Harry S Truman

Any man who sees Europe now must realise that the victory in a great war is not something you win once and for all like victory in a ball game. Europe to-day is hungry. As the winter comes on, the distress will increase. Unless we do what we can to help we may lose next winter what we won at such terrible cost last spring.

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 the killing of civilians. But if Japan does not surrender bombs will have to be dropped on war industries. I urge Japanese civilians to leave the industrial cities immediately to save themselves from destruction.

We won the race of discovery against the Germans. Having found the bomb, we have used it. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of the war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.

The atomic bomb is too dangerous to be let loose in a lawless world. That is why Great Britain and the United States, who have the secret of its production, do not intend to reveal the secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction.

I shall ask the Congress to co-operate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace. We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force, to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it has come to us instead of to our enemies, and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.

We know now that the basic proposition of the work and dignity of man is not sentimental aspiration or a vain hope or a piece of rhetoric. It is the strongest, the most creative force now present in this world. Let us use that force and all our resources and all our skill in the great cause of a just and lasting peace.

(The “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, followed on 9 August the detonation of the “Fat Man” over Nagasaki, then on 10 August President Truman said the above in a broadcast.)

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