Truman on Trial: Letters to the EditorPolls
JAPAN WAS NOT ON THE VERGE OF SURRENDER
Sadao Asada's article,"The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japan's Decision to Surrender--- A Reconsideration," is only a few years old and has not had much time to percolate, but at least two of the not-guilty jurors cite it. The article was run in the November 1998 Pacific Historical Review and subsequently won the American Historical Association's Lewis Knott Koontz Award. Asada (Doshisha University, Kyoto) was a young boy during the US occupation of Japan and today is the preeminent authority on the decisions of the Japanese war cabinet. His piece clearly demonstrates that the Japanese in charge (the military) were not ready--- or even considering--- surrender until the"shock" of the atomic bombs (that's bombs, plural). See also the new book by Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. The narrow, presented charge--- no"devastation not justified by military necessity" is fully trumped by Asada's findings.
D. M. Giangreco
THAT CHILDREN DIED IS"JUST TOUGH"
The study of History is never as objective as historians would like us to believe. The acts and dry facts of the past are colored by the times they occurred in, and the viewpoint of the reporters who record them. To indict Truman, his staff and amazingly, the pilots and crews who carried out those orders, is a gross example of applying the attitudes of the historian to the acts of individuals who lived in very different circumstances.
I am really having a hard time coming to grips with the arguments of Mr. Nobile. I feel it is quite arrogant for him to be attempting to use his present day sensibilities to judge what Truman and his staff did in the face of the Japanese conflict in 1945. This retroactive application present day subjective criticism is fallacious and just plain wrong. Citing the Nuremburg laws as a reason for his indictment is a tactic to try and turn an opponent's words back on themselves, and is really a smokescreen. It gives him a platform to attack from without having to address to true nature of war and men.
The conduct of war has little to do with minding the niceties of International law and he knows it. Mr. Nobile's (and others) position, that harming your foe's civilian populations to save the life of even one of your own soldiers is indefensible, is in my opinion, both wrong and naive. War is the exercise of force to defeat or destroy an enemy. It may be clichéd to say it is politics by other means, but that is a true statement.
The international law that protects noncombatants was written without an eye to the realities of all-out war by industrialized nations. It strives to limit and channel the barbarity of war by making arbitrary rules that impose limits or sanctions on behavior associated with survival. It is a noble undertaking that is made by men who have the luxury to decide such things without the impediment of having an enemy's knife at their throat. When the Nuremburg trials were conducted, they were punishing men who had invaded other countries with the express purpose of robbing their people’s of their wealth, enslaving them, and killing off 'undesirables' in an organized fashion. This is a quite different proposition from deciding to bomb a city full of men, women and children to stop an aggressor from killing more of your own sons and daughters.
The Second World War proved that the civilian populations of opponents were not"innocent bystanders" but indeed were integral to the industrial war-fighting capacity of the enemy. That is simply a fact. To say that we can kill the females of our enemy who are working at a plant producing bullets but we can't kill them once they cross the street to their homes is foolish or willfully ignorant. The allies bombed the aircraft manufacturing facilities of the Germans continually throughout the last year and a half of the war, and despite the constant interruptions, the output of aircraft never dropped significantly until the war's end. What would have been the output of those factories if we had refrained from attacking them for fear of harming"noncombatants?"
The obvious retort,"what about the children?" is equally without real merit. Aside from the fact that the Axis powers used child labor extensively, (which would drag the children out of the realm of noncombatants) the fact remains that they, being essentially at the side of their mothers who are part of the war-making capability of the enemy, are semi-legitimate targets. Bombs, be they conventional or nuclear, do not discriminate. To be plain, that's just tough.
I believe that Mr. Truman was willing to kill as many Japanese, civilian or military, as it took to get their political leaders to sue for peace. This is a legitimate war aim. The Japanese military had to be convinced that not only could they not win the war, they could no longer hold out the hope that they could thwart the home islands invasion or make invasion so costly that they could make peace on their own terms.
Men of every age of history have had to confront others of their species that would dominate or destroy them. They all faced those challenges with every means at their disposal. (If they didn’t it is likely we never heard about them: They lost.) When Rome attacked and destroyed Carthage down to the last man, woman and child, is was a response to unrelenting attacks by the Carthaginians on the Roman mainland: A classic example of kill or be killed, on the national scale. If a man were to awaken at home and find a knife-wielding intruder at his bedside, would he be guilty of excess if he retrieved his gun from under the pillow and shot the attacker, rather that fighting his way to the kitchen for an equal weapon? The Japanese had every intention of continuing the war by any means necessary, and Truman applied the means he had at his disposal to stop them. It was an act of mercy in many ways.
Sovereign state of Mississippi
Whatever Truman's wider motives, the sheer brutality of the Japanese throughout W.W.II and before ( Manchuria 1930s) needed to be stopped. Read Jack Edwards' book Banzai, you bastard for a story by a British POW who had documentary evidence that Japan planned to massacre all POWs of the Japanese mainland was invaded. His conclusion?" I'm glad they dropped the bomb."
Not Guilty. I guess you had to be there.
NEVER VOTED FOR HARRY, BUT ...
Inever voted for Truman but believe he was fully justified in bringing the war against Japan to a speedy end via the atomic bomb. Had he been able to drop it prior to our invasion of Okinawa thousands of AMERICAN lives would have been saved. Had we found it necessary to invade Japan our loses would have been, most likely, in excess of a half million AMERICAN lives. Thesse bleeding hearts for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki need to get their facts straights and perhaps a little"brain" surgery would help them. The brutal and barbaric acts of the Japanese are well documented in their treatment of the Chinese civilian population and their treatment of captured American soldiers as well as those of our allies is a matter of factual history. The Japanese certainly would have used the atomic bomb against the USA had their been able to do so and it would have been done with no thought the heavy lose of American lives.
IN A WAR THERE ARE NO CIVILIANS
The remark by Mr.Radosh"Some arguments are so stupid that only an intellectual could make them" captures the essence of this debate. A quick glance at any of Nobile's supporters in the letters to the editor shows that they all display an appalling lack of historical knowledge or the absence of any facts to back up their claims to Truman's"guilt." Obviously, they are products of the current propaganda mills masquerading as public schools. I am also one of the walking dead. I was born in 1950, the son of a U.S. Navy veteran who had drawn" Picket Station" duty on a destroyer for the upcoming invasion of Japan. Since these stations were used primarily to draw Kamikaze planes away from the aircraft carriers, it is a virtual certainty he would not have returned (those"defeated" Japanese had 10,000 planes ready to go when we got in there). I for one, am glad that Truman placed greater value on his life that those cowards in Japan. By the way, revisionists, in a war there are no civilians.
