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Truman and Hiroshima – “Slaughterhouse-Five” – Kurt Vonnegut

March 19th, 2011 · No Comments · Hiroshima, History, Literature, Nuclear Weapons, War, WW2

So Lily sat down and pretended to read the Truman thing, which went like this:

Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam’ which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare. The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many-fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production, and even more powerful forms are in development. It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. Before 1939, it was the accepted belief of scientists that it was theoretically possible to release atomic energy. But nobody knew any practical method of doing it. By 1942, however, we knew that the Germans were working feverishly to find a way to add atomic energy to all the other engines of war with which they hoped to enslave the world. But they failed. We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1’s and V-2’s late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all. The battle of the laboratories held-fateful risks for us as well as the battles of the air, land and sea, and we have now won the battle of the laboratories as we have won the other battles. We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city, said Harry Truman. We shall destroy their docks, their factories and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war. It was to spare-

And so on.

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