• Kyodo


A U.S. online history forum has found former U.S. President Harry Truman not guilty of war crimes in relation to his decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan toward the end of World War II.

History News Network on Friday posted the results of its “trial” of Truman, with seven out of 10 history scholars who served as “jurors” finding him not guilty of war crimes.

Two jurors returned a guilty verdict and one remained undecided.

U.S. journalist Philip Nobile, who launched the project and served as prosecutor, accused Truman of ordering the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki via “an experimental terror weapon resulting in the massacre and maiming of some 200,000 Japanese women, children and old people.”

Nobile, who has written extensively on the atomic bomb attack, asserted that Truman’s argument — that more American and Japanese lives would have been lost without the atom bomb — is a fallacy. R. John Pritchard, a noted legal scholar who exonerated Truman, said Nobile’s case has not been proved “beyond reasonable doubt.”

Jonathan Dresner, assistant professor of East Asian history at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Coe College and one of the two jurors who found Truman guilty, said it is wrong to argue whether the atomic bomb was “necessary” to subdue Japan.

The argument, he said, is whether it was “civilized” behavior to accomplish war aims.

“A society that values efficiency over humanity is properly defined as inhumane,” he said.

The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki three days later. An estimated 130,000-140,000 people had died in Hiroshima and 60,000-70,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945 as a result. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15 that year.

The forum’s Web site is www.historynewsnetwork.com/

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