Hiroshima bombing essay questions
This issue of territory in east Asia was especially important because before the war against Japan, China had been embroiled in a civil war of its own. It was the U. If communist Russia were allowed to gain territory in east Asia, it would throw its considerable military might behind Mao, almost certainly handing the communists a victory once the World War was ended and the civil war was resumed. Once the bomb was proven to work on July 15, , events took on a furious urgency.
There was simply no time to work through negotiations with the Japanese.
Every day of delay meant more land given up to Russia and, therefore, a greater likelihood of communist victory in the Chinese civil war. All of Asia might go communist. It would be a strategic catastrophe for the U. So, on August 6, , two days before the Russians were to declare war against Japan, the U. There was no risk to U. The earliest planned invasion of the island was still three months away and the U. But the Russian matter loomed and drove the decision on timing. So, only three days later, the U. The Japanese surrendered on August 14, , eight days after the first bomb was dropped.
Major General Curtis LeMay commented on the bomb's use: "The War would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the War at all. The story of military necessity, quickly and clumsily pasted together after the War's end, simply does not hold up against the overwhelming military realities of the time. On the other hand, the use of the bomb to contain Russian expansion and to make the Russians, in Truman's revealing phrase, "more manageable," comports completely with all known facts and especially with U.
Which story should we accept, the one that doesn't hold together but that has been sanctifiied as national dogma? Or the one that does hold together but offends our self concept?
How we answer says everything about our maturity and our capacity for intellectual honesty. It is sometimes hard for a people to reconcile its history with its own national mythologies - the mythologies of eternal innocence and Providentially anointed righteousness. It is all the more difficult when a country is embroiled in yet another war and the power of such myths are needed again to gird the people's commitment against the more sobering force of facts.
But the purpose of history is not to sustain myths. It is, rather, to debunk them so that future generations may act with greater awareness to avoid the tragedies of the past.
Harry S Truman’s Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (U.S. National Park Service)
It may take another six or even sixty decades but eventually the truth of the bomb's use will be written not in mythology but in history. Hopefully, as a result, the world will be a safer place. He is the founder of One Dollar For Life, a nonprofit that builds infrastructure projects in the developing world from donations as small as one dollar. This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover. Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us.
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The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs
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- WW2: Was The US Right To Drop Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima And Nagasaki? You Debate - HistoryExtra;
- WW2: Was The US Right To Drop Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima And Nagasaki? You Debate - HistoryExtra.
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Home Subscribe Donate. About Us Key Staff Testimonials. Search form Search. Published on. Sunday, August 06, Common Dreams. There was no pressing military necessity for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. Robert Freeman. Get our best delivered to your inbox. Feel free to republish and share widely. Please select a donation method:.
But was such bombing, even in pursuit of this legitimate end, reasonable? It seems eminently clear that it was. While there is an active historical debate as to how meaningful the contribution of the bombing campaign was, there seems more than enough evidence to suggest that it did have a significant effect. Many Japanese officials after the war, including the Emperor himself, confessed that the bombing campaign played a significant role in their decision to give up.
More relevantly to the moral question, it was reasonable for Allied decision makers making judgments under conditions of imperfect and incomplete information to think that it would. Indeed, even then it was a very close call and had to survive a coup attempt by disaffected Army elements.
In other words, even with the near-apocalyptic annihilation of two of its great cities, Imperial Japan was still uncertain about surrendering. The implication of this is not, as some argue, that the United States and its allies could have dispensed with the atomic bomb strikes or the strategic bombing campaign of which they were a part. No one would argue against the use of rifles or submarines or aircraft carriers because they did not singlehandedly win the war.
Rather, it simply shows how much force needed to be brought to bear to compel Tokyo to give up. But, even if the bombing campaign did contribute to the pursuit of legitimate war aims, was it important or necessary enough to justify the horrendous costs to the Japanese population? To answer this question, we must recall the context.
