Huffington Post Discusses Truman Revision of Hiroshima Movie

Checkout this Huffington Post column on the 1947 film Beginning or the End and how President Harry Truman personally had the script re-written to make the bombing of Hiroshima (Nagasaki wasn’t included in the film) look better. Here’s a telling excerpt:

“After protests from the White House, the MGM screenwriter James K. McGuinness deleted the offending scene and wrote a new one. In the revised scene, Truman revealed that the United States would drop leaflets warning the populace of ‘what is coming’ as a means to ‘save lives.’ (this did not happen). He said there was a “consensus” that dropping the bomb would shorten the war by a approximately a year (there was no such thing) and he predicted that a ‘year less of war will mean life for… from 300,000 to half a million of America’s finest youth’ (a highly inflated figure).

And he advised that the targets had been picked for their prime military value, rather than the truth: They were selected because they had not been bombed previously and so would demonstrate the pure power of this new weapon. In any case, the aiming points for release of the bombs would be the center of the cities, not over any military bases. The new scene had Truman claiming he had spent ‘sleepless nights’ making the decision. But in real life he proudly insisted he had never lost any sleep over it.”

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