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Picture of Henry A. Wallace’s Criticism of America’s Atomic Monopoly, 1945-1948

Henry A. Wallace’s Criticism of America’s Atomic Monopoly, 1945-1948

Author(s): Mayako Shimamoto

Book Description

Secretary of Commerce Henry A. Wallace was an earnest supporter of the Stimson Proposal, a disarmament proposal submitted to the Truman administration by then Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson immediately after World War II. This proposal suggested direct dialogue with the Soviets over control of the newly-released atomic energy used against Japan in August 1945.

Wallace, who had nurtured a deep scientific knowledge in his early life, was trusted in his Vice Presidency (1941–1945) for his scientific skills by not only President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but also scientific administrator Vannevar Bush. Because of this, Wallace’s postwar vision was similar to Stimson’s Proposal and the views of atomic scientists, who believed that basic scientific knowledge could not be contained because science had no national boundaries.

Why was Wallace so thoroughly neglected by incumbent President Harry S. Truman and his fellow policy-makers? Wallace’s idea, basically encouraging a joint partnership with the Soviets, failed to find favor with Truman, his aides, and the American public. Their belief was that the US’s secret of atomic bomb was a national asset.

This book illustrates that Wallace’s idea of international atomic controls with Soviet partnership – a position embraced by atomic scientists – could prevent a postwar nuclear proliferation. The failure of Wallace’s concept of postwar world order, a product of rejection by President Truman, has revealed an ideological conflict between democracy and nuclear weaponry. Amazingly, Wallace daringly made this historic attempt and kept to his vision, a commitment which led to his alienation and eventual ousting from Truman’s cabinet.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9951-2
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9951-8
Date of Publication: 01/11/2016
Pages / Size: 225 / A5
Price: £52.99


Mayako Shimamoto is a Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University, Japan. After receiving a PhD in American History from Osaka University in 2012, a summary of her dissertation was published in Journal of American Studies from American Studies Association of Korea in 2013. Her current research focus is Japan’s nuclear policy in the context of US-Japan relations. She also co-authored Historical Dictionary Japanese Foreign Policy (2015).