Joseph M. Berner
JAPAN WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR NAGASAKI
Germany was 6 mo. behing getting the bomb in action. If they had been the first you would not be enjoying a free press to ask this question. The bomb had to be dropped twice before Japan surendered. I have never heard anyone complain to Japan because they didn't surender after the first and save all the lives killed by the second. Truman stands commended. A terribly hard decision to make.
LETTER FROM BULGARIA
My name is Nickola Bratanov.I live in Bulgaria. I think Harry S Truman is not guilty.He strike Hiroshima & Nagazaki beause Japanese strike furst in 1941 they atack Parl Harbor without announce for war.According to me you must judge Japanese for this crime.
LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Not guilty. Estimates vary, but Japan still had at least a million soldiers elsewhere in Asia, mostly in China. Fighting continued and hundreds, perhaps thousands died daily.
The Allies had only recently begun to break Japan's power hold in Burma. There was still a long way to go before reaching the shores of the Sea of Japan & East China Sea. More battles continued, more people of many nationalities died daily.
The Allies continued to make nightly sorties over the 66 frequently bombed Japanese cities. Thousands of Japanese died nightly. Hiroshima & Nagasaki had been spared; without the A-bomb, they would have been conventionally bombed anyway. To arrive at rough estimates of what the Allies faced in an invasion of the Japanese main islands, look at the death toll in Okinawa. About 250,000 people were killed: 150,000 Okinawan civilians, 87.5 thousand Japanese soldiers; 12.5 thousand Allied personnel, mostly American. Okinawa was about 5% of Japan's territory & about the same percentage of the population. Multiply the above figures by 20.
Every day the war continued, thousands died. Japan's war party leaders were not ready to surrender. It is truly criminal that they were willing to continue the war even after Okinawa. The Japanese elite, in fact, had no excuse for inflicting that terrible battle on the people of Okinawa.
IT WAS WAR
Not only would I vote not guilty but I am amazed by the ahistorical claptrap that promoted such a verdict on the part of the accusers. First of all, they obviously do not know any of the U.S. Marines who were headed toward the invasion of Japan and saw what they would have faced in the first assault -- there assessment --There would have been no survivors. How do they account for the attempted coup on the part of some of the generals even after the first bomb was dropped so they could fight on. Finally, Truman's own recollection about the intelligence information he received regarding how long the war would last and how many Japanese and American lives that continuation would have cost makes his decision one of the requisites a commander (this time commander-in-chief) must make in a wartime situation.
TRUMAN A SAINT
Look how many lives he saved by not having to invade Japan. Being only 14 years of age when the bomb went off, I and my generation were part of the walking dead. After seeing the country of Japan in 51 and 52, the estimates of casualties were far less than what they would have been in case of invasion. The Japanese had bought the Neuclar makings from Hitler and was going to do the same to the USA.
In my books Mr Truman is a Saint.
74 YEAR OLD WOMAN
I AM A 74 YEAR OLD WOMAN THAT LIVED THROUGH WORLD WAR II. HOW CAN YOU DEBATE SUCH A PREMISE THAT TRUMAN IS A WAR CRIMINAL? IS IT MORE CRIMINAL TO START A WAR OR END A WAR? OBVIOUSLY, TRUMAN ENDED IT. LET'S ALL REFLECT ON PEARL HARBOR AND HIROSHIMA AS TWO INFAMOUS DAYS IN HISTORY.
What was missing from the Nobile-Radosh debate is one salient fact that changed after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
The United States dropped, in effect though not formally, the"unconditional surrender" requirement against Japan. The protection of the Emperor was the main goal inside the Japanese high officials is my understanding. Once the US decided, after the dropping of the bombs, to drop prosecution of the Emperor and to allow the Emperor to remain as a"figurehead" not much different than British Royalty, the Japanese military and the Emperor were able to surrender. This concession was one that Stimson had suggested in late July (God I wish I had my documents in front of me--I'm interested in others' support or rejection on this!), but Truman (and Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes) reaffirmed the unconditional surrender.
Add to the fear of the Japanese that the Russians were coming in--ironically, Truman had changed his mind on this after the bomb's successful test in mid-July--and the attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki appears to be a secondary consideration for the Japanese.
The defenses in reading the tea leaves of the Japanese military and high command don't help Truman's motives, either, since the information Truman had showed the Japanese far more willing to surrender than fight to the last child and puppy dog in Japan.
I see Truman as guilty for dropping the bomb without sufficient military necessity and more guilty than Stalin for pushing the Cold War.
Mitchell J. Freedman
Newbury Park, CA
Not guilty, now and forever. And nothing on this earth will ever convince me otherwise.
Evan Carter Brooklyn, NY
I see from the responses there are people from defending and condemning the"bomb." Let me just add, in a not so eloquent way, a view from the one party that had not spoken up in the responses so far - that of the peoples under Japanese occupation.
But first the disclaimers: I am fortunate enough to be born after WWII was over and therefore do not want to tell you that I lived through the war. Also, I don't presume to speak for the different nationalities under Japanese rule and I hope the others will speak.
Hindsight is 20/20. Well in this case, it may not be so. To relate a story from my aunt who was a teenager during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. When she was returning home one day, the air raid siren went. The Americans were running a bombing mission. As people scurried for cover, a Japanese soldier waved her to a bombing shelter. But the rumors and stories of Japanese atrocities made her run for her life instead of seeking shelter with the Japanese soldiers.
What can you get out of this incident? Some might say that the Japanese soldiers were not heartless killers and rapists in occupied territories. But for millions of Asians, the context is that Japanese were unwelcomed intruders and they could do little about it. They would prefer them out asap. Did the bomb help? I suspect so.
College of Health and Human Performance
University of Maryland at College Park
IF JAPAN HAD POSSESSED THE BOMB ...
