Trump’s North Korea remarks had echo of Truman’s post-Hiroshima speech

Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States.
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. Getty Images/Getty

President Trump’s dire threat Tuesday of massive destruction to North Korea contained an eerie echo of a statement that President Truman made after the World War II bombing of Hiroshima.

With tensions rising with North Korea, Trump on Tuesday warned the hermit kingdom that it risked “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it did not stop threatening the United States.

Truman, the only president to ever order a nuclear attack, announced in his statement on Aug. 6, 1945, that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, inflicting unparalleled destruction, and called on the Japanese to surrender.


“If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware,” Truman said, according to the statement, which was posted by the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Hiroshima bomb killed 70,000 people outright or shortly afterwards, and deaths and illnesses from radiation would continue for decades, according to britannica.com

The Japanese did not surrender until after a second, more powerful, bomb was dropped at Nagasaki a few days later.

At a ceremony Wednesday marking the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, the mayor said the fear of another nuclear attack is growing.

“The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense,” Mayor Tomihisa Taue said at Nagasaki’s Peace Park, the Los Angeles Times reported. “A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again.”


Despite the uproar caused by his threat to North Korea, Trump continued Wednesday to boast about the US nuclear arsenal, tweeting that the country’s capability was “now far stronger and more powerful than ever before. ... Hopefully, we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”