Press Release

Historic Record: Department of War Briefing on Hiroshima, Nagasaki after Atomic Bombing

in Program

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2016
Contact: Jim Baird [email protected]; (202) 478.3413

This original briefing on the development and use of the atomic bomb was given to Harvey Bundy from the head of the Manhattan Project, General Leslie Groves soon after WWII ended. While it is not known who received this exact briefing, this or very similar briefings were given to other high-raking officials, including Secretary of War Stimson, and Secretary of State Byrnes.

Photographic brief that was presented to Mr. Harvey H Bundy by
Major General Leslie R. Groves of the Manhattan Engineer District.

Back then, briefings were given on easels. The Stimson Center came into possession of this briefing from McGeorge Bundy, who was Harvey Bundy’s son. The Stimson Center’s relationship with McGeorge Bundy dates back to 1989, when Barry Blechman and Michael Krepon — the Co-founders of the Stimson Center — asked for his permission to use Stimson’s name for a new nongovernmental organization. The Stimsons were childless; Barry and Michael turned to McGeorge Bundy because he helped Stimson write his autobiography and because his father served as Stimson’s close confidante and top assistant in the State Department and later in the War Department. 

Image of a mushroom cloud beginning to form from the New Mexico test on July 16, 1945.

McGeorge Bundy granted his consent to name the Center after Stimson. He became a strong supporter of the Stimson Center’s work. Before he died in 1996, he gifted the Stimson Center with books from his library and some of his father’s memorabilia. Among the memorabilia was the briefing his father received about the atomic bomb. The Stimson Center had this extraordinary document conserved and have offered this briefing as a gift to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and the museum has accepted. The Stimson Center feels that it is important for the museum to have this contemporaneous record of the Truman administration’s view of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Center is awaiting details about the conveyance of our gift to Hiroshima.

The destruction caused by “Little Boy” on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

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