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My Witness:   Harry S. Truman


My Name:  Panayiotis Floros


Background Information About Me:   


I was born on the 8th of May, 1884, in the state of Missouri. I spent most of my adolescent years working with agriculture. During World War I, I served in combat in France, and I was an artilery officer in the National Guard unit. Following the war, I decided to engage in politics, which is why I joined the Democratic Party political machine. I became U.S. Senator in 1935, where I gained national prominence as head of the Truman Committee. This committee managed to expose waste, fraud and corruption from various contracts during the war.


My Connection to the Case: 


I was one of the key persons who were involved in the decisions that were made about the Pacific theatre, for the use of this new tool which I had in my hands, the Atomic Bomb. It was of vital importance that the war was stopped, and the role of America was crucial for the implementation of the decisions that led to exactly that. Following my effective policies, the Japanese surrendered on the 15th of August, 1945, thus brining one of the world's biggest wars to an end with the least amount of casualties possible for the Allies. 


My Testimony: 


  • The main criteria in the choices I made was to save the lives of people, and prevent more lives from being lost as a result of fanaticism.
  • There existed a state of war between the United States (part of the Allied Powers) and the Empire of Japan (part of the Axis powers).
  • The Japanese, having initiated an unwarned attack on Pearl Harbor, caused the neutral United States to take a stance against them and defend herself.
  • The Japanese were fanatics; they engaged in horrendous acts, including the inhumane experimentation on American war criminals through the Unit 731 research unit.
  • The Japanese were given two warnings to surrender according to the terms of the United States. These warnings included the Potsdam Declaration signed by Stalin, Churchill and myself, as well as the leaflets dropped via air on Japanese cities, urging them to evacuate or face the consequences of the "atomic bomb."


Key Sources for My Case:   


Source #1-





This is a primary source, the translation of the leaflets dropped on 12 cities of Japan between mid-late July and early August. This source was created by the Americans.




The document existed/was created in an effort from the Americans to warn the Japanese that they had founded and developed a new atomic bomb, and that they would use it if the Potsdam declaration was not accepted. The original source was created in Japanese, and the intended audience was the Japanese population, intending to warn them on a prominent attack.


Value of this source in preparation of my testimony-  


From this piece of evidence, the intents of President Truman from the time are clearly discerned. From the time period of the piece, July of 1945, we can tell that President Truman intended to warn the Japanese citizens to surrender before he has to use other means in order to make them surrender. President Truman recognized the prominent danger of the Japanese, and their imperialistic acts, which is why he needed them to sign this “Unconditional Surrender,” as mentioned in the Potsdam Declaration. 


Limitations of this source in preparation of my testimony-


Although this is a primary source, this is a translation, and thus, the meaning of the words cannot be completely transferred on paper. However, one thing that is not mentioned is that due to illiteracy, some of the civilians may have not been capable of reading or fully understanding these leaflets. Furthermore, the exact speeds of the aircrafts as well as the altitudes from which they were dropped is unknown, which is why we do not know if the leaflets reached the citizens intact or not. Lastly, we are not aware of the weather conditions through which these leaflets were dropped, which makes us further question whether or not it message was delivered to civilians.


Source #2:




This is a primary source; this letter was written by Harry S. Truman and directed towards Richard B. Russell. It was created on the 9th of August, 1945. 




This document was written by Harry S. Truman mainly to inform Richard B. Russell on his intents regarding Japan; he shows his humane side by mentioning that he “regrets” needing to wipe out a whole population. However, at the same time, he recognizes that this was a necessity, and this was due to the fact that there was no other alternative to stop the Japanese. 


Value of this source in preparation of my testimony-


From this piece, the intents of Harry S. Truman can be realized, given that this is a letter personal letter written by himself, and not something that was expected to be shown publically. This piece was created under circumstances that needed immediate intervention, given that the Japanese had the ability to initiate another attack which overall was estimated to cause millions of casualties. Truman was faced with the important decision of what should have been done to stop the Japanese, and this letter shows us his thought process, but also that he would not proceed to extreme measures unless absolutely necessary.


Limitations of this source in preparation of my testimony-


This document does not give us clear insight on the relationship between Harry S. Truman and Richard B. Russell. As a result, we are not able to tell if this letter was written with the intent of being read by someone who did not necessarily completely agree with Truman and Truman’s actions, or someone who was closer to Truman and/or agreed with his course of action in handling Japan and avoiding any more deaths. 


Extension: The Truman Library - Truman Museum


 Physically located Missouri, Truman's birthplace, but also easily found online (<link>), The Truman Library provides extensive resources, both primary and secondary, of various events that occured throughout Harry S. Truman's life. Ranging from personal diary entries to public declarations, all the evidence currently declassified is available to anyone either online or physically at the library facility in Missouri.


Sources Cited For this Digication


"Leaflets Warning Japanese, Aug. 6, 1945." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/truman-leaflets/>.


 "Potsdam Declaration." Potsdam Declaration. N.p., 26 July 1945. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/Hiroshima/Potsdam.shtml>.


"United States Army Strategic Air Forces." Letter to General Carl Spaats. 25 July 1945. MS. United States, n.p.


"Harry S. Truman Hat Image." N.p., 2 Apr. 1943. 21 Apr. 2015.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.