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The Beginning of the Nuclear Age

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    In what would be impossible to conceive today, Harry Truman was informed of the death of Franklin Roosevelt and his ascension to President of the United States when he was summoned to the White House on April 12th, 1945. He was not informed of the death of Roosevelt until he arrived and when Elanor Roosevelt notified him that he was now President. He wrote in a letter years after his Presidency: "…I was on my way to see Sam Rayburn, where I was instructed to go to the White House. When I arrived at the White House I was informed of the President's death, and was sworn in as President of the United States about 7:00 p.m. At the time I saw you I didn't know President Roosevelt was dead anymore than you did. It was just as much of a surprise to me as it was to anyone else."

    When he became President, President Truman was informed about the Manhattan Project and how close scientists were to developing the first atomic bomb. On July 16th, America exploded the first nuclear device in history and ushered the world into the nuclear age. After completely devastating two cities, Japan quickly surrendered and the Great War was finally over. Mr. Truman went from being a Vice President that had virtually no power and influence to becoming the man that ended the war, and the lives of 246,000 with one order, within the matter of five months.

    We have now gone 67 years without another nuclear bomb being used on a population, but it is only a matter of time before they are used again. I wonder if Mr. Truman foresaw the nuclear arms race and the Cold War as inevitable, but still decided to use nuclear weapons to end a War that might have dragged on for years to come with heavy casualties on both sides. We will never know, but it is with certainty that he will be forever remembered as the one person that used the most powerful weapon to have ever been developed.