Atomic Bomb Decision Essay

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In August 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombing was a significant moment in history; it was the first and only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, resulting in unprecedented destruction and loss of life. The United States’ decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan raised ethical and moral questions about the use of such devastating force. Scholars debate why the decision to drop the bombs was made; some argue that they were a military necessity, integral to ending the Second World War, while others argue that non-military factors played a more significant role in the decision. Scholars have suggested that using the bombs may have been a gesture towards the Soviet Union, …show more content…

the terms of which were set out in the Potsdam Declaration. Japan refused despite their seemingly impending defeat. Further issues ensued from the Americans, including the Byrnes Note, which reiterated the United States' commitment to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. However, the Japanese resisted surrender, and the war would go on. The military necessity argument in the decision to drop the atomic bombs centres around the argument that they saved more lives than they had taken had the war not been ended abruptly. Truman would justify his decision to drop the atomic bombs as necessary from a military standpoint both at the time and in the years that followed. In a 1964 correspondence, Truman claimed dropping the bombs saved “250,000 men from being killed on our side and that many on the Japanese side.” The argument of lives saved used by Truman is supported by Miscamble, who in 2011 wrote, “he hoped that the bombs would end the war and secure peace with the fewest casualties and so they did.” The locations selected for the bombings, particularly Hiroshima, were of significant military importance in the eyes of Truman, who, in dropping the bomb, had destroyed the city’s usefulness, thus striking a significant blow to the Japanese war effort. The Japanese surrender did not come immediately after the bombs …show more content…

Dr Tsuyoshi Hasegawa describes this reason as the “hidden justification” behind the United States’ decision to drop the bombs. A surprise attack on a United States Naval Base in Hawaii killed more than two thousand Americans in December 1941; it ultimately led to the United States declaring war on Japan. Following the attacks, sentiment across the United States towards the Japanese was that of pure hatred; Truman described Japan as a “terribly cruel and uncivilised nation”. In the same correspondence, Truman controversially said, “I certainly regret the necessity of wiping out whole populations because of the ‘pigheadedness’ of the leaders.” A distinct lack of remorse shown by the former president, such statements cast doubt on his claims that the bombs were used out of military necessity; there appears to be genuine resentment in Truman’s words. The American public felt similar disdain towards the Japanese, especially within the military. The United States Air Force adopted a policy of turning Japanese towns to rubble on their bombing raids, making the choice of location for the atomic bombs more difficult. Other considerations for the locations of the bombs also showed a distinct lack of sensitivity towards the Japanese people; when considering the impact radius of the bomb, J.R. Oppenheimer’s

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