that a powerful new bomb with an explosive force of more than 20,000 tons of TNT has been dropped on Japan. Everyone rises to loud and sustained applause and cheering.
Truman, with Byrnes trailing, and still with the messages clutched in his hand, storms into the officers’ ward room. “Keep you seats gentleman,” he says. “We have just dropped a bomb on Japan which has more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It was an overwhelming success. We won the gamble!” More cheering and applause, as the President smiles and nods, and his puppetmaster Byrnes looks on.
The American people are shortly subjected to a pre-recorded message drafted by Byrnes and broadcast from the President. It sounds like—and is—a message from a “Beast-Man”:
[We have dropped] an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East…. If they do not accept our terms now, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this Earth.
Truman now signs the order for a second atomic bombing using “Fat Man,” the last available bomb, the one named for Winston Churchill.
Scene 16—The Rule of ‘Beast-Men’
In Japan, the Japanese cabinet remains stalemated. Something finally comes from Moscow—on Aug. 8, the Soviet Union declares war on Japan.
That same day, the USS Augusta docks at the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia and within hours, Truman and Byrnes are back in Washington. “Hamlet” Stimson is ready for another impotent effort; he asks the President to delay the use of the next bomb to give the Japanese a chance to surrender. He suggests that maybe the hand of the Emperor should be strengthened by communicating some kind of language through informal channels about a desire to keep the Imperial family in place. The President, however, is too far gone in his reverie of the bomb to even hear such ideas.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, events are coming to a head: Prime Minister Suzuki tells the Japanese cabinet that there is now no alternative but to accept the Potsdam Declaration and hope for the best terms. It is early morning, Aug. 9. According to Toland, one minute after Suzuki makes his statement, the B-29, named “Bock’s Car,” drops “Fat-Man” on the unsuspecting, mostly civilian, population of Nagasaki. The total of dead or dying and deformed this time, another 100,000 or so. The crime against humanity has been repeated.
Truman receives news of the second bombing with the crazed glee of a Beast-Man. The war is over, he exclaims. The war had been over for months, but Byrnes and his puppet President had prolonged it to drop these bombs.
There are no more bombs left. According to official documents in the Truman Presidential Library, Byrnes now authorizes, and Truman approves, a communication to the Japanese about the Emperor: The Imperial family will be retained, subject to the initial command of the Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. But the message is not sent.
In Japan, cabinet deadlock continues. Debate rages on into the early morning of Aug. 10. Finally, at around 3:00 a.m., the Emperor has had enough. He has been trying to end the war for almost a year, and even now he has received nothing from the atomic warriors in Washington that might help him get the job done. Hirohito announces that he has personally declared an end to the war.
The message is communicated to Washington. Only then is the message about the Imperial family sent back to Tokyo.
On Aug. 14, the President announces to the nation that the Japanese had accepted “unconditional surrender.” The Japanese had surrendered on terms that would have been acceptable 5 months earlier or more. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese had died in that time, as well as tens of thousands of Americans and other allied forces. All so that two atomic bombs could be dropped.
In his book, Meeting at Potsdam, conference chronicler Charles Mee, Jr. writes:
No one likes or wants to confront the fact—but it is clear from the events and conversations during the Potsdam conference that the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wanton murder.
Admiral Leahy is sickened by what has happened. He concludes:
The Americans had adopted the ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.
For Leahy and others of compassion and sanity, America’s leadership and their Anglo co-conspirators had become Beast-Men, comparable in their cold calculations to Hitler. These people were now poised to terrorize the world, perhaps even to launch an atomic crusade against their erstwhile Soviet “allies” in the near future.
Among the ashes and dead and dying of Hiroshima and Nagasaki lay also Franklin Roosevelt’s hopes and dreams of a bright future for the peoples of the world based on peace and development and cooperation, now replaced by a nightmare of nuclear-doomsday terror. Our tragedy began with little steps, until those steps became a stampede down a pathway towards insanity; it continues in modified form to this day.
As we see events unfold in Washington today—with a new band of utopian atomic warriors manipulating a stupid and inept President—let us dedicate ourselves to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
[fn_1]. In retrospect, the young doctor should not have been surprised—such conditions are common in what is called post-polio syndrome. FDR had suffered from polio since the mid-1920s. [back to text for fn_1]
[fn_2]. Lyndon LaRouche has correctly pointed out that the removal of Wallace, who was loyal to FDR’s intent and policies, meant that with Roosevelt’s death, those policies could be quickly ended. The world of a President Wallace would have been quite a different one from that of a President Truman. See Robert L. Baker, “Henry Wallace Would Never Have Dropped the Bomb,” Executive Intelligence Review, Vol. 30, No. 43, Nov. 7, 2003. [back to text for fn_2]
[fn_3]. James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1970); Warren Kimball, ed., Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, 3 vols. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1984). [back to text for fn_3]
[fn_4]. Henry Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, William Sloane Associates, 1948). While Stimson is self-serving in his reporting, his doubts about the atomic bombing are supported by other contemporary accounts and sources. See also Charles Mee, Jr., Meeting at Potsdam (New York: Dell, 1975). [back to text for fn_4]
[fn_11]. According to contemporary news accounts, Byrnes had sufficient delegate strength to block a Wallace re-nomination and to have himself placed on the ticket at the 1944 Democratic Party Convention. He had behind him key anti-FDR party bosses, including former FDR ally Jim Farley, as well as the so-called “Dixiecrat” bloc of southern delegates. It was speculated at the time that FDR reluctantly pushed Wallace off the ticket, and had the Vice Presidential nomination offered to the nonentity Truman to block the ambitious Byrnes, whom he never wanted to see in the White House. Byrnes felt that he had been double-crossed by FDR. See James F. Byrnes, All in One Lifetime (New York: Harper Brothers, 1958). [back to text for fn_11]
[fn_13]. Charles Mee, Jr., op. cit. Byrnes knew that no such surrender could happen without a signal about keeping Emperor Hirohito. He therefore advised the President to make no such explicit or even implicit offer, stating that FDR had been unequivocal on “unconditional surrender,” and that any change would actually delay any cessation of hostilities by showing weakness. [back to text for fn_13]
[fn_21]. Ibid. Unless otherwise cited, the source for descriptions and discussions of Truman’s and others’ actions at, or on the way to and back from Potsdam, is Charles Mee, Jr.’s book. [back to text for fn_21]
[fn_22]. This is actually done by Truman on July 24, when, after a session of the conference, he walks over to Stalin on the other side of the table, and tells him in vague terms that the United States has tested a new kind of bomb, that it works, and is available for use. Stalin offered his congratulations. See James F. Byrnes, op. cit. [back to text for fn_22]
[fn_24]. Truman, in remarks to Department of State historians in January 1956, admitted that he had full knowledge of the Japanese communiqués prior to making the decision to drop the bomb. [back to text for fn_24]