Hanging Harry Truman

Lyrics and Music ©1990 by Bill Roper

I got the idea for this at ConText, where I wandered into the middle of some conversation that Juanita Coulson was having. I forget the exact context.

But I suspect that there are many worse things than having dropped the Bomb on Japan. At least, that's what's happening one universe to the left of the one we live in.

There's more to the story, of course.

        Em               Asus2         C               D
They're singing just for you as you're sitting in your cell,
C               D               Asus2
Even though you didn't need the warning.
        Em              Asus2           C           D
They're waiting for the sunrise just to send you to hell,
             Cmaj7                                 Em Asus2 x2
‘Cause we're hanging Harry Truman in the morning.

Em            Asus2 B7            Em
Such a little man!  Such a little mind!
    C          D            B7          Em
The accidental President we happened to find.
Em          Asus2   B7          Em
Haberdasher heir to Roosevelt's plan
C             D         B7       Em
Turned out to be the dispensable man.
A                     Em
No one elected you Commander-in-Chief.
A                         B7
No one expected you would bring us such grief.
        Em             Asus2       C              D
Are you haunted by the faces you betrayed by your hand,
     C                  D         Em
Our American boys lying dead in Japan?

Germany fell, Hitler was dead.
V-E was here, Japan lay ahead.
Now it was time to get the job done,
Dying on the beaches of the Rising Sun.
Nobody knew that you held in your hand
The secret that could end the war in Japan.
You thought that the Bomb was too awful to use,
But how many lives were you willing to lose?

C                        D         Em
One chance to bring this war to an end.
A                               Em
One chance to save the lives of millions of men.
    A                      Em
You say it was wrong – you say we'd be cursed,
    Asus2                                 B7
But tell me what we did to Dresden wasn't worse.

Secrets close held, secrets no more.
Tried by the Senate and thrown out the door.
Rayburn backed down, Berlin fell alone,
And Uncle Joe's working on a Bomb of his own.
They called it treason and put you on trial.
When the sun comes up, you will walk your last mile.
"To save us from horror," was the reason you gave.
Now millions are dead, so what life did you save?

(Chorus twice)
We're hanging Harry Truman in the morning.