The Atomic Bombings Of Japan History Essay
President Truman faced a difficult decision, whether or not the atomic bomb should be dropped on the Japanese. On one hand, it seemed like the Japanese deserved it, from the gradual Japanese invasion to the attack on Pearl Harbor. But, on the other hand, the atomic bomb seemed like a particularly harsh punishment and would result in many casualties. Everyone was tense during World War Two, due to the casualties, sufferings, and consequences of the harsh war. "The shock of the atomic bomb, President Harry Truman hoped, might prove powerful enough to shatter Japanese resistance, thereby ending the war quickly and saving American lives. With no demurrals from his leading military or political advisers, Truman gave the order to attack" (Wiseto). Too many American soldiers were dying and the end of the war seemed nowhere in sight. There seemed to be only one way to end this devastating conflict, to drop the atomic bombs. President Truman wanted to bring about a quick resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction, that was sufficient to cause Japan to surrender. The United States was justified in using the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"While most scholars agree that the atomic bomb was used to bring the surrender of Japan as quickly as possible, less consensus exists on whether the bomb was necessary to end the war. Some historians believe that conventional military power, a demonstration of the bomb, the entry of the Soviet Union into the war, agreement to a conditional surrender, or some combination of these factors, might have brought the Japanese surrender" (Jeffries). The atomic bomb was a very controversial topic, many people thought it to be morally wrong, but others thought it to be the only solution to the war. President Truman was faced with this decision, wanting to stand by his people and do the right thing. But how could he possibly choose when the "right thing" seemed so wrong? Either President Truman risked the lives of the noble American soldiers, or he risked the lives of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. But, President Truman decided that the only way to end the war with the fewest American casualties, was to drop the atomic bombs.
As President Truman saw it, there were five alternatives to choose from. The first option was to "use [the bomb] in the manner that is from the military point of view the most effective in bringing about prompt Japanese surrender at minimum cost to our armed forces". The second option was to "give a military demonstration in Japan to be followed by a renewed opportunity for surrender before full use of the weapon is employed". The third choice was to give an experimental demonstration in this country with representatives of Japan present; followed by a new opportunity for surrender before full use of the weapon is employed". The fourth option was to "withhold military use of the weapons but make a public experimental demonstration of their effectiveness". Or finally, the fifth option was to "maintain as secret as possible all developments of our new weapons and refrain from using them in this war" (Kurzman 324-325). After much consideration into the matter, President Truman decided it'd be best to drop the atomic bombs on Japan in order to force surrender.
One of the main reasons that the United States decided to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 7th, 1941, an unannounced sneak attack performed by the Japanese navy. The goal of the attack was to destroy the American naval base and to neutralize the U.S. Pacific fleet. There were a few events that led to the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor. In 1940, following Japan's invasion of French Indochina and under the authority granted by the Export Control Act, the United States halted shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline, which was looked upon by the Japanese as an unfriendly act (www.historyplace.org). "In the first six months after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese conquered an empire that dwarfed Hitler's Third Reich. On the Asian mainland, Japanese troops overran Hong Kong, French Indochina, Malaya, Thailand, half of China..." (Littell). Japan took over French Indochina in an attempt to control supplies reaching China. This decision brought about the American embargo on oil exports to Japan. Overall, the Japanese saw the United States as a threat and decided that the threat could be lessened if an ambush was launched upon Pearl Harbor. The end result of the Pearl Harbor military strike was devastating towards the United States, many battleships, cruisers, and destroyers were either damaged or sunk, the majority of the aircrafts on the base were also destroyed. Furthermore, there were many casualties that resulted from this ambush, not only were military personnel injured or killed, but some civilians who were also caught amidst this bloodbath were also killed. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a clear victory towards the Japanese, but also resulted in the entry of the United States into World War Two.
During the course of the war, many American soldiers were captured by the Japanese military. The Japanese treated the prisoners of war that they had with extreme aggression, the only way to stop them from torturing and capturing more prisoners was to drop an atomic bomb. Another problem during the war was the fact that the Japanese experimented with kamikaze pilots, also known as suicide pilots. These pilots believed that it'd be an honor to die for their country, taking down as many enemies as they could with them. The cost of World War 2 was also a huge issue. It cost more than all of the wars that the U.S. was involved combined; about 300 billion dollars to fight in this war. To stay in the war would have exhausted America of both money and resources. The dropping of the bomb ended the war, which ended the spending of money in the war (Socyberty).
One of the Japanese cities that were bombed was Hiroshima. At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city known for its military power. The Army Headquarters was located in Hiroshima, which controlled the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops (Avalon). It was chosen as a target because the United States wanted to ensure that the Japanese would quickly surrender after witnessing the horrible power of the atomic bomb.
The other Japanese city that was targeted to have the atomic bomb dropped on was Nagasaki. "The city of Nagasaki had been one of the largest sea ports in southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials" (Wheeler). Nagasaki had never been exposed to large scale bombing before the atomic bomb had been dropped there. But, on August 1st, 1945, several high explosive bombs were dropped on Nagasaki. A few of these bombs hit in the shipyards and dock areas in the southwest portion of the city. Several of the bombs hit the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works and six bombs landed at the Nagasaki Medical School and Hospital, with three direct hits on buildings there. This greatly devastated the Japanese population, and Japan quickly surrendered, not wanting to risk anymore casualties nor devastation.
The United States was justified in dropping the atomic bomb due to the circumstances that the United States was in. The financial cost of the war was overbearing, many American soldiers were being captured and tortured by the Japanese, and the Japanese military was getting out of control, going as far as to attack Pearl Harbor, killing many and injuring many more.