Today marks the the 66th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. “Little Boy,” as it was nicknamed, killed 80,000 Japanese, and ushered in the nuclear era. President Harry Truman made that decision, and delivered his statement about the attack to the press the following morning. It was written by PR legend Arthur W. Page.
Page, who has an elite PR society and an institute named after him, was pressed in to government service four months earlier and was immediately briefed on the Manhattan Project. He was one of very few people who knew the power of atomic weapons well in advance of the Japan bombings. His statement uses short declarative sentences and carefully chosen adjectives to convey the unfathomable power of an atomic bomb, the U.S.’s absolute determination to defeat Japan at all costs, and the great responsibility the nation took on by developing such technology.
Note Truman’s statement was delivered 16 hours after the bombing. In today’s media environment, the President would have less than 16 minutes to deliver such news before being scooped.
It’s safe to say it was the most important writing assignment Page completed in his career.