On August 6, 1945 President Harry Truman authorized the atomic bombings of Japan, first Hiroshima and Nagasaki three days later. His intention was to end the war in the Pacific and bring an end to the loss of American servicemen fighting against a determined enemy who refused to accept defeat.
His efforts succeeded at the cost of 230,000 civilians killed or injured by the heat waves that reached several thousand degrees. Time would inevitably take many more lives as a result of radiation exposure before the effects would level off. Past generations have and future generations will continue to judge the moral scope of President Truman’s decisions. But perhaps it is not his choice we should question but rather the choices our children will have to face in the future. The ones in a world that continues to move into a volatile state where weapons of mass destruction, far greater than those used against Japan, are ever more prevalent and still seen as an alternative to bring about peace.