Education About Asia: Online Archives

The Harper’s Magazine article from 1947, “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Henry Stimson, to accompany Peter Frost’s article, “Teaching Mr. Stimson.”

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Harper’s Magazine



Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War 1911–13, Secretary of State 1929–33, Secretary of War 1940–45, was the man who had to make the recommendation to the President.
In recent months there has been much comment about the decision to use atomic bombs in attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This decision was one of the gravest made by our government in recent years, and it is entirely proper that it should be widely discussed. I have therefore decided to record for all who may be interested my understanding of the events which led up to the attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, on Nagasaki on August 9, and the Japanese decision to surrender, on August 10. No single individual can hope to know exactly what took place in the minds of all of those who had a share in these events, but what follows is an exact description of our thoughts and actions as I find them in the records and in my clear recollection.