After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, preparations for the next atomic bombing continued.
On August 10, 1945, General Groves reported that the next bomb could be dropped on Japan in as little as one week.
That same day, Truman told a cabinet meeting that he had ordered the atomic bombing stopped. The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was “too horrible,” he said, especially the idea of killing “all those kids.”
General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, noted Truman’s order on the bottom of Groves’ memo.
Truman did not mention these events in his later public statements or writings.
Henry Wallace, formerly Vice-President under Roosevelt, and currently Secretary of Commerce under Truman, noted the events of the August 10, 1945 cabinet meeting in his diary. Excerpt:
Truman said he had given orders to stop atomic bombing. He said the thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible. He didn’t like the idea of killing, as he said, “all those kids.”
Book: John Morton Blum (editor), The Price of Vision: The Diary of Henry A. Wallace, 1942-1946 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973) p. 474.
Internet: A PDF file of images of all 3 pages of Wallace’s diary for August 10, 1945 is available online as document 78 in The Atomic Bomb and the End of WWII: A Collection of Primary Sources, National Security Archive Briefing Book No. 525, edited by William Burr.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77: Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, 1789-1999, Series: General Correspondence, 1940- 1950, File Unit: 25Q, Item: Memorandum from Major General Leslie Groves to Army Chief of Staff about the Availability of Another Atomic Bomb, 8/10/1945. Online at https://research.archives.gov/id/6874336. Transcription by Gene Dannen.
E.O. 11652 Sec. 3(E) and 5(D) or (E)
By ERC NARS Date 6/4/74
10 August 1945
MEMORANDUM TO: Chief of Staff.
The next bomb of the implosion type had been scheduled to be ready for delivery on the target on the first good weather after 24 August 1945. We have gained 4 days in manufacture and expect to ship from New Mexico on 12 or 13 August the final components. Providing there are no unforeseen difficulties in manufacture, in transportation to the theatre or after arrival in the theatre, the bomb should be ready for delivery on the first suitable weather after 17 or 18 August.
L. R. Groves,
Major General, USA.
[Handwritten on bottom of memo:]
It is not to be released over Japan without express authority from the President.
G C Marshall
ORDER SEC ARMY BY TAG PER 41602
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