5-189 Notes for the Secretary of War’s Press Conference, August 9, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 9, 1945

Subject: World War II

Notes for the Secretary of War’s Press Conference1


August 9, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

The War Department will of course appraise the military situation and the size of the Army in the light of the successful use of the bomb and the new declaration of war.2 The possibilities of the bomb have been under consideration for more than a year and the probability of Russia’s entry into the war has also been involved in our planning for a considerable period of time. In other words the possibilities of the successful use of the atomic bomb and Russian entry into the war have been given full weight in determining our operational requirements in the Pacific.3

We shall also give heed to any additional factors which may develop from day to day but we shall not do our duty if we plan for the reduction of the Army by even one man below the number which we believe will be needed for the complete defeat of Japan with the least possible loss of American lives.4

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed notes.

1. Marshall was not aware when he wrote this that the press conference would not occur. Secretary Stimson noted in his diary: “When I reached the office this morning I found that the affirmative news for the press conference was so light that Surles thought we had better call the conference off and simply have me make a direct statement on the effect of the success of the atomic bomb on the future size of the Army.” (August 9, 1945, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 52: 64].)

2. Stimson noted in his diary that the news of the Russians’ entry into the war with Japan had reached Washington, D.C., the previous day. (Ibid., p. 67.)

3. The secretary of the General Staff noted that Secretary Stimson “does not concur” with the content of this sentence. (Colonel Frank McCarthy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, August 9, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, SGS, Memos to Chief of Staff].)

4. “We had news this morning of another successful atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki,” Stimson commented in his diary. “These two heavy blows have fallen in quick succession upon the Japanese and there will be quite a little space before we intend to drop another. During that time I hope something may be done in negotiating a surrender. I have done the best I could to promote that in my talks with the President and with [Secretary of State] Byrnes and I think they are both in full sympathy with the aim.” (August 9, 1945, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 52: 67].)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), p. 262.

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