Synopses & Reviews
This book explores the American use of atomic bombs, and the role these weapons played in the defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II. It focuses on President Harry S. Truman's decision making regarding this most controversial of all his decisions. The book relies on notable archival research, and the best and most recent scholarship on the subject to fashion an incisive overview that is fair and forceful in its judgments. This study addresses a subject that has been much debated among historians, and it confronts head-on the highly disputed claim that the Truman administration practiced "atomic diplomacy." The book goes beyond its central historical analysis to ask whether it was morally right for the United States to use these terrible weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also provides a balanced evaluation of the relationship between atomic weapons and the origins of the Cold War.
"Father Miscamble is a history professor at the University of Notre Dame and thus is at home with the theological and moral aspects surrounding the decision to unleash the world's first atomic bombs. He is also familiar with the political and military exigencies of the decision. He takes the reader carefully through the genesis of the bomb-building Manhattan Project, as planned by Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt originally for the bomb's use against Nazi Germany, and through the calculations of the key Allied decision makers, including Gen. George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, and Adm. William Leahy, the head of the Joint Chiefs." -Wall Street Journal
Addresses the reasons the atomic bombs were used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the role they played in Japan's surrender.
This book asks and answers a number of key questions. Why were the atomic bombs used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945? What role did they play in Japan's surrender? The book also explores the morality of the bombs' use and asks if it was right for the United States to use these powerful weapons.
About the Author
The Reverend Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C., joined the permanent faculty at Notre Dame in 1988. A native of Australia, he was educated at the University of Queensland, from which he graduated in 1973 and obtained a master's degree three years later. In 1976, he came to Notre Dame to pursue graduate studies in history. He received his doctoral degree in 1980. He then served for two years as North American analyst in the Office of National Assessments, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, Australia. In August 1982, he returned to Notre Dame and entered the priestly formation program of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He was ordained a priest on April 9, 1988. His primary research interest is American foreign policy since World War II. He is the author of George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950 and Keeping the Faith, Making a Difference. He has edited American Political History: Essays on the State of the Discipline and Go Forth and Do Good: Memorable Notre Dame Commencement Addresses. His most recent book, From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima, and the Cold War, was published in 2007 and received the Harry S. Truman Book Award in 2008.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: the most controversial decision; 2. Franklin Roosevelt, the Manhattan project, and the development of the atomic bomb; 3. Harry Truman, Henry Stimson, and atomic briefings; 4. James F. Byrnes, the atomic bomb, and the Pacific war; 5. The Potsdam conference, the trinity test, and 'atomic diplomacy'; 6. Hiroshima, the Japanese, and the Soviets; 7. The Japanese surrender; 8. Necessary, but was it right?; 9. Byrnes, the Soviets, and the American atomic monopoly; 10. The atomic bomb and the origins of the Cold War.