When the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Truman understood the repercussions. "This places a terrible responsibility upon myself and upon the War Department," he said.
Narrator: 8:15 a.m. - The atomic bomb dropped clear of the Enola Gay. Forty-three seconds later, it exploded over Hiroshima.
Harry Truman was eating lunch when he was handed a decoded message, "Results clear-cut; successful in all respects." Truman reacted immediately: "This," he said, "is the greatest thing in history."
That afternoon, Truman issued a warning to the Japanese government.
Archival Film of Truman on Camera: "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a reign of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth."
Narrator: Two days later, Secretary of War Stimson showed the President aerial photographs of Hiroshima. Truman did not yet know that the atomic bomb had killed more than 80,000 men, women, and children and that tens of thousands more would die from radiation sickness in the days and years to come.
Alonzo Hamby, Biographer: You see these pictures of Hiroshima just leveled for almost as far as the eye can see. Clearly he's distressed by that.
Narrator: He told Stimson, "This places a terrible responsibility upon myself and upon War Department." Three days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, but still, there was no word of surrender.
August 9, 11:00 A.M. - a second atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese seaport of Nagasaki. In 1/10 of one-millionth of a second, the city was destroyed. Another 40,000 people were killed.
Narrator: Aug. 14 - The simple reason Truman always gave for using the atomic bomb was to end the war and save lives.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of America's least understood presidents. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
A brilliant scientist, Oppenheimer was tasked with the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.
The personal journey of three generations of a Japanese American family, including their stint in internment camps during World War II.
Franklin Roosevelt restored hope after the Great Depression and led the nation during World War II. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
"The Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
During the defining months of the offensive against Germany, American forces faced a moral and strategic dilemma.
Joseph Goebbels, the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, was the mastermind behind Adolf Hitler's success.
The boy behind the myth, who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan to the most feared man in the West and an enduring icon. Part of The Wild West collection.