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.
The U.S. government's response to the Holocaust was slow and fueled by complex social and political factors.
A brilliant scientist, Oppenheimer was tasked with the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.
After the Soviet blockade of West Berlin, British and American pilots delivered tons of food and fuel to the German city by airplane for nearly a year.
Malcolm X, a man who both terrified and inspired, expressed the anger and struggle of black people for freedom in the 1960s.
The story of Liliu'okalani, the last queen and ruler of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii.
A look at JFK's assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald and the subsequent investigations that lead to a widespread loss of trust in government institutions.
From the Revolutionary War to Operation Desert Storm - newly discovered letters read by celebrity actors tell of courage, longing, and sacrifice.
The influential musical pioneers from Appalachia whose recordings lifted spirits during the Great Depression.