Letter From Truman


For six decades, until his death at 91 in 2003, Irv Kupcinet, universally known as Kup, was a Chicago institution with his daily column in the Chicago Sun-Times.  This letter from Harry Truman to him in 1963 underscores that Truman never doubted what he had done in regard to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  A friend of mine, Oliver K. Zivney, who passed away on July 30, 2015 at age 89, a retired Methodist minister who had served as a Navy corpsman with the Marines in World War II, and who had been among the first Americans sent to aid the Japanese at Nagasaki after the surrender, met Truman on one occasion at the Truman library.  He asked him if he ever lost any sleep over his decision.  He said no, although he slept uneasily the night before Hiroshima because he realized the storm the bombing would raise.

When Robert Oppenheimer met Truman he told Truman that he, Oppenheimer had blood on his hands.  Truman took out his handkerchief and told him to wipe off the blood, that the responsibility had been totally Truman’s.  For Harry Truman the phrase, “The Buck stops here.” was not merely a catchy phrase on a plaque on his desk.

Published in: on August 19, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. ON more than one occasion the USA have been undeservedly lucky in the leaders they found themselves stuck with (one obscure instance – Chester Arthur). Truman certainly was one such stroke of luck.

    • I shudder to think of Henry Wallace in the White House. On the other hand, Cactus Jack Nance might not have been so bad.

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