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The Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On August 6th, 1945, 70,0000 lives were ended in a matter of seconds. The United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Today, many argue whether or not the U. S. should have taken such a drastic measure. Was it entirely necessary that the nation drop such a devastating weapon? To answer that we must first look at was going on in the world at the time of the Pacific conflict. The U. S. had been fighting a massive war since 1941. Morale was most likely low, and resources were at the same level. Still, both sides continued to fight, and both were determined to win.

Obviously, the best thing that could have possibly happened would have been to bring the war to a quick end with a minimum of allied casualties. Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atom bombs was entirely warranted and was in the best interest of Americans and the world. Three factors should be considered to fully realize this. First, what would have happened should we have not dropped the bombs? Would WWII have ended shortly afterwards without nuclear arms- not likely. Secondly, we must consider the Japanese people’s extreme dedication to their country and emperor, willing to give up their own lives without thinking to stop the enemy.

Lastly, the morality of nuclear bombing must be explored. While many may argue against the use of such a seemingly cruel form of attack was unnecessary, it is obvious that the atomic bomb was the only means to put an end of World War II . Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not only necessary to end Pacific involvement in World War II and save American lives, but it was also executed in the most efficient and effective way possible. The woman sat, staring out the window. Four of her six sons had already died in World War II.

The other two were already headed to Japan. A tear slid down her cheek; she was sure she was going to lose them too. She knew only too well the horrors of war and the death toll that would ensue. Suddenly, the news came out over the radio: Japan had surrendered, due to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The tears of sadness turned into tears of joy. She knew that her remaining two sons were going to return home safely. A projected 225,000 total casualties were estimated if a land invasion was used in Japan (McNulty 2001).

If the nation had not dropped the atomic bombs, the war would have most assuredly continued. Although we would have more than likely declared the final victory, a lot more on both sides would have died (Hodges Interview). The United States had already seen the devastation that the Japanese could cause in Okinawa, where they killed 50,00 American soldiers. Also noticed was the havoc they could wreak on their own kind; the 1937 Rape of Nanjing in which Japanese soldiers killed 300,000 men, women, and children certainly proved that (McNulty 2001).

Could we expect these inhumane people to go easy on our American soldiers? Certainly not. The Japanese soldier was taught from a very young age that it was not a sacrifice to die for his country; it was an honor. To die in battle was to honor the emperor. Secratary of War Stimson wrote, “The Japanese soldier has proved himself capable of suicidal last ditch defense; he will continue to display as such in his homeland” (Claypool 72). The Japanese “died with reckless abandon”, burned soldiers out of caves with “flamethrowers and explosives” and flew into American ships on hundreds of Kamikaze raids (Beth 73).

President Truman was unwilling to sacrifice so many men because the war in the Gulf was over; the Japanese had shown no sign that they were willing to surrender. (Sparknotes. com 2001). The droppings of atom bombs on Japan were handled in the most effective way possible. President Truman decided to use the bomb quickly to prevent the further loss of American lives (Beth 76). All the scientists who worked on the Manhatten Project were agahst; they did not know their project was going to kill so many people.

They asked the President to at least do a demonstration outside of Japan; then if the Japanese would not surrender with that warning, drop the bomb. Truman quickly ruled that out; it would be much less effective and it certainly risked the United States looking stupid. The bomb might not have detonated or something else could have gone wrong (Beth 75). On August 6, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 100,000, wounding another 100,000, and destroying 90% of Hiroshima.

After being given three days to surrender and continued resistance by Japanese military leadership, another city “was condemed to die” (Beth 76). Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki, killing 40,000 and wounding 25,000. Six days after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and after the foiling of an attempted plan by military diehards who wanted to fight to the end, Emperor Hirohito cited the “new and most cruel bomb” in the surrender (McNulty 2001).

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