Monday, August 6, 2007

U.S. Admiral Leahy: `Wrong To Use A-Bomb'

Fleet Admiral William Leahy was the chief of staff to Democratic President Truman when Truman learned that the White House order to drop an atomic bomb on the people of Hiroshima had been carried out. In his postwar book, I Was There, Leahy recalled how Truman reacted to this news:

“On Aug. 6, 1945, the cruiser Augusta was speeding across the Atlantic, bringing President Truman and the delegation that had accompanied him to the Potsdam Conference back to Washington…While the President was eating lunch…Captain Frank H. Graham…handed him a brief message…

“This message told him that the Army Air Force had dropped an atom bomb on…Hiroshima…

“Truman was excited over the news. He shook Captain Graham’s hand and said, according to those present, `This is the greatest thing in history!’”

In the same book, Admiral Leahy explained why he felt it was morally wrong for the U.S. government to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons…

“…`Bomb’ is the wrong word to use for this new weapon. It is not a bomb. It is not an explosive. It is a poisonous thing that kills people by its deadly radioactive reaction, more than by the explosive force it develops.

“…My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarian of the Dark Ages…”

(Downtown 8/23/95)

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