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Henry Stimson

Henry L. Stimson was born on September 21, 1867 in New York City. He served in the administrations of five US Presidents from 1911 to 1945. He was Secretary of War under President William Howard Taft. Stimson served as a special emissary to Nicaragua in 1927 and as Governer General of the Philippines from 1927 until 1929. Under President Herbert Hoover, Stimson was Secretary of State and was Secretary of War under Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

Stimson acted as chief adviser on atomic policy to President Roosevelt. Stimson tried to end the war sooner by recommending that the Allies offer terms of surrender allowing for Japan to keep its Emperor. He also recommended to President Truman that atom bombs be dropped on Japanese cities, although he was responsible for taking the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto off the target list. He later justified the bombings on humanitarian grounds, arguing that the use of the bombs accelerated Japan's surrender, thus saving more lives than they cost.

Stimson also prepared Truman's statement to the public regarding the dropping of the atomic bomb. In February 1947, Stimson authored the first written defense of the atomic bombings entitled "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb," which was published in Harper's Magazine.

During his last days in office as well as in the last few years of his life, Stimson focussed on controlling nuclear weapons. He died on October 20, 1950 in Huntington, New York.

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More on the Web
Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
Henry L. Stimson to FDR, September 26, 1944  
Excerpts from Henry Stimson's Diary and Papers 
On Active Service in Peace and War 
The Colonel : The Life and Wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950 

See Also
Henry Stimson Diary: December 31, 1944 to July 24, 1945