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Should Truman use the atomic bomb?


It is the end of July 1945. You are a member of the Interim Committee advising President Truman. There have been two recent events:

  • The atomic bomb has been tested successfully in New Mexico.
  • The Japanese have refused unconditional surrender.

How will you advise Truman? Should he use the bomb against Japan?


Stage 1: Research

The USA has already tried to use conventional bombing of Japanese cities to force their surrender. You must decide how successful that has been. Use evidence from the original sources on the firebombing of Tokyo to support your argument.

Use this research table to record your ideas. Open the table and print it out or save it to your computer.
Reseach table

Stage 2: Prepare your report

What will you recommend to Truman? Should he authorise the use of the atomic bomb on Japanese cities? Use your research table and the original sources in the case studies to help you answer this question.

Use this report outline to get you started.
Report outline