Atomic bomb ww2 essay
What was clear by late , at the beginning of the Allied strategic bombing assault, was that Japan would not capitulate even in the face of manifest military defeat. Yet Tokyo gave no indication that it was even close to capitulating. To the contrary, as Max Hastings and others have documented, Japan was giving every sign of preparing to fight with millennial violence to the last, even in the face of evident defeat on the battlefield, the bombings and blockade and impending invasion of the Home Islands.
Japanese forces on islands assaulted by the Allies would literally fight to the last man, often using strategems and booby traps to take Allied soldiers with them. On Okinawa, well over , Japanese — many of them civilians — died, taking over 20, American soldiers with them, in what would have been a prelude to the invasion of the main islands. Offshore, young, often well-educated Japanese pilots steered their bomb-laden aircraft into Allied ships.
In brief, Japan was making clear in word and, more importantly, in deed that the practical alternative to the use of strategic bombing and ultimately the atomic bomb — the invasion of the Home Islands — would have been met with nothing short of fanaticism, barbarity and wanton death on a scale staggering even to the grim minds of Historians differ on what constituted reasonable estimates of Allied casualties for Operation Downfall — the planned invasion of Japan — but any responsible planner had to anticipate they would be extremely high and, lest we forget, that such an assault would also result in untold numbers of Japanese military and civilian deaths, as well as the thoroughgoing destruction of the Home Islands.
Thus, as dragged on, Allied forces were engaged in horrifyingly brutal campaigns with a power that had manifestly lost the war, but was willing to suffer and incur every loss rather than capitulate. In blunt terms, the Allies were throwing everything they had at Japan — and still it would not surrender.
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- Practice DBQ: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
Was it morally incumbent upon the Allies to avoid deliberately destroying Japan from the air and embark instead on a conventional military invasion because such an attack would take the form of a traditional military operation leaving aside the probably dispositive point that there was every reason to think that this would result in more, not fewer, Japanese civilian casualties?
Or was it reasonable for the Allies to bring to bear every other possible source of coercion available, however terrible, to force Japan to accept defeat? The answer seems to be that the burden quite clearly was on Japan. Of course, this is not to say that the Allies had a totally free hand. The Allies were morally obligated to take steps to reduce unnecessary human suffering and did make some such efforts, such as through the dropping of millions of leaflets warning of air raids. But the fact was that the Allies did not possess such weapons, as technology did not yet enable precision attacks.
It seemed that only the prospect of the very destruction of Japan and its conquest by Soviet Communism could tilt such a leadership to swallow the bitter pill of capitulation.
Articles and Clippings about the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Since there was no silver bullet solution available to the Allies, the question was whether the people of Japan would bear a large portion of the toll of persuading their government to capitulate, or whether they — and likely many more of their compatriots — would share that terrible burden with the soldiers of the Allied armies. If Japan had faced mercenary armies, perhaps this would have posed a different kind of question. But Japan faced — let us be clear — massive groups of innocent, often terrified, and very young men, the vast bulk of whom had no interest in risking death to prove to a coterie atop a shriveled Empire that it was truly defeated.
As George Orwell lucidly pointed out in , there is no reason why, in a democracy, young men in uniform should be the only ones made to suffer. Ideally no one would, but that was not the question. Surely it would have been unjust to ask the Allied armies that were struggling so painfully to overcome Japan to have their lives weighed equally in the balance as the citizens of the Empire. While it is certainly iniquitous to hold the citizens of any nation fully accountable for the actions of their government, especially when it is an authoritarian one, neither is it justifiable or feasible to act as if they cannot rightly be compelled to bear any responsibility.
And it is absolutely not tenable to ask those who oppose them to share an equal or even comparable degree of responsibility. In a world of sovereign states, we may not equate citizens with their governments, but neither can we afford, especially under situations of the severest stress, to shield them from any consequence for what their governments do, particularly at the expense of those fighting them.