Had any of the Axis powers had the bomb they would have used it. While the US was not totally innocent before Pearl Harbor we in no way deserved to be attacked. The problem I have with this discussion is that Pearl Harbor and the atom bomb are never discussed as one issue. If one had not occurred the other one would not have either. I know the A Bomb was justified by the fear that Nazi Germany might be working on one. I feel without the A and H Bomb WW3 would have happened by now. Fred
Phillip Nobile sounds like a spoiled child. He lost. If he had quarrels with the jury, he should have made them before the trial. His arguments were just not enough.
Gerald Mattran, Ph.D
STUDENT TOLD TO CHECK OUT THE TRIAL
I was sent this by my history instructor at college. He is a good friend who knows this would get a reaction. In any backward looking excersize you will at best come to a hung jury. First, there is the ability to second guess the the players and motivations. Was there a factor of political expediance? Yes. Was there a factor of need to bring this war to an end? Yes. Was it a necessary evil to demoralize the enemy? yes. Was it a weapon not completely understood and thereby a wreakless action? Yes.
Second, If you go back as far as you can in the history of war is there not a desperate move made to win it by someone who at the very least percieved defeat without that action? It always happens. The generations of viet nam have a tainted view of americanism that is a cornerstone of Truman's time. To them the Japanese were unconventionally waging war and that had to be meet with measures just as unconventional.
Thirdly, is it hard to imagine the cycle of thought being implemented in this ultimate act? No. Why? Simply this if you have been through ranger school you are met at a point in train called"Robin Sage," where there is a stage where a moral and ethical delima is given to you. You are asked if you will let a possible enemy sympathing person live and give away your position in the heat of conflict. My action was to use extreme measures. Was that a war crime? on the face of it yes. Was it a militay necessity? In that moment and situation? yes!
It is in the best interest of all concerned that we try to imagine the forces at play. Any sociologist and psychologist could clear some facts up. First forces at home wanted a victory and there loved ones home. that is the usa. The japanese were a communally focused emperialistic society. The had one common focus and aim. To win.
The death march, brutality, lack of Geneva adherance was met by the usa with two completely demoralizing and stratigicly sound actions. Did it cause colateral damage? To be sure.
Can Truman be held to the same standard as Melosivich and others? No. To say Truman turned ethnic cleansing on the japanese is wrong. The japanese americans were locked up not summarily killed. Locking them up torques me up, but it happened. How was Truman's action ethnic cleansing? It was an act of a man which saw
no other way to shatter the blind obediance of people bent on world domination. He did what he believed was needed.
Please excuse the spelling.
charles a knicely,
Non traditional, Junior, Ohio University
Re: Phillip Nobile vs. Harry S. Truman:
The specious arguments mounted by the Prosecution are insufficient to prove its case.
Nobile neglects two fundamental points in his foolish"prosecution" of Harry S. Truman for war crimes:
First, Nobile blindly argues against the concept of"Might makes Right", or rather, Power over Reason, when he should instead apply his apparently limited powers of reason to discern why Truman was ever faced with making this decision in the first place.
War crimes committed by the Nazis and the Japanese were committed against people who had NOT engaged them in any form of hostile military action, and whom at most were peaceful competitors in a national or international market.
The Jews of Europe were NOT at war with the German people; indeed many of those rounded up and sent to their deaths in the slave labor camps or death camps were German citizens who had served honorably and well in the German military during World War I. Otto Frank, father of the celebrated diarist Anne Frank, was one such individual.
Nazi Germany initiated hostilities in its invasion of Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, and the Soviet Union; by virtue of the alliances it had made and honored, Great Britain came to the aid of several of those nations and was attacked as well.
In the Pacific, Japan carried out similar criminal acts, initiating war against China, the Philippines, Singapore, and the people residing in Malaysia, Indonesia, and on various islands in the South Pacific. The Rape of Nanking, the abduction of Korean women to serve as prostitutes, the Bataan Death March, and thousands upon thousands of other individual atrocities that have never been acknowledged were wreaked upon captured prisoners and occupied nations by invading Japanese forces. The Japanese attacked the United States, both in the Aleutians, and to greater effect at Pearl Harbor; they also attempted to engage in balloon-borne transoceanic firebombing -- without regard to any civilian casualties.
When attacked, one has the right to defend oneself; if necessary, one may even kill one's attacker to preserve one's life. This is true of individuals no less than it is of nations. By initiating attacks upon other nations, the Axis powers invited -- even mandated -- counterattacks upon themselves.
Second, Nobile attempts to draw a distinction between combat forces and civilian populations, as if the general populace of Japan and Germany were somehow prisoners of their governments, rather than the beneficiaries of the economic bounty that their political leaders attempted to wrest from others at gunpoint, the supporters of those leaders, and the source of the young men who gladly and willingly served those leaders in either combat forces or prison/"police" units.
Nobile misunderstands key precepts to fighting a war. It is NOT moral to exclusively limit one's attacks to one's combatant foes, if such limitation permits that foe to maintain a viable and armed opposition for an extended period of time, during which even more civilians and soldiers -- on both sides -- might be killed. This was one of the key failures of World War I -- an extended period of trench warfare between two equally matched military forces, resulting in far more casualties and deaths than might have occurred had either side possessed the wherewithal to destroy the other's economic ability to support its forces. Rather, as Sherman demonstrated during the Civil War, it is necessary to defeat BOTH the enemy's forces militarily, and the enemy's economic ability to raise, arm, and sustain those forces. The latter objective necessitates that one gain control over, or destruction of, the adversary's economic infrastructure. It is of no consequence that the farmers and factors of the Sudetenland had never personally shot at any allied soldiers, their efforts to provide food and equipment sustained the ability of the Nazi SS to continue the"final solution" while the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine continued to fight the allies. The same argument applies to the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The necessity to deprive one's foe of the ability to produce food, equipment, arms and ordnance to maintain its combat forces does NOT imply the right to visit gratuitous physical abuse upon captive prisoners or among occupied civilians. However, the Japanese citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no such claim to protection from acts of war -- involving, bullets, conventional explosives, or atomic bombs -- during early August, 1945.
Judgment for the Defense.
