August 1945, the United States destroyed Hiroshima in the world’s first nuclear strike. Afterward, President Harry S. Truman addressed the nation.
Truman stated: I realized the tragic significance of the atomic bomb. Our enemies were searching for it and we knew the disaster which would come if they found it first. We won the race of discovery and used it against those who attacked Pearl Harbor, executed American POWs, and abandoned international laws of warfare.
Truman’s decision has been debated for half a century because his national address wasn’t just an explanation for a single event; it shoved an unready world into the atomic age. This led to the counter-destruction philosophy of nuclear deterrence to deal with America’s nuclear capacity, and America reacted with guilt-driven paranoia that led to the preemptive policing of the world in the name of rationality.
The 2003 American invasion of Iraq is considered an example of this paranoid rationale to prevent an irrational actor from obtaining a nuclear arsenal, and since no weapons of mass destruction were found many have called the invasion of Iraq the biggest blunder of American foreign policy.