Teachers

Bright Ideas
from the National Archives for NHD 1999

Resources at the
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library


The Atomic Bomb

A Student Research File entitled The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan is available at the Harry S. Truman Library. It is a collection of selected documents concerning the testing of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, and President Truman's decision to use the bomb against Japan in August, 1945. The documents include an eyewitness description of the first test, as well as letters and diary entries in which the President discusses use of the bomb. About 660 pages. Digital copies of the contents of this file are available at the following web site: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/. A published version of this file is also available in book form: Documentary History of the Truman Presidency: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan (University Publications of America, 1996).

Atomic Energy

A Student Research File entitled The Quest for the Peaceful Atom: The Baruch Plan and the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 is available at the Harry S. Truman Library. It is a collection of selected documents, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, and speeches, concerning the Baruch Plan for the international control of atomic energy, the creation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and attempts to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy after the war. About 670 pages.

Atomic Weapons

A Student Research File entitled The Development of an Atomic Weapons Program Following World War II is available at the Harry S. Truman Library. It is a collection of selected documents concerning the series of atomic tests that led to the development of the hydrogen bomb in 1952. About 840 pages. A published version of this file will also be available in book form: Documentary History of the Truman Presidency: The Development of an Atomic Weapons Program Following World War II (University Publications of America, 1998).

Automobiles

The Victor Messall Papers are available at the Harry S. Truman Library. The collection includes correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning Preston Tucker, the maverick automobile manufacturer whose story is related in the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. About 13 pages. Also about 30 pages in the White House Central Files (General File and OF 102-A).

Aviation

Harry S. Truman Papers: Official File--OF 357-P, available at the Harry S. Truman Library, contains material relating to the presentation of the 1947 Collier Award for outstanding achievements in aviation to John Stack, Lawrence Bell, and Captain Charles E. Yeager of the U.S. Air Force. On October 14, 1947, Captain Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier while flying the experimental Bell X-1 aircraft. This first supersonic flight is depicted in the film The Right Stuff. President Truman personally presented the Collier Award to Stack, Bell, and Yeager at the White House in December, 1948. About 5 pages. Related materials are available online in the Online Catalog (OPA).

Civil Defense

A Student Research File entitled Preparing to Survive Atomic Attack: The Truman Administration's Civil Defense Program is available at the Harry S. Truman Library. It is a collection of selected documents, including correspondence, publications, and reports, relating to the efforts of the Truman administration to encourage civil defense planning during a period of widespread concern about the potential use of atomic weapons against the United States. About 960 pages. Related materials are available online in the Online Catalog (OPA).

Computers

Harry S. Truman Papers: Naval Aide Files, available at the Harry S. Truman Library, include early developments in computer technology that are documented in a declassified report on "Large-Scale Computing Machines" in the Intelligence Review of May 8, 1947. About 6 pages.

Energy

A Student Research File entitled The Development of an Energy Policy During the Truman Administration is available at the Harry S. Truman Library. It is a collection of selected documents relating to energy issues during the Truman years, including the exploitation of atomic energy, fossil fuels, and hydroelectric power, as well as concerns about a future "energy crisis" that were reflected in the report of the President's Materials Policy Commission. About 1030 pages.

National Science Foundation

Harry S. Truman Papers: Official File--OF 192-E, available at the Harry S. Truman Library, contains material documenting the events that led to the establishment of the National Science Foundation, which was created under legislation signed by President Truman in 1950. About 600 pages in this file, with additional relevant material in other collections at the Truman Library.

Television

Harry S. Truman Papers: Official File--OF 136-B, available at the Harry S. Truman Library, includes documents relating to the development of the television industry and the Truman administration's use of this new communications medium. About 800 pages in this file, with additional relevant material in other collections at the Truman Library.


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