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The Decision Of The Century Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

The Decision of the Century

On August 2, 1945, Harry S. Truman made the toughest decision of his life. He knew that if he made the right decision, he would save hundreds of thousands of American lives. In making this decision, he would also be responsible for the deaths of hundreds and thousands of Japanese lives. If he made the wrong decision, the war would drudge on as the death count rose higher and higher as each new battle was fought. Japan would not surrender unconditionally, as the United States wanted. With Germany already beaten, the United States was not about to back down. No one knows whether or not he made the right choice, but he did, in fact, bring an end to World War II.

World War II's basic statistics qualify it as by far the greatest war in history in terms of human and material resources expended. In all, 61 countries with 1.7 billion people, three-fourths of the world's population took part. A total of 110 million persons were mobilized for military service, more than half of those by three countries: USSR (22-30 million), Germany (17 million), and the United States (16 million). For the major participants the largest numbers on duty at any time were as follows: USSR (12,500,000); U.S. (12, 245,000); Germany (10,938,000); British Empire and Commonwealth (8,720,000); Japan (7,193,000); and China (5,000,000).

Harry S. Truman was born May 8, 1884 in Lamar, Missouri. He was named Harry after his uncle, Harrison Young. His parents, John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman, wanted to honor both of Harry's Grandfathers when they were deciding on a middle name for him. The only problem was deciding which one, Anderson Shippe Truman or Solomon Young. His parents finally decided to name him Harry S. and let the S stand for both of Harry's grandfathers' names. Before Harry S. Truman became the thirty-third President of the United States, he had many jobs which included: railroad work, business man, sales rep., Captain in the United States Army, a United States Senator, and Vice President. Harry S. Truman became President of The United States on April 12, 1945 after Franklin Delano Roosevelt had passed away from a heart attack. He never knew what he was really getting himself into.

Harry S. Truman had only been the President of The United States for thirteen days when Henry L. Stimson, The Secretary of War, delivered a complete report on the United States of America's new secret weapon that would supposedly end World War II. Before Harry S. Truman received this report, he had no idea that such a weapon existed or that the American scientists had been trying to develop the atomic bomb over the last four years.

On July 21, 1945 while at Potsdam, Truman received the results from General Leslie Groves testing of the atomic bomb at Alamogordo. The results were as follows: A force of 15-20,000 tons of TNT, a fireball lasting several seconds, a mushroom cloud rising skyward approximately 41,000 feet...

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