From 1964—“The Decision to Drop the Bomb”

In 1964, NBC Television aired an hour long “NBC White Paper” narrated by Chet Huntley, “The Decision to Drop the Bomb”. This was a remarkable investigation of the decision making process, including commentary from many people involved at the time, including General Leslie Groves. Unfortunately, the second half of the program appears to have been lost, or at least no source has made it available, but the first half is interesting on its own.

I recall watching this when it originally aired and discussing it for several days afterward.


Everyone gets all in a tizzy over dropping “the bomb”. I tend to view it as just a large localized bombardment. The ”horror” of LeMay’s firebombing of Tokyo is at least on par, if not surpassing, the bomb. There people boiled to death in some of the lessor canals.

I am not particularly squeamish about how the Japanese died. They had earned everything and more, of what they got. Just the Rape of Nanking would be sufficient reason to treat them as barbarians. The Marines learned early that treating the Japanese with “kindness” was a mistake that they quickly corrected. The combat in the Pacific Theatre was radically different than in the ETO. “The bomb” was just an extension of what had been going on in the PTO from the beginning.