John W. Walker
THE BOMB DIDN'T END THE WAR ALONE
Innocent! Thousands of Americans and probably hundreds of thousands of Japanese owed their lives to the fact that the Pacific War ended when it did. That said, let's not assume that the bomb by itself was sufficient cause for Japan's surrender, without taking into account the generally blasted, blockaded wreck the country was fast becoming under assault from conventional weapons, the Soviet entry into the war, etc. Also let's not confuse the two separable issues of shortening the war and saving American lives. The latter could have been accomplished without the former by the simple expedient of postponing an invasion indefinitely while tightening the blockade and intensifying the conventional bombing. That Truman failed to consider this option indicates a want of imagination and (perhaps) a desire to forestall deeper Soviet involvement in East Asia, not anything remotely resembling criminal intent.
A MILITARY MAN'S PERSPECTIVE
Get over it. We ended it.
I am sorry we didn't drop HUNDREDS of the weapons on these losers. They deserved EVERYTHING they got.
And if you don't like it? Too damn bad. Hey, what was the forecast in Hiroshima on August 5th, 1945?
Cool tonight, clearing, low of 67. Tommorrow, Brilliant sunshine, High winds, temperature of a million degrees...LOLOL
Who thing's up these dummmmmm question's? It's high time we stop taking care of these dummmmmm people , the first thing you know the younger people will think this is the way we all think. BAD BAD Mabey its's already happen , just look at what's going on in Washington now and two years ago.
CONCEPT OF WAR CRIMES A JOKE
As victors of the war we had he right victors spoils.But it was because of the extortionate levies against Germany that led to the Nazis rise to power. All sides were guilty, so no one has a"moral" highground. By our aid the England while we were supposed to be neutral, both WWI and WWII, we were criminaly aiding England.
As a whole the whole concept of war crimes a a joke. Look those who sat in judgement of the Nazis>1)USA-indian wars and genocide-Liebenstrom=Manifest Destiny,sterlization of those unfit,war against civilians-Shermans March to the sea.2)England-empire building at the expenss of natives,Boer war use of detention camps(massive death of children,women and the old)-remember in Shanghai club-no dogs or chinese allowed. 3)USSR- at least TWICE the body count of the Nazis! forced labor and destructive labor camps. 4)France- Empire building. Have you seen Papion? Devils Island baby!
All this B.S. leads to is in the near future, common Americians are going to go before these kangaroo courts sooner or later thanks to the war crimes crowd!
Edwin B. Sepulveda :-)
SPIRIT OF BUDO
Mr. Nobile grasp of military strategy is almost as limited as his understanding of history.
First, one of the aims of a military campaign is the defeat of your enemy with the least amount of casualties and collateral damage as possible. When you compare the damage and casualties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the projected estimates of total military and civilian casualties in an invasion of the Japanese homeland, it's not even close. The horrific experience of U.S. Marines taking Okinawa in which Japanese troops fought to the death rather than surrender and Japanese civilians committing suicide rather than subjecting themselves to U.S. rule weighed heavily on U.S. decision makers. Having been to Japan and talked with the warriors of old (including survivors of Hiroshima), all I can say is that the spirit of budo would have exacted an awful price beyond even the most dreadful estimates.
Second, Mr. Nobile cannot get past the"horror" of a nuclear weapon versus all of the conventional weapons used in the conflict. The Tokyo bombings caused as much damage and casualties as a 'nuclear' strike. Such was the way of industrial warfare in WWII, when attacking your enemy's economic centers of gravity and war production was as important as direct military targets. Mr. Nobile demonstrates a poor grasp of military thought, insisting that 20th century warfare be conducted as it was in the 18th century when troops marched in straight lines and fired upon each other at 20 paces, rather than taking the war to the economic centers and affecting the enemy's material ability to wage war. (I am assuming Mr. Nobile believes the submarine warfare conducted against civilian shipping into Japan to starve it of raw materials is also a criminal act under his definition.) Judging the acts of 1945 by 21st century standards in which we can place cruise missiles in specific windows while the civilians of Belgrade sit outside at cafes sipping coffee calls into question Mr. Nobile's ability to comprehend the society as it existed at that time.
President Truman made the correct military decision and shortened the war. If Mr. Nobile would like to get worked up about something, then I suggest he study the Clinton Administration's attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.
Truman was not guilty at the time and is still not guilty. He had a responsibility to save the lives of American troops greater than any responsibility to save Japanese lives. He did, however, save more Japanese lives due to the surrender which obviated an invasion, than were killed by the two bombs. How many prisoners, Americans and others, were saved from starvation or murder due to the surrender? Hundreds of thousands? Truman's accuser claims women, children, and elderly Japanese were killed by the bombs. This has to be a deliberate lie. No military or working age men were killed? How about a whole Japanese army based there? A statue of Truman would be better than some living presidents.
THE JAPANESE ARMY WAS STILL INTACT
President Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was clearly the right choice for several reasons. 1)The Japanese people were prepared to fight to the death and based on the experience of the Allies on Okinawa many Americans were expected to die (as well as millions of Japanese) in an invasion of Japan, 2) The Japanese Kwantung Army located in China was 750,000 strong and still relatively intact--it was considered likely to come to the defense of the Japanese homeland, and 3) the Americans wanted a rapid end to the conflict because the Russians would eventually enter the war and would cause numerous political and military complications--their European designs needed tempering by a show of American force.
Tom Case, P.O. Box
1669, Zillah, WA 98953
JAPAN SHOULD THANK THE U.S.
Having initiated conflict with the US, Japan's failure to initiate peace talks left the US with no options except to minimize its own casualties. Japan should thank the US, since many Japanese were saved as well.
WAR IS HELL
Hiroshima was one of the largest Japanese Naval bases and shipyards. The US equivalents would be Norfolk or San Diego. It was a perfectly legitimate enemy target. Nagasaki was the equivalent of Pittsburgh. A major Steel center, again a legitimate target. War is Hell get used to it.
I find Harry S. Truman innocent of all charges stemming from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Not Guilty. Remember a place called Pearl Harbor?
Derek J Gablenz
1 AMERICAN LIFE WORTH 200,000 JAPANESE
truman did the right thing.saving even one american's life was more important than 200'000 lives of the enemy. those who say otherwise should be forced to lead the charge into an enemy's lines and risk their own lives first instead of doing the typical liberal thing saying do as i say(ie.you die first)not as i do!
