Atomic Power Keeps The World O Essay

, Research Paper

Atomic Power Keeps the World on the Brink

It was 1945 and World War II was in full swing. Bombs

were falling all over Europe, destruction was

everywhere, and Nazi death camps were running at full

speed attempting to exterminate the Jewish population

and others deemed undesirable. Japan s bombing of

Pearl Harbor, four years earlier, had forced the United

States to end its isolationist practices and join the

battle. In the secret labs of Los Alamos there lurked a

new weapon. At this lab scientists were working

feverishly to complete what would become the most

destructive and potent weapon the Earth had ever seen,

the atomic bomb. Not only would this bomb end the final

stage of World War II but it also set the world on a

dangerous path to see who could create and amass the

most powerful arsenal of weapons. The effects of this

would be far reaching and would create an uneasy aura of

anxiety that permeated through the conscience of


It was a race against time. Whoever was first to unlock

the mysteries of the atom would inevitably win the war.

Fortunately for the preservation of humanity, God and

luck was on the side of the Allied powers, and the

United States was able to complete the puzzle first.

Ironically a German scientist who defected during the

war helped fill in some of the missing links to the


This magnificent device was able to unleash the power of

the atom creating an explosion equal to roughly 15

kilotons of TNT. After Japan s rejection of multiple

warnings to surrender and give up the war they set their

own fate in the history books to be the first to

experience the horror of this new weaponry. On August

5th, 1945, an American B-29 Superfortress dropped the

first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. As

the plane, which was later named Enola Gaye, departed

the drop site and began its return home, a large

mushroom shaped cloud of smoke rose up from the city.

This city of nearly 300,000 people experienced enormous

devastation. Somewhere between 40,000 and 72,000 human

lives vanished in minutes from this incredible force of

atomic power. Buildings, trees, and other animals, also

vanished in the intense wave of nuclear heat the shot

outward from the drop point. An estimated 70,000 out of

76,000 buildings in the city were destroyed.

The United States again asked for Japan s surrender, and

again Japan s leadership refused. Despite the

unimaginable destruction and loss of life that had

occurred at Hiroshima the Japanese chose to insanely

fight onward. On August 9th, 1945, another atomic bomb

was dropped, this time on the city of Nagasaki. As with

the first blast, this city was also completely

devastated. The death toll here stood between 30,000 and

40,000, with 44 percent of the city destroyed. Finally,

now believing that there country really would face utter

annihilation, the Japanese announced their unconditional

surrender and the final stage of World War II had come

to an abrupt end.

This feeling of relief would not last long. With the war

over and before the new era of peace could comfortably

set in, the race to develop even more powerful weaponry

was on. The two main competitors were the United States

and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.).

These two former allies, who had radically different

governmental and political ideologies, emerged from the

war as the two lone superpowers of the world. They were

neck and neck in a major arms race that would put the

world on the edge of it s seat and send it into a period

of great anxiety and worry.

As these two superpowers continued their arms race,

increasingly powerful bombs were developed. The creation

of nuclear bombs that had the power of 500 atomic bombs,

the size of the ones dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima,

worried the international community of the fate these

weapons could inevitably bring. Weapons of this power

could wipe out an entire nation in minutes and could

lead to the complete destruction of the world.

Since the 1980 s, with the demise of the Soviet Union

and treaties designed at reducing the massive nuclear

weapons arsenals, the period that became known as the

Cold War gradually simmered and dissipated. However,

there are new dangers that lurk on the horizon for the

countries of the world. Third world countries, terrorist

groups, and other rogue states, with unstable and

sometimes quite irrational leadership are continuing

their quest to obtain nuclear secrets. The intentions of

many these groups are to inflict pain and suffering on

the peaceful countries of the world. The odds are that

sometime soon they will acquire this knowledge, ushering

in another period of great uncertainty and unyielding


Works Cited

Kreis, Steven, Hitler and Word War

II, stevek/europe/lecture11.html,2000.

Matthews, Roy and Platt, F. Dewitt, The Western

Humanities, Volume II: The Renaissance to the Present.

Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001.

The History Place, World War II in the Pacific,,



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