Originally Published: August 16, 2010 10 p.m.
William S. Weiss, historian and Prescott resident, will discuss profound questions surrounding President Harry S. Truman's order to use nuclear weapons to end World War II in a talk at Temple B'rith Shalom on Sunday, Aug. 22.
Noting that August marks the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, Weiss said, "Few presidential decisions have generated more controversy, over a longer period of time" than Truman's order to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He asks, "Were the atomic bombings necessary to end the war? Or would Japan have surrendered without the horrors inflicted by the A-bombs? Did America 'open Pandora's box' by being the first (and only) nation to use nuclear weapons against another? Or, would nuclear weapons have been developed by others anyway? Was Truman's decision based on the need to save American (and Japanese) lives? Or, did he order the bombs to be dropped to make Stalin fearful of American postwar might?"
During his description of events that led to the bombings, Weiss will cover the course of the last months of the Pacific Theater, Japanese preparations for a possible American invasion, the mindset and decisions of the Japanese War Cabinet and Emperor Hirohito, and the high-level discussions by Truman and his military, scientific and civilian advisers.
The public is welcome to attend the program, which begins at 2 p.m. and includes refreshments. Temple B'rith Shalom is located at 2077 Brohner Way, off Willow Lake Road and Highway 89. For more information, call 708-0018.