Why Did The Americans Drop The Atomic
Bomb On Hiroshima Essay, Research Paper
Why did the Americans drop the Atomic Bomb?
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese people. To this day, people still speculate why President Truman made the decision to drop the first bomb on Hiroshima on the fateful early-morning of August 6th, a bomb which caused horrific deaths and appalling radiation sickness that would last for many years to come.
It has been quoted that from only the effects of the Hiroshima bomb, over 200,000 people have died and the question on everybody s lips seems to be why?
Nearly six months before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tokyo was bombed by American B-29 bombers who officially killed 83 793 people. Two days later, a second attack was carried out on Nagoya. The US airforce then systematically bombed and practically wiped out the cities of Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama and Kawasaki. All in all, 330 000 Japanese died because of these bombings and to kill even further people, the US bombed sixty other cities between mid-June and mid-august. The US Air Operations Commander Brigadier General Thomas Power said that the bombing of just Tokyo:
was the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history. It was greater than the combined damage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were more casualties than any other single military action in world history.
Thus was it really necessary to use atomic weapons?
Many reasons have been put forward as to why Truman resolved to drop the atomic bombs, but the official one given by Truman was that it would save more American lives than it would kill Japanese. However Ronald King said:
The idea that atomic weapons were used against Japan in 1945 to save loss of life in a prolonged and resisted invasion is not a credible factual assumption. It was always morally dubious President Truman s estimate that an invasion would cost half a million American lives has no basis in any military document
Unofficial reasons include: so much money was spent on it that it was justifiable to use it, Truman didn t want to look soft , it was only an experiment, it would set up post-war American superiority and revenge.
A lot of people speculate that the bomb was dropped because of the behavior of the Japanese concerning the bombing of Pearl Harbor and their particular cruelty to prisoners of war. The bombing of Pearl Harbor destroyed a huge amount of American bomber planes and naval fleets that were parked and harbored on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. As well as destroying the planes and sailing vessels, the Japanese killed over 2000 members of the US Navy, over 100 members of the Marine Corps, 218 members of the army and 68 civilians. The Japanese also managed to destroy four US battleships. They caused massive damage and devastation and killed hundreds of people. Added to the fact that many prisoners of war died in their hands due to murder, starvation and torture, the bombing was, to some people, a valid revenge.
Another principally substantial reason why the atomic bombs were used on the Japanese was that they brought atomic diplomacy over Russia. Truman knew this and so he delayed the meeting in Potsdam with Russia until he was sure that the atomic weapons could be used. An extract from Henry Stimson s diary reads as follows
Churchill told me that he had noticed at the meeting of the Big Three yesterday that Truman was evidently much fortified by something that happened and he stood up to the Russians in a most emphatic and decisive manner, telling them as to certain demands that they absolutely could not have and the US was entirely against them He told the Russians just where and when they got off and generally bossed the whole meeting.
This just shows how much the American attitude changed towards Russia when they knew that they had atomic power.
There have also been other suggestions about the real necessity of bombing Japan. Barton Bernstein reckoned that the atomic bombs weren t necessary at all. According to him, if the Americans attempted a landing on the japanese island of Kyushu alone, it might have been the ultimate operation to end the war, and the casualties weren t expected to exceed 30 000 with just 7500 people dead.
However, US intelligence had been deciphering Japanese codes for quite a few years, and it was known that Japan was going to attempt to surrender with minimum loss of face. Truman knew this something that can be proved with an extract from his personal diary
The telegram from (the) Jap emperor asking for peace
He and many others knew that it was unessential to bomb the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Admiral Leahy, a senior US military official said:
The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender the use of this barbarous weapon on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan In being the first to use it, we adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians.
And General Dwight Eisenhower thought that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki wasn t needed in any way it was no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives
Another justification that the atomic bombs were unnecessary was the fact that the Soviets declared war on Japan. General Marshall advised Truman as early as June 1945, that this could possibly force Japan to completely surrender. General Ismay told Churchill
When Russia came into the war against Japan, the Japanese would probably wish to get out on almost any terms short of the dethronement of the emperor
This shows how desperate the Japanese were likely to get. The Japanese Prime Minister, Suzuki expected that the bombs would cause 100 million people to join themselves in a shield to protect the emperor from the invader
Yet another reason why the Americans shouldn t have used the bomb was that a test, showed to the Japanese, might well have had enough impact to make them surrender. An American nuclear scientist suggested a demonstration of the bomb might be best made on the desert or on a barren island. Japan could then be asked to surrender. Yet Henry Stimson deemed that a demonstration in an uninhabited area was not regarded as likely to make the Japanese surrender. The test might have been a dud. Also, we had no bombs to waste. This also backs up the reason that the bombs were too expensive to waste. A campaign for nuclear disarmament in 1985 said, the bomb had cost $2000 million. It would have been difficult to justify not using it.
On July 30th 1945, during a press conference, the Japanese Prime Minister, Suzuki said that the government would not comment yet. This was misinterpreted by the translator, as there would be no comment at all. Truman and his advisers saw it as a dismissal with contempt , which was appropriate for them. Although in President Truman s diary, he said that the objective of the atomic bombs should be purely military and that no women and children should be killed, 95% of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims were civilian. It was not necessary to drop the bomb, but it appears that the real purpose was to promote the American domination over Russia. When Albert Camus said that when the bomb was dropped mankind had surely reached its final degree of savagery he was right. The destructive decision of President Truman to drop the atomic bombs on the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki means that today every single inhabitant of the world has to live with the fear that one day, nuclear weapons may mean the end of life on our planet.