Clifton Truman Daniel is the son of President Harry Truman’s only child – fiction writer Mary Margaret, and Clifton Daniel, who worked as managing director for the New York Times. Clifton did not find out that his grandfather, who visited Daniel’s family on regular basis, had been the president of US until going to school.
“The bombs were a great thing. They ended the war. They saved hundreds o thousands of lives on both sides and that’s what my grandfather said was his reason for the decision. To shorten the war and save American lives that would likely be lost in an invasion of the main islands. I went from thinking about it in that way to not thinking about it, as I say, it was history,” he recalled.
The attitude changed one day as his son brought from school a book telling the story of Sadako Sasaki, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima at the age of two, only to fall to radiation-induced leukemia nine years later.
He admitted that controversy over Truman’s decision remains, as some people believe that the use of nuclear weapons was not necessary.
“The real question which we keep trying to answer but we can’t is did it in fact stop the war. Some people say no, Japan would have surrendered anyway; other people say they were not giving up, it stopped them cold,” Daniel said. “But we can’t know that because we did it and the war ended, so we don’t know how it would have gone.” added Clifton Truman Daniel.