WITH regard to the US atomic bombing of Japan we all know that hindsight is 20/20, or is it? Those who feel they would have made different choices than Harry Truman may not be aware of what constraints he had to work within: The 'Manhattan Project' took years to complete, due primarily to the long lead-time required in those days to enrich reactive materials. Enough reactive material was made for only three bombs: one for testing in the American desert and the other two for military use. It could have taken up to a year to produce a fourth bomb. The technology was so new that no one was sure if the bombs would work at all. After testing, and given a 50/50 chance of success, America could have found itself with only one bomb. There were concerns that the bombs might cause a chain reaction with the atmosphere and destroy hundreds of square miles, which made Japan an ideal target since it was an isolated island. No one was sure if the Japanese had an atomic programme of their own. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were heavily industrialised cities and thus military targets. The Germans fought to the last square inch of Berlin, why wouldn't the Japanese do the same in Tokyo? The problem with hindsight is that things are taken out of context. The British fire-bombing of Dresden killed upwards of 70,000 German civilians. Just two weeks prior to the Hiroshima bombing, hundreds of B-29 bombers fire-bombed Tokyo killing an estimated 120,000 people. The atomic bombing was not an isolated act by any means. And let us not forget that after the Nagasaki bombing the Americans told the Japanese that they had more bombs and the next target would be Tokyo. Only then did the Japanese surrender. In my book Harry played his cards exactly right.