Point 1: America's violence against Japan began after Peal harbor.
Point 2: Japanese didn't surrender at Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, ect until 80% or more troops were dead.
Point 3: Japanese civilians were being trained for the defense of the home islands. Taking Japan with conventional weapons would have cost 200,000 live of American servicemen.
Point 4: Japan DID NOT SURRENDER after Hiroshima, thus making Nagasaki necessary.
They earned what they got.
VERDICT: Innocent of all charges
THE LEFT, AGAIN, GETTING HISTORY WRONG
Harry Truman was a TRUEMAN when the world needed one. Good stuff pro and con. As unual the left likes to second guess and revise to fit their agenda. NOT GUILTY is too mild.
Honors for courage and veracity when it was most needed would be better.
HARRY GETS HIS VOTE
THE FIGHT GOES TO RADOSH
Having read the position papers I think Radosh wins hands down on all counts.
G.L. Seligmann Department of History Univ of North Texas
AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASHAMED
Harry Truman knew well that the use of"the Bomb" was not to stop
the war or stop killing American soldiers, but to show Russians what the United States of America was capable of.
To achieve this egoistic imperialism which Americans say"the freedom for all, the supreme democracy" Harry Truman killed civilians. Not the actual military personnel and infastructure, but unimaginable ordinary people who was just minding his or her own morning.
Americans should be ashamed of saying the bomb stopped the war.
Japanese imperial household was coming around by August 5. Americans just wanted to show the world how big and strong they are.
Executive Managing Director11
Natori & Natori International, Ltd.
THE BIG LIE
The Japanese that carried a rifle and bayonet or a shovel and hoe, actually participated, directly or indirectly in the Nippon atrocities of World War II.
If you bred livestock or children, planted rice or land mines you were somehow, somewhere connected to the Japanese war machine.
The BIG lie being told it that there were innocent people killed in Hiroshima. When you are ready, willing and able to die for your country, without question, without protest, you are no longer innocent!
For a better perspective of World War II, read Hampton Sides,"Ghost Soldiers," (Doubleday), or Eric Lomax,"The Railway Man," (Norton).
I doubt that my own father would have returned home if Harry Truman had not bombed Japan. GOD BLESS HARRY TRUMAN!!!
Eric L. Hoover
I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH MY DAD
I thoroughly enjoyed this 'trial' on Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs. I'm afraid that when I was in college I became caught up in the 'revisionist' school of history and found Gar Alperovitz' book on the matter persuasive.
What changed my mind completely was talking with my father while on spring break.
I mentioned the criticism of Truman's decision to him, and got the response of a man who had been a young soldier in the South Pacific, and was who, after slugging it out in New Guinea and then in the Phillipines, numbered among those troops who would have been in the first wave of the invasion of the Japanese home islands.
I believe his exact quote was 'B.S.' He did go on to tell me about being in Tokyo just a few weeks after the surrender, and of making an inventory of ordance found in the 'totally undamaged warehouses' near the harbor. He said he and the group he was with were astounded at the undamaged military equipment that had been stockpiled presumably for the purposes of defending against the expected American invasion!
Row after row of flamethrowers were found. What surprised them most was the fact that they had been led to believe that Tokyo had been virtually obliterated by the air war. They found very little damage to the sites that they were assigned to inspect.
Accordingly, I would have voted 'Not Guilty' emphatically, and the comments by the professors that voted that way would have confirmed the correctness of my decision.
Thank you for this wonderful and enlightening exchange.
Wayne H. Cobb, Jr.
Attorney at Law
Nobile's proved his case. Truman clearly is a war criminal.
SO TOJO AND HITLER WERE NOT GUILTY, EITHER
If, in your opinion, former US president Mr.Harry Truman was going to be found guilty, why don't simply call"not guilty at all" for Stalin, Hitler, adm.Tojo, Jacob Beria, Mussolini and a few others.
LETTER FROM JAPAN
First of all,I appreciate this kind of trial has been made by American people.Though almost sixties years has pased from dropping of atomic bomb,some American people are still thinking seriously about this.I appreciate this point.
It is self-evident that using atomic bomb is great sin even if H.Trueman had what kind of reasons to use it.It is a sin for mankind.As many people alreday commented ,Japan could not fight any more with USA. And Japanese leader were seeking surrender through diplomatic way.They contacted with Starlin doing such diplomatic negociation.It was unhappy for Japan.But Soviet Union was not enemy for Japan at that time at least.I am studying about Sigenori Togo who was a foreign minister both beginning and closing of that War.Togo was a professinal diplomat and became foreign minister just before the War has begun.After War was over he was accused as war prisoner at Tokyo Trial.And five years later,he was dead in Sugamo prison by sickness.Of course, he was responsible about openning the war. He tried to avoid waras foreign minister,but it was in vain.Basicaly Japanese Imperialism had caused that terrible war.But Franklin Rosevelt was perfectly right?So my conclusion is that American people should examine Rosevelt policy just same as Trueman`s using atomic bomb.And who want to know about Togo,ask me about it.I will do my best.Thank you.
LETTER FROM GERMANY; SHOCKED BY THE VERDICT
I am really shocked by the decision of the Trial, however absolutely not surprised. The question is actually very simple: was it nesessary from the military point of view to apply the A-bomb? And was it nesessary to take lives of 130-140 thousand innocent people? At this time Japan was already broken, and such a barbarian act was directed to show the power. I am sorry, but for such a purpose it could be possible to make test over non-inhabited place and invite all the sides; I mean Russians, Brits French etc.
I am not asking about your children or something else. This could be considered as not connected with the issue. But to understand your point of view, I have no enthusiasm.
PhD student at the
Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research,
RADOSH IS RIGHT
Ron Radosh is correct. While I was previously convinced of the necessity of the first use of the bomb, I had reservations about the second. I was unaware of Sadao Asado's or Richard Frank's work, which as cited by Radosh convinced me of the necessity of both bombings. Truman saved many lives, not only American but Japanese by ordering the use of atomic weapons.
COMPLIMENT FOR HNN
A nice idea, carried out well.
I vote"not guilty" -- but then I would have voted"not guilty" even before I read the case. I am quite familiar with the military and political history of World War Two and am aware too of the Left's continuing assault on the reputation and credibility of the United States.
