Truman Diary – July 1945

 

Churchill – Truman – Stalin

From: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Entry:

25 Jul 1945

We met at 11 A.M. today. [That is Stalin, Churchill and the U.S. President.  Clement Attlee was also there.] But I had a most important session with Lord Mountbatten & General Marshall before that. We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world.  It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Anyway we think we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom.  An experiment in the New Mexican desert was startling – to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old Capitol or the new.

He & I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler’s crowd or Stalin’s did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

At 10:15 I had Gen. Marshall come in and discuss with me the tactical and political situation. He is a level headed man – so is Mountbatten.

Gen. George Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold, Commanding General US Army Air Corps (NARA pic)

At the conference Poland and the Bolsheviki land grant came up. Russia liked herself to a slice of Poland and gave Poland a nice slice of Germany taking also a good slice of East Prussia for herself. Poland has moved in up to the Oder and the west Niesse, taking Stettin and Silesia as a fact accomplished. My position is that according to commitments made at Yalta by my predecessor Germany was to be divided into four occupation zones, one each for Britain, Russia and France and the U.S. If Russia chooses to allow Poland to occupy a part of her zone I am agreeable but title to territory cannot and will not be settled here. For the fourth time I’ve stated my position and explained that territorial sessions had to be made by treaty and ratified by the Senate.

We discussed reparations and movement of populations from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy and elsewhere. Churchill said Maisky had so defined war booty as to include the Russi German fleet and Merchant Marine. It was a bomb shell and sort of paralyzed the Ruskies, but it has a lot of merit.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Potsdam Political Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Brownsey – TX; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Roger Cannon Jr. – UT; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Code talkers’ Monument

Edward Dietsch – Towson, MD; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division, Medic

James Hampton – Springfield, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Fraser (DD-607)

Ronnie Knopp – WY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Conway Lewis – Memphis, TN; USMC, WWII, Purple Heart / US Army, Korea, OCS Interpreter

John Montgomery – Franklin, KY; US Army, WWII

Leonard Nace – Quakerstown, PA; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

Harry Preston = Kitchener, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII, Galt Highland Light Infantry

Gary White – Miami, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 2 Bronze Stars

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 20, 2018, in Home Front, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 121 Comments.

  1. The lessons gleaned from the history of this time period, as seen from all the different angles presented in your posts, are still relevant. I don’t think mankind is much different than it was back then.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on Musings of a Penpusher and commented:
    The carving up of countries by the victors was ever a cause of acrimony and suffering for the people, rather than the perpetrators who were the initial cause of the dispute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing the history. The Allies had quite an operation on their hands to feed, house and medically care for not only the victims who lived in there designated territory, but the people Stalin shipped over so he didn’t have to care for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The carving up of countries by the victors was ever a cause of acrimony and suffering for the people, rather than the perpetrators who were the initial cause of the dispute.

    The people of eastern Europe had a particularly harrowing time as pawns in Stalin’s power game while China has emerged top dog in the east, with that part of the world remaining as inscrutable as it ever was, and as such, to be feared along with President Trump’s unpredictability.

    The Middle-east continues to be a cauldron of unrest while Israel holds the Arab world to ransome with its sole possession of the atom bomb, and as the recipients of America’s most sophisticated armaments in that region.

    Meanwhile, the Palestinians – the only legitimate nationals in that area, have been completely sidelined by the countries of the UN. The UN of course follows the dictates of the all powerful USA, the country in which it is based.

    The Palestinians are called terrorists for doing what the irish did in Ireland and the underground freedom fighters of France, Holland, and all countries under Nazi occupation did in World War Two as they now fight for freedom from the Israeli yoke as it ruthlessly grabs more and more land in the countryside, and property within Jerusalem.itself where all Christian denominations are under pressure to concede land to the Israelis. It is not a situation that can be improved until those involved do some serious rethinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing these wonderful stories with us.

