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.
Head of the most powerful family in America, billionaire John D. Rockefeller's vast philanthropy changed his family's reputation.
A writer's childhood and the development of her photography and writing about the American South.
After the stock market crashed in 1929, thousands suffered unemployment and poverty in the Great Depression.
A civil rights leader in Harlem before entering politics, Powell was one of the most charismatic black leaders of the 20th century.
The remarkable and tragic life of the third Kennedy son, Robert F. Kennedy.
Richard Nixon faced impeachment but also ended the Vietnam War. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The international race to develop biological weapons during the 20th century.
General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.