Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Atomic Bomb

Millions of citizens of the United States were involved in the war, either as soldiers in the military or as plant workers or in other way. Hundreds of thousands of army and navy personnel were poised on the West Coast to strike at Japan. The Japanese warlords, desperate for success, had created the suicide aircraft strikes, known as Kamakazi. Our navy, poised to invade Japan, was being attacked by the Kamakazis. It was estimated that millions would die on both sides.It was into this tense atmosphere that President Harry Truman dropped the atomic bomb. I had torn the bulletin off the Associated Press machine and was busy reading it to the troop stationed at Victorville Air Force Base in California. Ordinarily when I finished a newscast there was a scramble for the door as the soldiers burst out of the room. But when I finished telling them about the Atomic Bomb there was a deep silence. They were waiting for me to tell them what was an atomic bomb. I could not tell them what I did not know. Finally I fell back on a standard Army statement: Dismissed. The official bulletin had described how U.S. pilots flying a B-29 bomber at high altitude had dropped an atomic bomb on Japan and had killed thousands of people. The pilot described a mushroom cloud rising from the blast into the atmosphere. Shock waves from the explosion had rocked the plane. The Japanese did not immediately surrender so Truman ordered a second bomb to be dropped. At that point the Japanese emperor took charge and announced surrender and the stubborn warlords began to commit suicide by stabbing themselves in the stomach. It was obvious that the war was over. It was some time before details about the creation of the atomic bomb, which had been done in secret, were revealed. To this day the bomb remains a controversial subject. But to the soldiers waiting to invade Japan and perhaps die it was a welcome happening. I was one of those who was glad it happened.

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