While history is and always should be a subject for discussion and debate, the Left's ongoing effort to paint the U. S. as the Great White Father of Oppression is repugnant and offensive.
Given Leftist domination of public education, it is no wonder a growing number of our younger people eschew not only our elections but most other forms of rational sociopolitical involvement as well. Taught as they are -- that the U.S. is a"patriarchal autocracy" in which the Constitution was written merely to"empower white male slaveholders" and the ballot is therefore"meaningless" -- our youthful citizens could hardly be expected to behave in any other way.
But even in the context of Leftist hate-mongering, the Left's attack on our victory over the forces of Japanese and German tyranny in World War Two is particularly outrageous. ....
Why, pray tell, is opposing the use of the atomic bomb against Japan a leftwing position. As a card-carrying rightwing extremist, I have always opposed not only the dropping of the atomic bombs but the fire-bombing of Tokyo and the way Stimson and FDR manoeuvred us into the Pacific war. This is the view on the real right, as opposed to the Cold War liberal version of
Dr. Paul Gottfried
NOBILE'S MORE PERSUASIVE
As an historian judging the use of the atomic bombs, I am far more persuaded by Noble's case than by Radosh's. Truman had other options for ending the war against Japan, which were offered by Grew, Churchill,and other serious critics of the course that Truman chose. Am also not persuaded that the US had to invade the Japanese islands in order to end the war.
TRUMAN'S DECISION REPULSED ME
Hello. I Iive in the UK. I heard about the online trail that took place recently, Its hard to know what to say other then the outcome does not surprise me. For years many scholars have offered their opinion on the dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Japan. I would lie if I was to say that this act repulsed me when I heard about it when I was a child, how any nation could drop two huge bombs on Women and Children. I am 33 now and My view has never changed, no matter what Women and Children always seem to bare the brunt of Wars, Murdered in such a terrible way, on the orders of old Men. How people like yourselves can agree that the dropping of the Atomic bomb was in any way justified is beyond me, all that innocent life wasted, and The United States calls its self democratic, No wonder a quater of the world have waged war on your country. when your country finally realises its continued arrogance will it be too late. Final thought, funny how its always Men who try to condone War, and how they see the murder of 200,000 innocent people as justified, always Men, who do not understand the wonder of life, always Men who are quick enough to destroy it. Like it or not gentlemen, Mr Truman is in many people's eyes a War criminal, Ranked along side, Hitler and Stalin. No doubt people will be angry and bitter to hear me call their great past leader a war criminal, but hey most of them will be Men so I don't care, I do hope that one day your lady crashes down upon you in flames, then you may realise in your final moments, I think.
HE WAS INNOCENT
I believe Truman to be innocent. For those who found him guilty, they should have served in the SWP during WW2. If they had, they would have found Truman innocent. I served a tour of duty in the Pacific and I was expecting another tour before the war was over. We would have had a lot of lives lost if we
had continued WW2. I liked the idea of ending the war.
TRUMAN WAS A HERO
Truman Is a HERO!!!!!!!!!!!
The Japanese should be ashamed for trying to revise History.
What a bunch of revisionist blather! Of course, Truman is Not Guilty! Such muddle-headed thinking that would put forth this premise is symptomatic of the idiocy prevalent in today's academia. This is a total waste of time and energy. Please utilize such talents as are available to you to solve some of the world's many and much more serious problems.
SHORT AND SWEET
I am a student with an avid interest in 20th century American history, and I believe that President Truman was"not guilty" on the count of war crimes concerning the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents in August of 1945. Yes, the atomic bomb was the greatest tool of destruction ever created and used in wartime by the hands of man. However, Mr. Truman's argument that the use of this"most terrible thing ever created" would shorten the"agony of war" would hold out over any other plaintiff's arguments.
Now, if you want questionable political policies, try the later days of Truman's administration. The firing of General Douglas MacAurthur was acceptable, due to his violation of the no criticism of presidential foreign policy. But this hindered his popularity with America.
Then, Senator McCarthy's allegations of Communists workers within the Truman administration hurt him even more, despite the fact that no workers accused were ever punished, much less interrogated, save for Alger Hiss. Speaking of Anti-Communist pundits openly against Truman' administration were future presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. All these allegations took a huge bite out of Truman's popularity.
I'm sure some history buffs know about the bill Truman signed to give him authority to set up concentration camps if the need was necessary. As if we hadn't learned enough about the Nazi camps in Europe! If we were to accuse Truman of being a war criminal, check out some of his policies later in his administration, not his WWII decisions.
BILL CLINTON'S ROLE
Years ago I had a history professor, Dr. William Tinsley, @ Northern Arizona University that taught us that the victor in any war fought wrote the history. Therefore, my vote on Harry S. Truman is NOT GUILTY!
A more interesting war crimes trial would be on William J. Clinton. Interfering in a Civil War! Sending US troops into Bosnia. Bombing Serbia. Guided missiles into the Sudan pharmaceutical building and random missiles into Afghanistan to divert the American publics attention for his problems
RIGHT TO BOMB
Truman was right to drop the bomb. What some people, especially on the left, forget is the President of the United States is elected to serve this country. His decisions are to be based on what is the best for America, not it's enemies. He had to decide whose lives were more important, American or Japanese.
When the American forces occupied Japan they found weapons of all sorts and aircraft stockpiled. All to be used to fight our forces to the death.
Also, and this is what bothers the left the most, by dropping the bombs Truman prevented Russia from having a larger role in Japan afterwards. The Russians would have demanded that they be allowed to control a larger part of Japan than just the islands they seized.
GROW UP NOBILE!
President Truman did what he had to do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is trying to make a name for themselves. PHILIP NOBILE GET A LIFE! This isn't even worth discussing.
Grow up Mr. Nobile, and the rest of you revisionist lunatics.
FIRST OF ALL ...
First of all you had to be living in USA at time of war to understand all the things that happned.
There was debate about bomb after the facts were known, that
men, women and children were going to use any type weapon they
could to fight to the death to the last man to protect Japan.
Also, do article based on"Rape of Nanking" the book...if you want try someone. That would be worth seeing.
We did the right thing at that time if you were not there then
rewriting history for the uninformed is easy todo.
TRUMAN WAS A WAR CRIMINAL
I consider, that President Harry S Truman was a military criminal under Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter. But I believe, that not only Truman was guilty.
