Einstein's Letter - A CHANGE IN LEADERS

A CHANGE IN LEADERS (Illustration) American History American Presidents Famous Historical Events Medicine Social Studies STEM World War II Biographies

Two weeks to the day after President Roosevelt died, Henry Stimson (the U.S. Secretary of War) writes this letter to the new President, Harry Truman.  Stimson advises the Commander-in-Chief that he must talk with him about "a highly secret matter." Even as America's Vice-President, Truman had no knowledge about the "highly secret" Manhattan Project and the development of an atomic bomb. On the letter, we see Truman's note that he will talk with Stimson about the matter the following day.  From this evidence, we can conclude that President Truman first learned about the nuclear project on April 25, 1945. Image of letter online, courtesy Truman Library.


The 18th of June, 1945, was a momentous day in the war against Japan and in the history of the atomic bomb.

Two months before, while posing for a portrait, President Roosevelt had unexpectedly died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his favorite retreat - the "Little White House" in Warm Springs, Georgia. Eighteen days later Hitler committed suicide, ending the war in Europe.

It seemed, however, that Japan had no plans to stop fighting.

On that summer day in June, President Truman knew the United States was developing a secret weapon: an atomic bomb. The question was: Should he use it?

Debating an invasion of Japan with his closest advisors, Truman was worried. If American forces invaded Japan's home islands, the human cost would be extraordinary. As he listened to the discussion, Truman raised the battle of Okinawa.

THE PRESIDENT expressed the view that it [an invasion] was practically creating another Okinawa [where thousands of Americans and Japanese had died] closer to Japan to which the Chiefs of Staff [Truman's military advisors] agreed.

Truman believed the cost of American lives would be too great. On June 18th, the president decided to force Japan's surrender by use of other means.

Instead of invading Japan, America would use its new - as yet untested - weapon.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Dec 01, 2019

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"A CHANGE IN LEADERS" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2001. Feb 23, 2020.
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