    Merry Christmas

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Chilling, more so in the almost casual way it was expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My wife is from Stettin ( Szczecin ) — first generation of Poles there . The Germans were all moved out after the war. The official written settlement was not finalized until the 1970s , however, so some Poles suspected that the land might go back to Germany .

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Like always al your posts and information.Fine Christmas days

    Liked by 1 person

  8. GP, I love that first photo. Churchill and Truman don’t look happy or even comfortable. Yet Stalin looks like he’s having a grand time. I can imagine the ego.
    I got a kick out of the fact that the chairs of Churchill and Truman are pushed close together, leaving a gap between them and Stalin. Oh to have been a fly on the wall…
    Happy holiday hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Happy Holidays! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. as thoughtful as they were
    …if only they had more foresight
    as to the post atomic world created.
    wishing you a joyful, peaceful holidays 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow. It’s interesting to see his take on the situation in his own words. I love how your military humor lined up with the post!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Amazing! As always, thank you GP. I have to say this is extremely chilling as beetleypete stated “just a big bomb” Here is a question for you and your followers. If Truman could’ve been able to understand the enormity of the Hell he was about to unleash upon the world do you think he would’ve changed his mind?

    Do you think he actually had a choice, taking into account all the American lives he saved? Many people believe and I think rightly so, that the Japanese would’ve fought till the last man, woman, or child. I don’t think they would’ve surrendered for any reason other than the sheer total destruction of their country.

    They thought we had more bombs and the ability to wipe them completely off the map forever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And that in a nutshell is why this subject goes on in debate, even after all these years. Different people, different outlooks – some from being close to the situation and some from being totally unaffected. Thank you for your opinion, Michael, it is much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Apart from the bomb, I am struck by how casually leaders discuss the movement of peoples. Thousands of lives torn apart. My high school was directly opposite a migrant hostel, so many of my schoolmates came from this era.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know you are aware of what an undertaking it was to feed, house and provide medical care for most of Europe and especially since Russia was shipping people from their side over to the Allied side so they didn’t have to care for them. The politicians had the luxury of discussing the divided areas casually, while it was the ordnance units and officers and soldiers, and charities that bore the burden of accomplishing the task. Do you have any stories to tell from those children you knew?

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m about 3/4 of the way through David McCullough’s excellent biography on Truman. Interesting man from whom much was demanded.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Supposedly, Stalin thought that Truman would be a complete pushover in the talks, but he found out otherwise. Apparently Stalin was suddenly very worried indeed by the revelation of a new super weapon.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. It’s always helpful to read what the man was thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Fabulous information, GP. It confirmed that Truman did not think the Japanese would pay attention to the leaflet drop. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. What a thing to have to contemplate. And use.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Very interesting. I wonder if dairies are written with the knowledge that they will become historical documents.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. GP, What a day I happened to pay you a visit here! To read Truman’s diary on July 25, 1945 authorizing Secretary of War Stimson to drop the atom bomb on Japan between then & August 10,1945 is chilling. And to read his instructions to bomb “military objectives & soldiers & sailors” & “not women & children” was impossible to carryout in the end. I checked the actual dates. We dropped “two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.” Imagine the responsibility President Truman felt & the burden he lived with! Always the personal identification…..Truman’s actions here brought my father home from Saipan that November 1945. Great post, GP!!! “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas” as the song goes. Phil

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’ve been wondering if he put that part about only military aimed at as protection for how people would look at him in the future or if he actually thought it could be done. I guess we’ll never know. Thank you for your opinion and thank goodness your father came home!!

