After watching the movie, read a short book: Atomic Cover-up, Greg Mitchell.
Here is one review:
ATOMIC COVER-UP: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made (Kindle Edition)
Mitchell has done America a service by documenting the history of the suppression and discovery of intimate color footage taken after the blasts, revealing the horror and consequences of our actions in a way this country has never fully come to grips with. It's impossible to have the "debate" over the utility of Truman's decision (assuming he was even involved in the second one, which may have been dropped automatically) without understanding the human dimension of the decision.
The sanitized narrative put forth by our leaders and their compliant press corps (resulting in the one b/w image familiar to us, and the 1947 Hollywood movie The Beginning or the End) is exploded by the real-time footage Mitchell writes about here, and the people who put it all together.
Let's get that footage out there and have a real debate.
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
In his latest book, which has gained national attention, award-winning author Greg Mitchell probes a turning point in U.S. history: the suppression of film footage, for decades, shot by a U.S. Army unit in Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- with staggering consequences even today. This is a detective story, and one of the last untold stories of World War II, and it has far-reaching impact. The shocking cover-up even extended to Hollywood -- with President Truman censoring an MGM film.
I read it -- couldn't put it down. We didn't need to drop the second bomb [Nagasaki] but since it was of a different make-up [plutomium] and scientists and military were curious to see what difference in the two might be present in the devastation, it was dropped. The decision on which city to drop it on was made by an idiotic means.
I read several more who-done-it mystery novels and am now reading: We Die Alone, David Howarth
I rarely bother with adventure stories, but Howarth's fine prose swept me into this tale and kept me at it. The last half of the book I took in one sitting. We hardly care about the protagonist, Jan Baalsrud, as a personality. He has remarkable courage and incredible physical stamina but little spiritual depth. In the hands of a lesser writer, his story could easily have degenerated into a limp survival yarn of the sort regularly published in Reader's Digest. But Howarth gives meaning to the story both through his fine description of the harsh natural world and by his sympathetic treatment of the dozens of volunteers who came to Baalsrud's rescue. Their attempt to rescue one soldier at the risk of their lives became a political as well as a humanitarian cause, virtually the only blow these Norwegians could strike against German invaders in the wastelands of northern Scandinavia.