A letter from President Harry S Truman regarding the atomic bomb is offered in a sale at RR Auction.
The rare lot includes a signed photo of Truman and a propaganda leaflet that the US dropped on cities across Japan – including Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
It reads: "Bombs have no eyes…heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately."
Truman offers a thoughtful reply to the wife of a USAF officer
While he had advisors on hand, the decision to drop the atomic bomb was Truman’s alone.
He was well aware of its power.
However, he had to weigh bringing the war to a sudden and brutal close against allowing it to drag on for months or even years.
He chose the former.
Hiroshima, which had made it through the war relatively unscathed, was chosen for maximum impact.
In all around 160,000 people perished in the bombing - around half the population of the city.
The letter is addressed to the wife of a USAF officer, who wrote thanking him for ending the war.
Truman writes: "I was pleased to have your letter of March 12, which I read with special interest and all the more so since you consider that by my decision regarding the atom bomb, your husband's life was spared.
“I appreciate your wanting to share with me your personal experience."
Truman rarely discussed the bomb in letters. This example is one of a rare subset in which he mentions the safeguarding of American lives.
RR Auction comments: “As far as we know, this is the only Truman letter discussing the atomic bombings to have been offered at auction in the last 40 years.”
It’s valued at more than $10,000 ahead of the August 9 close date.
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