      Liked by 4 people

  21. I was awed when I visited the Truman Library and Museum in 2017 [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-Wa]. I admire the man, a man of humble origins, who stayed humble all his life, even in a presidency in which he had to make the most difficult decision any man can have to make.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Quite chilling, how they thought of the Atomic Bomb as just a ‘big bomb’. And interesting to read what Truman was thinking at the time of those big conferences.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Nicely done and very interesting H.P. If I recall the Japanese war cabinet was evenly split at the time between fighting on and seeking terms. They had been making overtures to the Russians (before Stalin declared war on Japan) to mediate but were ignored. Couldn’t even get a meeting. Finally the bomb forced the Emperor to cast the deciding vote. In the end, his was the only one that counted. Regards.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Fascinating. At least Truman understood that the Senate needed to ratify treaties.
    “explained that territorial sessions had to be made by treaty and ratified by the Senate”.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Excellent post, GP! The Truman quote “Carry the battle to them … put them on the defensive” is worthy of General Patton and it could be argued that this is President Trump’s style.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. As others have already said, it’s fascinating to read Truman’s thoughts on using the atomic bomb.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. What an awesome responsibility. No wonder those people age so quickly in office.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. It is too bad that Truman did not recognize the full intent of the Soviets to keep a large chunk almost a third of Germany for themselves. By allowing the expulsion of millions of people from their homeland in the eastern provinces and having the Polish people move west to settle in the occupied areas east of the Oder river, Stalin had gained his objectives without any ratification of treaty. Very interesting to read also what Truman had to say about the atomic bomb!

    Liked by 5 people

    • It has been very interesting reading the opinions of the readers, strange how some read into it what they choose to. You have more of a personal insight into the end result of this meeting. Thank you.

      Liked by 4 people

  29. Thank you for a very interesting read. Harry had his head on straight and made the decisions in which we had trusted him to carry out. I am sure he had some sleepless nights while deciding which path to take. HST was not a wobbly man.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Why leaders make decisions always is fascinating, whether we agree with the decision or not. In the end, I suppose one characteristic of a good (i.e., effective) leader is the ability to make a decision, and not waffle interminably. All we can do is decide, and act. Then, if it was the right decision, we can breathe a sigh of relief. If it was wrong, we deal with the consequences. Part of the problem with the atomic bomb is that it’s almost impossible to say with certainty whether it was right or wrong. I suppose in the end it’s one of those decisions that was both.

    Liked by 6 people

  31. Great historical read as always GP!

    Liked by 5 people

  32. A diary. I wonder when Presidents stopped keeping a diary? Now that everything is digitalized, I reckon they don’t have to. How would they find the time, anyway?

    Liked by 5 people

  33. This was horrifying to read. Truman’s racism and his total lack of concern for the larger implications of dropping an atomic bomb is just unforgivable.

    Liked by 5 people

  34. The Japs are getting ready to quit the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to resume commercial hunting. Perhaps we should nuke ’em again.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Interesting. With its wide range, it would be impossible to just target military personnel.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. Uncle Joe must have had quite a shock when he found out with whom he was dealing in HST. Truman was the right man at the right time for these challenging yeas in American history. He should be rated in top 10 presidents. Truman was very artfull in getting Marshall to back the plan to rebuild Western Europe and for Russian containment by appealing to Marshall’s ego and calling the plan the Marshall Plan instead of the Truman Plan which it actually was.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. It certainly is no wonder the Bible strongly instructs us to pray for our ‘leaders’! (1 Tim. 2:1-2) Terrifying.

    Liked by 5 people

  38. Scarym but very interesting, indeed. Thank you, GP! Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 5 people

  39. Absolutely fascinating! It suggests that Truman discussed the Bomb with Mountbatten – who some felt to be somewhat gung-ho. Did the US President REALLY believe that something as indiscriminate as the A-bomb could be targeted at military objectives? Surely not! Or was he intentionally misinformed?

    Liked by 6 people

  40. Thanks for posting, G. P. It is very interesting to read Truman’s own thoughts.

    Liked by 5 people

  41. So interesting, GP. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Liked by 6 people

  42. This is fascainting reading Truman’s thoughts about dropping ther bomb and the reaction he expected from Japan.

    Liked by 7 people

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