You Be the Historian - Dropping the Atomic Bomb

A major part of an historian’s work is interpreting information, creating a thesis about that information, and defending that thesis.  Today, you are the historian and have some detective work to do. As such, you will be creating, interpreting, and defending a thesis about the decision of President Harry Truman to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II.  There are five parts to the assignment and it is worth __ points.

Step 1:  Selecting your thesis.  You have two choices about two opinions:

  1. President Truman made a wise and humane decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima
  2. President Truman made a tragic and indefensible decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima . 

Once you have selected your opinion, write one paragraph explaining your choice.

This part is due on ____________________________ and is worth _______ points.

Step 2: Using a primary source to defend your thesis.

  1. Find a primary source document that you feel is THE MOST IMPORTANT in defending your thesis.
  2. Write no more than one paragraph explaining why you chose this source as your key primary document.  You must include quotes in the document that persuaded you to adopt your thesis and a bibliographic reference for your document.

This part is due on ____________________________ and is worth _______ points.

Step 3: Using a secondary sourcs to support your thesis.

  1. Find a secondary source – a book or an article – that supports your thesis.
  2. Write no more than one paragraph explaining how and why the book/article  further support your thesis. You must include specific quotes and images from the book/article that persuaded you to continue supporting your thesis, and a bibliographic reference for your book/article.

This part is due on ____________________________ and is worth _______ points.

Step 4:  (Optional - for extra credit) Using other primary and secondary sources to test your thesis.  

  1. Find at least one additional primary source that supports or refute your thesis.
  2. Find another secondary source that supports or refutes your thesis.
  3. Write no more than one page explaining how and why these primary and secondary documents support or refute your thesis. You must include the following:  specific quotes from the documents and book that support or refute your thesis; how and why these documents either reinforced your own thesis or encouraged you to reconsider your thesis; and a bibliographic reference for each of your primary documents and the selected book or article.

This part is due on ____________________________ and is worth _______ points.

Step 5:  Reflecting upon your work as an Historian.

  1. Write no more than a one-page essay in which you reflect upon the thesis you selected.  This paper must include the following: a discussion of any doubts that arose in the course of your research about your thesis choice; an explanation of why you continued to support your thesis – or if you changed your mind, what resources were most influential in changing your mind; and a statement describing the 2-3 most important points that you found in all of your resources to either support or reject your thesis.

Be prepared to share your interpretation of your thesis with your classmates on _____________________.

This part is due on ____________________________ and is worth _______ points.