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Handy to Spaatz, National Archives (July 25, 1945)
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The document below is the order to attack Japanese cities with atomic bombs.  In it, the Acting Army Chief of Staff, Thomas Handy, orders Commanding General Carl Spaatz, Army Strategic Air Forces, to "deliver [the] first special bomb as soon as weather will permit . . . after about 3 August 1945."  The target list: "Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, and Nagasaki."  Further attacks were also authorized: "additional bombs will be delivered on the above targets as soon as made ready."  Handy was the acting chief of staff because George Marshall was with President Harry S. Truman at the Potsdam Conference.  The letter explicitly notes that this order was approved by Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson.  Truman, of course, provided the ultimate authorization for dropping the bomb.

The document is available on the National Archives web site. To read a transcript of the letter click here.


Order to drop the atomic bomb, July 25, 1945.


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