Of course we regret the lives that were lost, as we always regret death and destruction in war, but guilt is not required. In what is sometimes called the bloody arithmetic of war, the nuclear bombs reduced the ultimate death toll of World War II dramatically. And as the late historian Paul Fussell, a soldier in the Pacific at the time of Hiroshima later wrote, recalling his thoughts when he learned of the atomic bomb’s use, “We were going to live. We were going to grow to adulthood after all.” For that we can be grateful.We will probably hear the usual criticism of President Truman’s decision, specially from those who were not alive back then nor have taken the time to study the real options on his desk. In other words, President Truman was not choosing between war and peace but rather war and more war. He also knew that there would be huge casualties on both sides, if he decided to invade Japan.
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