Decision to Drop the Atomic Bombs Harry Truman Library: Atomic Bombs Link: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collectionsibombilarge/ (Links to an external site.) Directions: Choose one document that can be used against the decision to use the atomic bombs and one document in favor of the dropping of the atomic bombs. Then, defend your position as either in favor or against the use of the atomic bombs. The key to this assignment, however, is to be non-emotional and remain objective. This is critical and cannot be emphasized enough. Avoid emotional language and let hindsight be your friend rather than your adversary. Do not fall into the trap of presentism, which is, applying the standards of the present day to the events of the past. That is a classic mistake that students, and even some historians, make and being aware of such tendencies will help you avoid them. The textbook can be used for contextual information and background–nothing more. These documents are considered primary sources. What is a primary source? A document (or other artifact) contemporary to the time period or event under consideration. So, for example, our textbook. though it covers the dropping of the atomic bombs is not a primary source, but a secondary source. A few things to keep in mind when working with primary sources: Sourcing: considering the document’s source and purpose. Can we take the source at face value or was there a motive behind its writing? Consider whether there is an apparent bias present. Contextualization: placing the document in a temporal and spatial context. The historical time period itself should be considered–the textbook will be useful for this.