We've highlighted the parts of the document which appear in the transcription below.
You will all have seen the important statements which have been made by President Truman about the atomic bomb which has been dropped on Japan by the United States Air Force. You will want to hear some account of the part which this country has played in this remarkable scientific advance. Before the change of government, Mr. Churchill had prepared the following statement.
It is now for Japan to realize in the glare of the first atomic bomb which has hit her, what the consequences will be of refusing to surrender. The revelation of these secrets of nature should arouse the most solemn reflections in the mind and conscience of every human being. We must indeed pray that this awe-striking technology will be made to accomplish peace among the nations, and that instead of wreaking havoc upon the entire globe, it may lead to world prosperity.
You will all have seen the important statements which have been made by President Truman and by Mr. Stimson, the United States Secretary for War, about the atomic bomb. The problems of the release of energy by atomic fission have been solved and an atomic bomb has been dropped on Japan by the United States Air Force.
President Truman and Mr. Stimson have described in their statements the nature and vast implications of this new discovery. You will, however, expect to hear some account of the part which this country has played in the remarkable scientific advances which have now come to fruition. Before the change of Government Mr. Churchill had prepared the statement which follows and I am now issuing it in the form in which he wrote it.
It is now for Japan to realize in the glare of the first atomic bomb which has smitten her, what the consequences will be of an indefinite continuance of this terrible means of maintaining a rule of law in the world.
This revelation of the secrets of nature, long mercifully withheld from man, should arouse the most solemn reflections in the mind and conscience of every human being capable of comprehension. We must indeed pray that these awe-striking agencies will be made to conduce to peace among the nations, and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, they may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.
The beginning of this document is an extract from a statement issued by the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee following the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. What then follows is a statement which had been written by Winston Churchill prior to the change in government (and therefore prior to the dropping of the bombs).
There are two important points about this source. Firstly, although Nazi Germany had been defeated in May 1945, the war against her ally, Japan, continued. On 6 and 9 August 1945, the USA (with British support) dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Japan surrendered on 14 August. Secondly, the Labour Party in Britain had just won a General Election in July 1945, leading to a change in government. So although it was Clement Attlee who was Prime Minister in August 1945, it was Winston Churchill (his predecessor as Prime Minister) who had been privy to discussions with the USA about the dropping of the bombs on Japan.
It had been a shock to many people, including Churchill himself, when Churchill was not re-elected as Prime Minister in 1945. Attlee, the new Prime Minister, had served Churchill as Deputy Prime Minister in the wartime coalition government. Although he was not in power, Churchill retained a worldwide reputation as an international statesman.
Remember we are hoping that this source can be useful to us in investigating whether nuclear weapons made the world a safer place between 1945 and 1951. Sources usually help historians in two ways:
Which of the inferences below can be made from this source?
|On a scale of 1-5 how far do you agree that this source supports this inference?||Which extract(s) from the source support your argument?|
|The British government supports the development of nuclear weapons|| || |
|Churchill believes it is right to drop atomic bombs on Japan|| || |
|Churchill argues nuclear weapons could prevent further conflict|| || |
|Churchill has no moral concerns about the development or use of nuclear weapons|| || |
|By publishing Churchill’s statement, Attlee was showing Churchill respect|| || |
|By publishing Churchill’s statement, Attlee was sending the message that nuclear weapons were a very important issue and more important than party politics.|| || |
|This source shows us that nuclear weapons helped to make the world safer|| || |
➜ Source 2