Basile A. Barisoff. 33 years old, Chief PR-manager
The grandson of the WW2 soldier
As one who lived through World War II, I vote President Truman NOT
It is easy for those who came later to look back and judge. They did not live through the Pearl Harbor attack, or remember the frightening and dark spectre of Naziism casting its shadow over our planet. Do they remember who started the war? The horrors of genocide?
If the AXIS had the bomb before we did, do you believe they would NOT have used it?
Would that we had someone with Harry Truman's intelligent gumption in office today. I would rest easier.
Our national character took a serious slump with the Vietnam War. If historians are anxious to find American war criminals....they ought begin with the Vietnam War. That would keep them busy for quite some time.
Nobile's arguments are absurd. Only someone with a deliberate intent to distort history for ideological grounds could make his arguments with a straight face, and only those who prefer that same ideology to rational analysis could possibly accept them.
Why is it that people who enjoy the benefits of living in a democracy have
such a grand time dissing it?
The idea that you can apply the attitude of today's mentality to the events
of our recent and far past is
an exercise in futility.
When will the historical editors realize how degrading and insulting this
practice is to those men who actually participated in the events?
Not only would I vote"not guilty," I would have the prosecution pay all the court costs for the defense. Had Truman not ended the war with the Atomic Bomb, millions of Japanese civilians would have been sacrificed by their own government in trying to repel the American attack. The Japanese government was manufacturing single shot muskets for issue to civilians. Other civilians were receiving training in fighting with bamboo sticks with knives on the end. An American invasion of the home islands would have resulted in a bloodbath of epic proportions. Most of the blood would have been that of civilian men, women and children. Truman's decision to use the Atomic Bomb saved not only a million American casualties but also tens of million Japanese casualties.
San Antonio TX
Had Truman NOT authorized use of the bomb, he'd surely have been impeached and tried for the wanton sacrifice of American lives.
SPURN TRUMAN CRITICS
The prosecutions case is not worth the pixels needed to display the text. Those who try to discredit former leaders, for their own self interests, should be spurned and not be given a forum through which their behavior is enabled. In todays politically correct atmosphere, the more egregious the offense (the japanese conduct during the war) the more the sympathy for the perpetrator and the attacks start on the innocent. Mr. Nobile must have taken intensive instruction from the Clinton team.
Mr. Truman is not and never was guilty of atrocities.
I did not bother to read any of the trial. I am 45 years old and think this kind of thing is ridiculous. Recreation of the facts for today's society, without understanding the circumstances of the times creates an artificial environment in which to react. I know of no soldier or person who lived in those times who questioned the decision. They all wanted the war to end. Many hated the fact that so many Japanese had to die, but knew that it was the fastest way to get the war over with.
The interesting thing about the Japanese versus the Germans is that despite all the press about the concentration camps in GErmany, we learned very little about how the Japanese tortured their captives.
So, feel free to tout the results of your little trial, but count me out as an interested participant. I think this is at best, a semi-interesting expercise that bears no particular importance to the realities that existed in 1945 or the history. I prefer to read about the realities of the people who marched in the Bataan Death March and survived, only to learn they could receive no repaprations. I prefer to listen to the guys who actually fought in the South Pacific and understood how evil their enemy was. I only hope that their sacrifice and loss will not be minimized by these silly mock trials more that 50 years later to satisfy the feelings of those who want to feel better by chastizing our leaders at the time.
MISTRIAL CALLED FOR
I agree that Truman was innocent, but in the case of this trial, I'd have to call for a mistrial based on the incompetence of the
prosecution. Nobile simply did not have sufficient knowledge of the events to present a credible case. Either that or he knew the facts, but chose to ignore them.
Guilty of crimes of mass destruction. Motive: Master Mason Harry S. Truman intended to slaughter Japanese Catholics partly because he considered the Asian race to be"subhuman" & partly to avenge theKnights Templar, the proto-Masons who were massacred by orders from the Catholic hierarchy during the Middle Ages. I have neither a leftist nor a pro-Catholic axe to grind in reaching this conclusion. Neither am I Asian nor an apologist for the war crimes of the Japanese Empire.
Truman is not guilty.
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tyler matthew Tice - 3/5/2008
Nessesity was the bomb. The bomb in Joe and my eyes was that it not only wrote the wrong for all the lives lost at Pearl Harbor but it saved so many other lives aswell. Yea sure we bomb the hell out of the japs but we had to in order to save all those lives. Also Nobile failed to back himself up with any convrete evidence. When it came time to put Truman on the trial there was nothing to argue that the way the lives were lost and the hardships that were felt had been done in not the best way possible but the Turman way.....All in all Truman did the right thing just try to immagine how our nation would be if he hadnt dropped the bomb. thats right you cant because the next thing you know we might have gotten bombed like they did. And America would not be what is is today if WE didnt drop that big, fat bomb or two that ended the war.
jojo mcmonkey - 9/18/2003
hes innocent. if you think other wise you need to eat raw goat meat. im right and your wrong. goodbye. p.s. you all smell like goats.
Holly - 8/28/2003
Where and what (how many) was teh largest surender of American forces in history?
sniffin snoop - 7/24/2003
Terror bombing had gone on for some time previous to the nuclear attacks. All of them were war crimes - from Hitler's rocket attacks on London, to Dresden, Hamburg (!), Stuttgart, Cologne, all of them. We have ruptured our own spirit by condoning any of this, and we are in our own living hell because we cannot escape what we are responsible for. Only when those involved in it are dead will we be able to see this. I was only 2 years old when it happened, and yet it is smeared all over me. It took me decades to realize this, and it will take more than the rest of my life to live down this utterly inexcusable act by my people.
