The Clock Stopped Essay, Research Paper
This clock stopped at 8:15 am the morning of August 6, 1945 when America released the fatal forces of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Unfortunately the owner of this watch, Kengo Futagawa, was terribly burned and mortally wounded by the atomic forces as he stood only 1600 meters from the point of impact. Sad deaths like Futagawa?s are commemorated each year by various Anti-Atomic Warfare organizations that try to spread the realism and the devastation of Atomic Warfare through the told accounts of individual Hiroshima victim?s horrific stories. They, the people of Hiroshima paid an awful price as do many victims in the time of warfare, but their story is different because it was a price that did not need to be so heavy. Due to ruthless war tactics, negligence, and ulterior motives America, the power of peace, used excessive force on Japan when it dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
There are many ways to cruelly explain America?s actions in this matter; such as revenge, or simply a quickened end to the war, but the plain truth is the A-Bombing of Hiroshima could have been easily avoided. If the decision to bomb or not to bomb was placed solely on the threat of Japan at the present time of the decision anyone could see that atomically bombing Hiroshima was unnecessary and by all means should have been used as a last resort.
Scientist, Botanist, and creator of the theories behind the Atomic Bomb, Leo Szilard and 58 others protested against the use of Atomic Bombs in the war against Japan by writing a letter to the President of the United States. The petition respectfully asked that the use of this new weapon be used in a last resort. An excerpt from the petition clearly states their intentions. ?The war has to be brought speedily to a successful conclusion and the destruction of Japanese cities by means of Atomic bombs may very well be an effective method of warfare. We feel, however, that such an attack on Japan could not be justified in the present circumstances. We believe that the United States ought not to resort to the use of atomic bombs in the present phase of the war, at least not unless the terms which will be imposed upon Japan after the war are publicly announced and subsequently Japan is given an opportunity to surrender.? (Dannen pg. 2 )
Unfortunately, this view was not shared by the decision makers, aconfined group of men; ?only about a dozen, high government officials, military advisers, and Scientist who were appointed by President Truman to help advise in the awesome decision of whether and where the bomb would be dropped.? (Fogelman pg.2 ) The recommendations of this committee and above all the advice of Secretary of War Stimson, confirmed President Truman?s own conviction that use of an atomic bomb against Japan would be necessary to bring the war to a speedy end. However, it seemed as if the speedy end Truman was so desperately seeking was around the corner. With America?s very strong air raids, and a strong chokehold on Japanese importing systems, Japan was already frantically looking for a way to surrender.
America?s strong air raids were due to ?Area Bombing,? an air raid tactic that the U.S. Airforce adopted from the Germans in their war against England, sought not to hit specific targets, but struck rather at whole cities, killing thousands of citizens. They aimed to ?de-house? enemy industrial workers, disrupt the enemy war effort, crush enemy morale, and ultimately send the enemy into submission. With this ruthless tactic in place the ?Americans had already killed well over half a million Japanese civilians by ?Area Bombing? efforts, perhaps nearly a million. This was before atomic weapons were even ready for use.? (Long pg.4 )
While Japan was being bombarded from the sky, a naval blockade was strangling Japan?s ability to import oil and other vital materials and its ability to produce war materials. Admiral William Leahy, the Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt and then to President Truman , wrote, ?By the beginning of September , Japan was almost completely defeated through a practically complete sea and air blockade.? (Long pg. 3)
The most troubling aspect in the actual decision of the bombing of Hiroshima relies on the Postdam Conference and its declaration for peace issued to the Japanese from the Postdam by the United States, Great Britain, and China as an ultimatum to ?complete and utter destruction?. Two features of this Postdam Declaration are especially controversial: first, the absence of explicit mention of the new atomic weapon; and , second the absence of an explicit guarantee that the Japanese Imperial System would be preserved. Critics of the declaration have maintained that, if the Japanese leaders had been specifically warned about the impending atomic attack and if they had been assured that their Emperor would remain on his throne during the occupation, then surrender would have followed without the bombing of Hiroshima.
Before the Atomic Bomb was dropped, May 28, 1945, Herbert Hoover visited President Truman and suggested a way to end the Pacific war quickly: ? I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a short-wave broadcast to the people of Japan-tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists- you?ll get peace in Japan- you?ll have both wars over.? (Long/quotes pg.2)
Unfortunately this advice given by Herbert Hoover was not followed and in the end the conditional surrender was given to Japan anyway. The Emperor kept his place in the thrown during the occupation. If this is true, why did the Atomic Bombing take place? Japan was obviously beaten and trying to surrender to terms that the United States was willing to agree to! Were there ulterior motives to the bombing? And if so, what could the U.S. gain by bombing Hiroshima? Could it have been revenge for Pearl Harbor?s devastation, or maybe an even further motive, the ability to show Russia America?s awesome power.
Many found the revenge of atomically bombing Hiroshima satisfying, regardless of the loss of additional American lives spent to achieve it. Truman reflected this feeling in a radio broadcast to the public on the night of August 9, after an atomic bomb had been exploded upon the Nagasaki populace: ?Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Arbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare? (Long/quotes pg. 10)
Yet another ulterior motive for the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima can be proven. Unbelievable as it might seem, it was to make a point to the Soviet Union. Vannevar Bush (Chief Aide for atomic matters to Stimson, the Secretary of State for War) confirmed this when he said that the bomb was: ?delivered on time so there was no necessity for any concessions to Russia at the end of the war.? (Bloomfield pg. 4)
The US did not want the Soviet Union to be involved in the anticipated ?last push? land invasion of Northern China, since this would put it in a good position to exert influence in the area once hostilities ceased. The US therefore attempted to end the fighting before the Red Army entered Chinese territory but did not accept Japanese moves to surrender, leaving President Truman confident about finishing the war in the Far East with as little help from Russia as possible.
Ultimately, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was not needed in America?s effort to win over Japan, however, due to a sense of revenge and egotism, America?s leaders saw it justifiable in their decision. So the question comes to whether or not revenge is right or wrong? In a time of war this issue can become increasingly clouded due to high tensions and hardened emotions. Defending or reputing America?s decision does not solve history, but realizing that war in itself is a needless effort, and that needless lives will always be lost on both sides of the lines can certainly help to discourage future war efforts.
Fogleman, Edwin. Hiroshima; The Decision to Use The A-Bomb. Ed. Martin Steinmann,Jr. New York: Scribner Research Anthologies. 1964. Pg.1-75.
Tsuchida, Hiromi. Hiroshima Collection. Ed. Mayu Tsuruya
Available: http://www.lclark.edu/~history/HIROSHIMA/photos 3-4.html
Danne, Gene. Szilard petition Version 1 July 3, 1945. (firstname.lastname@example.org 1995-1996) ?Atomic Bomb Decision? Available: http://www.peak.org/~danneng/decision/43-07-03.html.
Long, Doug. Hiroshima: Was it Necessary? Mercury.net
Bloomfield, Janet Why the atom bomb wasn?t necessary to end the war. Chair of the Campaign for nuclear Disarmament. Available: http://www.oneworld.org/news/world/bloomfield.html