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Letter: No second-guessing of Truman's WWII decision

Letter: No second-guessing of Truman's WWII decision

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This is in response to the column “US should apologize for bomb” by Olivia Alperstein, published in Saturday's edition of the Opelika-Auburn News.

Perhaps Ms Alperstein didn’t recall that we were in a little skirmish called World War II with Japan in August 1945, caused by a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, 7 December 1941, a day on which more than 2,400 Americans died.

President Truman was faced with a momentous decision in August 1945. Mount a military invasion of the island of Japan, which would have caused an estimated well over a million Japanese and American deaths, or drop the bomb? Ms Alperstein, had you been the president at that time, what call would you have made?

The number of combined deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not known, but is estimated between 140,000 and 240,000, which is tragic. War itself is a major human tragedy. But when you are in one, as General MacArthur once said, “there is no substitute for victory.”

The rules change. End the war as quickly and as humanely as possible, but win it.

And America should be proud. Remember the Marshall Plan. After the war, we gave Europe (including Germany) massive assistance, unprecedented between former combatants. Also we gave Japan significant assistance, and we are now allies. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are now rebuilt and thriving.

It's one thing to “Monday Morning Quarterback” as Ms Alperstein has done in 2020, but when you’re there and have to make the decision NOW, it’s quite another.

Apologize? I think not.

Charles A. Gross


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