A. Fox - 9/5/2002
I can't believe we have idiots even considering the judgement of Harry Truman. If only we were lucky enough to have another president that is that genuine and uncorrupt. What I can't believe is the presidents (Democrats) we elect today. America's support for Bill Clinton rose after we found out about his sex scandle. What a frigg'n role model. Yes he is just a human being, but the idiot took an oath to be our president. That in itself used to be a role model. Back to the subject. I'm sure the Japenese military officers were real concerned about Americans when they cowardly attacked us at Pearl Harbor. I IMAGINE THIS IS HOW THEIR CONVERSATION WENT!! "Commander Cho I hope those sailors get out of that sinking ship (Arizona), maybe we should go back and help the Americans." Thank God we had a president with the balls to make a decision back then. The people that call Harry Truman guilty weren't living at the time. He was doing his job in protecting America. It's idoits like NOBILE that will be the fall of America. We're to politically correct. I think Nobile should be kicked out of the country. I'm sure he would have handled the situation much better. I wish I had the job of removing idiots like Nobile from America. That's one job I would look forward to each day.
Michael Dalton - 5/1/2002
In arguing America's use of the atomic bomb, one must differentiate between the historical and philosophical. To focus only on the precise circumstances of the bombing is an inherent acceptance of the validity of such a weapon. Those that take this track must accept modern warfare as a legitimate way to solve humanity's problems. As one commentator put it, war is after all, "politics by other means." This same commentator then goes on to justify the killing of children by saying they are "semi-legitimate" targets because of their proximity to a parent who may be a factory worker. As one can see, this line of reasoning can be extended indefinitely. Hitler had the right to send jews in occupied territory to slave labor in factories in order to prosecute the war more effectively. He also had the right to exterminate civilian populations in order to reduce the number of soldiers pinned down by occupation duties thus freeing them for combat. There have always been, and always will be, atrocities in war. It is not a 20th century phenomenon. The difference is, mechanized warfare and technology have given rise to atrocities on an unprecedented scale. Should we create rules of warfare that would allow us to bring killing to an acceptable level, thus legitimizing war? I cannot answer that question. What I can say is, the historical record is clear. War breeds war. It has never offered long term solutions to problems because it creates as many as it solves. World War I and the Treaty of Versailles is the best example of this. Another, more recent one, is the eruption of ethnic conflict around the globe. The violence in Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Israel can be explained in part, as retribution for past abuses (the Ustache atrocities, etc.). The question of dropping the bomb then, becomes a question of the legitimacy of war itself. A typical response to questioning the bomb is to point out Japanese atrocities in Nanjing, or the fire bombing of Dresden. What this does is proves my point - war can no longer be considered a legitimate method of solving disputes. It has ceased to be "politics by other means."
Garry Stannus - 2/28/2002
I looked up this site because I was troubled by a question that a friend of mine, Jumakhan, was asking me. He is from Ghazni province in Afghanistan and reached Australia as an 'illegal' refugee by boat from Indonesia. My government has allowed him a three year temporary protection visa and he is now sharing a house in the town where I live, in Tasmania. He has twice referred to the bombing of Hiroshima as if he feels that this reflects on the character of the American nation. I have not answered him because I have had different views about the A bomb at different times in my life. I have read all the submissions on this site and mostly feel that they all have some validity. Because of this I am still looking for an answer. A big question would seem to be: How are we to regard the population of a nation state that has declared war on us? I try to imagine a situation where my country Australia attacks another country, in a terrible, ruthless way. That country would be, in my view, entitled to defend itself against this hypothetical agression. But imagine further, that I am against the wrongs that my country is doing, and that here and there in Australia, there are others who wish well upon other people on this earth and on those who do not seek to harm others. How am I to judge the other country which my own country has attacked? What if they were to bomb my town as a means to counter my country's attack? If they didn't care about the fact that they might kill me (an innocent person), I might think that they would be in the wrong, as far as causing my death goes. If they hope that innocent people like me will survive, but that my town needs to be attacked in order to for them to survive my country's aggression, perhaps I cannot blame them. As I write this, I have in mind the aerial bombing of German targets during the invasion of France in WW2. I'm sure that there was the wish/hope that somehow the bombs would hit the enemy yet miss the French. I do not hold the Allies guilty of war crimes against the French civilian population, even though I'm sure that there must have been many tragic deaths during that time. So perhaps the question of guilt should have something to do with the intention of the act. Did Truman care about innocent Japanese lives? Was his decision to drop the A bomb simply one about ending the military conflict? Or was it an opening gambit in what was to become the post war 'cold war' against Russia? I didn't know the man and I find the task of drawing conclusions about history to be very difficult. Who is wise enough to be able to tell when a person's public explanations/speeches coincide with the reality of their innermost thoughts? I am glad that the war ended when it did. I am sorry that so many people who only wanted to live their lives in peace, did die. Dostoyevsky, in "The Brothers Karamazoff", puts the view that the Creator is less than morally perfect for allowing a world in which little children can be the victims of cruelty and suffering. Tolstoy, in "War and Peace", shows history as the result of the collective actions of individuals. An answer? It is hard to truthfully judge what is in another person's heart, we should first try and judge ourselves and look at our own motives even as we seek to pass judgement. There are of course many more things to question: Could they not have dropped a 'demonstration' bomb? Is the 'Home Front' a legitimate target? Was Japan already seeking to surrender? Was Hiroshima a military target? How does conventional bombing differ from the 'coup de grace' of the A bomb? I guess I would be the undecided juror. But how do I answer Jumkhan?
James R McDonald - 8/23/2001
You are correct. I contacted Col. Tibbets and he told me that no Aircrew members from either flight took their own lives. The information I had was a story related to me when I was stationed in Okinawa.
James R. McDonald
Philip Nobile - 8/7/2001
No member of the squadrons that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki committed suicide as far as I know. You are the victim of a World War II legend unless you have information that I don't have.
James R McDonald - 8/6/2001
If some kind student of history would please help me, I would be in your debt. I recall reading a story once about how during the last days of the Third Reich, 2,000 Lbs. of nuclear material was sent via U-boat to Japan to continue their atomic weapons program. The boat never made port. This was to compliment some advanced aircraft designs, one of which was a four engine long-range bomber; it was called The New York.
Yes Mr. Nobile, What President Truman did was too horrible for words. To this day, genetic damage still appears in Japan. Several aircrew members involved in the bombings took their own lives in later years, overcome by a sense of guilt. Additionally, President Truman launched the atomic standoff, which has spent untold fortunes that could have been used for purposes that are more humane. What possible justification can there be?
Peace. He ended the war. He stopped Soviet and Chinese aggression. To this day, people in Korea, China and the rest of Asia that lived under Japanese occupation consider it divine justice. Thank God for men with the courage to act.