1. Title: U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  2. Who owns the document? Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/bomb/large/documents/index.php?documentid=65&pagenumber=1
  3. Type of Source: Government Document
  4. Unique Physical Characteristics of Source: There isn’t a ton of uniqueness to this source. Throughout the document, there are underlined words to emphasize a strategy or phrase and there is one word marked out and corrected but other than that, very simple document.
  5. Date(s) of Document: June 19th, 1946
  6. Author/Creator of the Document; Position: Franklin D’Olier (Chairman), Paul H. Nitze, Henry C. Alexander (Vice Chairmen), Walter Wilds (Secretary), Harry L. Bowman, J.K. Galbraith, Rensis Likert, Frank A. McNamee, Fred Searls Jr., Monroe Spaght, Dr. Louis R. Thompson, Theodore P. Wright (Directors).
  7. Which Audience Was The Document Written? This document was directed towards the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy
  8. Key Info About the Document:

a) List three things the author said that you think are important:

  • “As the developer and exploiter of this ominous weapon, our nation has a responsibility, which no American should shirk, to lead in establishing and implementing the international guarantees and controls which will prevent its future use.” (pg. 45)
  • “The bomb exploded slightly northwest of the center of the city. Because this accuracy and the flat terrain and circular shape of the city, Hiroshima was uniformly and extensively devastated” (pg. 3).
  • The impact of the atomic bomb shattered the normal fabric of community life and disrupted the organizations for handling the disaster. In the 30 percent of the population killed and the additional 30 percent seriously injured were included corresponding proportions of the civic authorities and rescue groups… the bulk of the dehoused population found refuge in the surrounding countryside; within the city the food supply was short and shelter virtually non-existent” (pg. 6)

b) Why do you think this document was written?

  • This report was written to state the extent and nature of the damage, the casualties, and the political repercussions from the two attacks. It was written to give a fairly full account of what those atomic bombs did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

c) What evidence from the document helps you know why it was written?

  • In the introduction on page 6 of the document, those two statements are clearly addressed in the excerpt, “the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey… has put together in these pages a fairly full account of just what the atomic bombs did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki…this report states the extent and nature of the damage, the casualties, and the political repercussions from the attacks”.

d) List two things the document tells you about life in the place and at the time it was written:

  • Before the war, Hiroshima was the seventh largest city in Japan with a population of over 340,000. It was the principal administrative and commercial center of the southwestern part of the country (pg. 6). As for Nagasaki, it was on a commercial decline. Though great in previous centuries, its isolated peninsular position didn’t allow for much transportation through the mountains because of inadequate roads and railroad facilities. Industry was increasing though under Mitsubishi influence (pg. 10).

e) Write a question for audiences today that is left unanswered by the document:

  • How were the surrounding cities effected by these bombings and have these same courses of action taken place to keep those cities from facing the repercussions of the bombings?

John Jones

University of Oklahoma

March 1st, 2019