I don’t know if this one represents BBC bias or simply shows how little I know. Perhaps better-informed readers can tell me.
Here’s the item: the answer to question 3 of this BBC quiz on the US presidency says:
“President Truman had an 85% approval rating at the beginning of 1945, but that sank to a little over 30% after he ordered two atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan.”
I was very surprised at this. My impression was that the news of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing the surrender of Japan within days, was greeted in the US (as it was in the UK) with awe and a certain amount of heartsearching, but that the overwhelming reaction was relief; relief that the war was so suddenly over without the need for a massive attack on a fanatically-defended Japan. In support of Truman’s decision, Churchill said:
“To avoid a vast, indefinite butchery, to bring the war to an end, to give peace to the world, to lay healing hands upon its tortured peoples by a manifestation of overwhelming power at the cost of a few explosions, seemed, after all our toils and perils, a miracle of deliverance.”
While I am certainly aware that there were a few on the Allied side who opposed the Bomb in 1945, in general my impression was that Churchill’s reaction was atypical only in its eloquence. I wondered if the BBC’s explanation of Truman’s unpopularity was not an attempt (possibly unconscious) to impose modern BBC disapproval of the atom bomb onto the Americans of a previous generation.
UPDATE: Good heavens! Whoever reads this site for the Beeb, congratulations on your fast response. I had just pressed “publish” and clicked the link to check it worked – and found the reference to the atomic bomb had gone. It now reads:
President Truman had an 85% approval rating at the beginning of 1945, but that sank to a little over 30% in the wake of the Korean War and domestic problems.
Thing is, now I know I was right and it wasn’t true that the the reason for Truman being unpopular was the Bomb. The question remains how this error came to be made in the first place. Know what I think? I think it was BBC bias.