Truman On Trial: Investigating the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

** We are very proud to announce that Truman On Trial has been awarded the Quality Mark of the Association for Citizenship Teaching, recognising it as an outstanding Citizenship education resource! . Click here for exciting new materials and guidance to maximise the Citizenship impact of the lessons, and to support KS3-5 English, and KS5 Law and Government & Politics. **

Investigate the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. This teaching pack is made up of three parts:

1. Hiroshima and Nagasaki carousel activity (engaging with - and reflecting on - a wide range of primary and secondary historical sources)

2. Truman on Trial (A mock trial in the classroom to decide whether or not the bombings were justified, in which students take on the roles of barristers, witnesses and jurors. There are also lower- and higher-ability versions of this lesson.)

3. Subject-specific follow-up lesson:
History (source analysis)
RE (Just War theory)
English (haiku and senryu-writing)
Citizenship (exploring media reporting). Click here for new resources and guidance to maximise the lessons' Citizenship impact.

The lessons are also highly relevant to the curriculum and exam syllabuses of various other subjects, as well as being an excellent way to help meet SMSC and Prevent requirements. Each lesson plan includes differentiation, extension and enrichment suggestions.


'The resources bring a period of history alive that many would prefer to forget, but it does so with great insight and sensitivity, using a plethora of primary and secondary resources ... This is an immersive, active learning experience that is thrilling and sobering, intense and exciting ... Lessons and PowerPoints have been helpfully created to suit different abilities. They are all deliberately ambitious and encourage students to argue and counter-argue, debate and present like professionals, and consider Just War theory and criteria'. - John Dabell, Teach Secondary magazine

‘It was very easy to differentiate the lesson and really made my students question the decision…. Boys who usually struggle to form an opinion were thoroughly engaged from the start of the enquiry and by the end were happy to debate with one another with solid evidence behind their opinions. So, a massive thank you from me and my students!’ - Secondary school teacher

‘really informative and interesting.’ – Year 10 student, King Ethelbert School, Kent


Save for later
  • Lesson 1: Hiroshima & Nagasaki carousel.pdf
  • Lesson 2: lower-ability version.pdf
  • Lesson 2: courtroom trial.pdf
  • Lesson 3: English - haiku.pdf
  • Lesson 3: Citizenship - media reporting.pdf
  • Lesson 3: History - source analysis.pdf
  • Lesson 3: RE - Just War.pdf
  • Truman On Trial whole pack.pdf
  • Lesson 2: Higher-ability.pdf
  • ToT-Lesson1-Hiroshima-Nagasaki-carousel.ppt
  • ToT-Lesson2_courtroom-trial_standard-higher-ability.pptx
  • ToT-Lesson2-lower_ability.ppt.pptx
  • ToT-Lesson3_Citizenship_media-reporting.pptx
  • ToT-Lesson3_English_haiku-and-senryu.pptx
  • ToT-Lesson3_History_source-analysis.pptx
  • ToT-Lesson3_RE_Just-War.pptx.ppt

About this resource


Created: Nov 21, 2013

Updated: May 14, 2019

pdf, 21 MB

Lesson 1: Hiroshima & Nagasaki carousel

pdf, 146 KB

Lesson 2: lower-ability version

pdf, 2 MB

Lesson 2: courtroom trial

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Creative Commons "NoDerivatives"

Creative Commons "NoDerivatives"