Few aspects of American military history have been as vigorously debated as Harry Truman's decision to use atomic bombs against Japan. In this carefully crafted volume, Michael Kort describes the wartime circumstances and thinking that form the context for the decision to use these weapons, surveys the major debates related to that decision, and provides a comprehensive collection of key primary source documents that illuminate the behavior of the United States and Japan during the closing days of World War II.
Kort opens with a summary of the debate over Hiroshima as it has evolved since 1945. He then provides a historical overview of thye events in question, beginning with the decision and program to build the atomic bomb. Detailing the sequence of events leading to Japan's surrender, he revisits the decisive battles of the Pacific War and the motivations of American and Japanese leaders. Finally, Kort examines ten key issues in the discussion of Hiroshima and guides readers to relevant primary source documents, scholarly books, and articles.
"A rich resource to the complex and often profoundly controversial questions surrounding the bomb of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945." — Reference & Research Book News
"Lucid and careful summaries of the issues...[a] substantial and well-chosen collection of documents from American and Japanese sources" — Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs
"Not only comprehensive but so engaging... This is a book for every library." — Joe P. Dunn, American Reference Books Annual
"An indispensable book." — Robert James Maddox, Journal of Cold War Studies
"Innovative." — Philip Nash, H-Diplo
"By giving the nuclear debate life before the Cold War, Kort revitalizes it for a new complex era. The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb makes a valuable contribution." — Jay Larson, Peace and Change
"This splendid volume provides both a comprehensive selection of documents and the author's own incisive analyses of various controversial issues. If I had to recommend just one book on the subject, this would be it." — Robert Maddox, author of Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision
"With fully 250 pages of well-chosen documents filling its second half, it would have been easy for a book like this to be a challenge to work with. But the cross-referencing between text and document is crafted with such care and precision that the final product is remarkably easy to navigate." — D. M. Giangreco, Moncado Prize-winning author of "Casualty Projections for the U.S. Invasion of Japan, 1945-1946: Planning and Policy Implications"
"For the scholar, the student, or the interested citizen this work towers above the rest as a superb and even-handed summary of the searing controversy over the end of the Pacific War. But what transforms this into an instant and indispensable classic is the judicious and comprehensive set of original documents. They remove the blinkers of rival interpretations and offer a unique opportunity for a firsthand probe of the realities of 1945." — Richard B. Frank, author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire