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Thinking the Unthinkable: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


with Al Zelver

author, army intelligence officer, World War II

Zelver’s talk recalls the events and decisions leading to the first use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II. Zelver served in army intelligence in World War II in the China-Burma-India Theater and the Occupation of Japan. When the war ended he was flown from China to Japan where he was witness to the devastation of Hiroshima. With his Military Occupational Specialty "Japanese Language Officer," he was able to speak with survivors and hear their stories. His talk is based on his experiences, books and articles about Hiroshima and nuclear weapons, and the military archives of declassified documents in the file "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb" at the Truman Presidential Library.