Hiroshima: The Dropping Of The Atomic Bomb Essay, Research Paper
Hiroshima: the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb It was a beautiful morning on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Little did anybody know that that morning would be remembered as one of the most important and tragic days in United States History. The Japanese had been planning the attack on Pearl Harbor since September of that year. The plans were told to the pilots on October 5th and the order to begin the attack was given on December 5th. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech before Congress and to millions of people listening on the radio. He told them “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the navel and air forces of the Empire of Japan. Then he called for a war with Japan. After the speech Congress agreed almost unanimously to declare war. In 1942 German born Albert Einstein brought to President Roosevelt s attention that it might be possible to build a bomb more powerful than any other that had been made before. After being consulted by his military advisors that an invasion of Japan would cost over one million American lives, he decided it was a military necessity to drop the bomb on Japan. The reason the atomic bomb was a military necessity was because the Japanese possessed the ability to fight on. During the war Japan had the ability to fight on mentally but not physically. Their resources and manpower were far more less then the United States. Even though Japan was severely losing the war to the U.S. and Soviet armies, they still fought on to try and win the war; to even use bamboo spears to ward off the enemy. A quote that President Truman stated during the war follows: “Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, 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. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.” (”Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S Truman, 1945″, pg. 212). This quote shows the effect that Japan had on the United States and it s President. Truman felt it was necessary to drop the bomb to retaliate against Japan for their actions at Pearl Harbor during the war. Truman and his advisors felt that an invasion of Japan would cost over one million American casualties. On August 6, 1945, an American bomber dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. In an instant, 75,000 people had died, and another 100,000 were injured, in a city of 344,000 Japanese. The Japanese still hesitated to surrender and another atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. World War Two was finally over. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was fully underway. After 40,000 American casualties in the Battle of Okinawa, the U.S. could not afford to lose more lives. It seemed as if the only solution to save American lives and stop further Japanese expansion was to drop the atomic bomb. The Japanese were not going to give up and without the bomb we would have had to invade the islands of Japan and that would have cost many American lives and even more Japanese lives. Truman wanted to end the war as quickly as possible and with as few American casualties as possible. A quote that shows the number of casualties saved by not dropping the atomic bomb follows; Neither do we intend to challenge Mr. Churchill s highly speculative assertion that the use of the bomb saved the lives of more than one million American and 250,000 British soldiers. (PBR p. 50). Another quote from Truman that shows the many Japanese and American lives saved by the dropping of the bomb follows, General Marshall said in Potsdam that if the bomb worked we would save a quarter of a million American lives and probably save millions of Japanese. (PBR p.2) Truman saw the atomic bomb principally as a means to end the war quickly and save American lives. On another note the war would have raged on and on, for who knows how many years and also the economy would have possibly been destroyed from the constant making of weapons and vehicles. Overall, the causality estimate of the atomic bomb made Truman to believe even more to drop the bomb. After the Big Three conference at Potsdam on July 16, 1945, a warning was issued to Japan in the form of the Potsdam Declaration: to surrender unconditionally or face “prompt and utter destruction. An unconditional surrender, to Japan, meant humiliation to the ancient warrior tradition and the Emperor. Also the demand for unconditional surrender meant the total destruction of their political system, including a “divine ” monarchy that had survived for more than a thousand years. Therefore, on July 29, 1945, the Japanese rejected the Potsdam Declaration and every man, woman, and child prepared to fight to death. The President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republica of China and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Agreed that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war (PBR 17). The Potsdam Proclamation left the emperor s status unclear by making no reference to the royal house in the section that promised the Japanese that they could design their new government as long as it was peaceful and more democratic. The Japanese rejected the offer on July 29. The United States wanted to end the war with Japan and they felt by making this doctrine, Japan would surrender. The thirteen regulations that were written would help Japan become a better nation and to help rebuild what they lost. An article from the Declaration that shows how the United States felt towards Japan follows, We call upon the Government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction (PBR pg. 18) Japan s emperor did not agree to these terms and shortly after, the United States stuck to their threat and dropped the atomic bomb to end to war with Japan.
As far as the missing part of the Potsdam declaration, it seemed necessary to take it out of the final portion. It basically said that Japan s emperor must be stripped of all extraordinary privileges and places on a level before the law with everyone else. The United States knew that the Emperor of Japan was everything that the civilians had and for the U.S. to tell them that he couldn t have any privileges was inappropriate. The reason Japan kept fighting against the U.S. was because their emperor stated that they could not give up. As far as how President Truman felt towards the 14th regulation he said that the statement seemed too much like an appeasement of Japan (PBR 17). Overall it was a good idea that the United States decided to cut out this regulation because it would make Japan even angrier if the United States told Japan to get rid of their Emperor. Overall the War between the United States and Japan was getting out of hand. Both countries were losing numerous civilians and soldiers. The Japanese suicidal fighting strategies greatly effected the number of deaths. The Japanese would rather die than surrender. Both of the nations economy was failing and the need for surrender was necessary. Japan was so desperate that they were attacking the U.S s aircraft s with Kamikazes, which were suicidal pilots. The food situation in Japan was growing worse and the need for fuel and coal was also increasing. Inflation was in mind of the Japanese government, and overall it was time to end the war. The U.S. saw these problems and so did Japan. But the rejection of unconditional surrender by Japan led the U.S. to end the war by a far worse way. As far as to say that the United States broke an International law, according to the rules of aerial warfare (Article XXIV) it clearly states that Aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective, that is to say, an object of which the destruction or injury would constitute a distinct military advantage to the belligerent. Japan was adequately warned by the United States in terms of the Potsdam Declaration and the leaflets that were dropped on Hiroshima. Therefore the United States did not commit a war crime when dropping the atomic bomb to try and end the war. Whether or not the United States committed a war crime, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were indeed military targets. The first target was the city of Hiroshima, which was the seventh largest city in Japan and was an important military and communication center. Also weather reports forcasted that more rain could be expected over the capital, which made Tokyo undesirable and, a smaller target would make it easier to determine the precise power of the bomb. According to PBR pg. 3, Hiroshima was a city of considerable importance. It contained the 2nd Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops. This shows that Hiroshima was indeed a target for the bomb and was an open target for the United States. As far as whether or not the United States Blackmailed Japan, the need to end the war had to happen. Yes we did somewhat black mail Japan by saying if they did not obey the regulations of the Potsdam Declaration then we would unleash a powerful weapon. But we felt it was time to end the war and that Japan needed to surrender. The blackmail was for the better and to try and help Japan get back on their feet with the use of the Potsdam declaration. A quote that reflects this issue follows, If the bomb had not been dropped, America would have seen the Soviet armies engaging a major part of Japanese land forces in battle, overrunning Manchuria and taking half a million prisoners (m.p. p.9). Overall the rejection of our blackmail by Japan led to saving even more lives during World War II.Overall Truman s decision to drop the atomic bomb saved numerous American, Japanese and Soviet lives. Japan s ability to fight on was irrational against the United States. Their weapons were far less efficient then the United States. Although the atomic bomb caused much death devastation it indirectly saved lives. America made their power known by frightening other European powers. This bombing has serviced to prohibit future attacks on American soil. The atomic bomb was the best solution. The atomic bomb may have killed thousands, but it saved millions.