Dropping The Bomb On Japan History Essay

This historical probe will analyze the Manhattan Project and the usage of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Why did the United States pursue the Manhattan Project, and why did the United States decide to drop the atomic bombs on Japan? This probe is conducted utilizing qualitative analysis of articles and books about the development of the atomic bombs and the bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Articles were chosen from media and scholarly beginnings, including the New York Times and the Journal of American History. In add-on, a recent book published about the bombardment of Japan was chosen for its relevancy to the probe ‘s cardinal inquiries. These beginnings were all chosen because they provide impartial grounds and facts and present legion sides of the issues.

Summary of Evidence

Get downing in 1945, and completed during the same twelvemonth, The Manhattan Project was fundamentally defined by the development of the most unsafe bombs known therefore far to the universe: atomic arms that could destruct more land and more citizens than the universe had of all time considered possible. The Undertaking was rushed, chiefly because of Truman ‘s desire to avoid an invasion of Japan, which would hold resulted in a ruinous figure of casualties. As a consequence, Truman chose to halt the war wholly through the usage of the largest bomb of all time used in warfare, besides referred to as the A-bomb ( Gewen, 2008 ) . But prior to the edifice of the atomic bomb, Japan was on the brink of prostration anyhow. The Germans knew they were defeated, but continued to contend to the acrimonious terminal. Harmonizing to most historiographers, the lone thing America had left to make was drop the bomb on Hiroshima, and so Nagasaki, in order to perfectly guarantee the resignation of Japan, and the terminal of World War II ( Gewen, 2008 ) .

Opinions about whether or non America should hold dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima vary. Arguments for and against the bombardment go on even today. The bombardment of Hiroshima has been referred to as “ America ‘s Auschwitz, ” by many, because of the mass race murder in Hiroshima that happened when the bomb was dropped ( Gewen, 2008 ) . New York Times writer Gewen points out how American mainstream society was perfectly enraptured over the development of a bomb that could immediately destruct the enemy. Like Truman, America urgently wanted to see the war semen to an terminal, and the new arm meant a faster triumph for America. It besides meant “ the likely scrapping of a planned invasion of Japan with its incalculable loss of lives ” ( Hiroshima, 1995, parity. 7 ) .

Prior to the bombardment, the figure of United States soldier ‘s casualties was already astoundingly high. In Okinawa entirely, by the summer of 1945, United States casualties were immense. There were 12,500 soldiers dead, and another 36,600 wounded ( Hiroshima, 1995 ) . As a consequence, Truman ‘s scheme to stop the war with freshly created atomic arms was, in general, embraced by the American populace. Government functionaries “ wholeheartedly ” agreed with the determination every bit good ( Hiroshima, 1995 ) . For illustration, Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, and Truman ‘s new Secretary of State, James Byrnes, agreed that the new atomic arm would be really utile in dealingss with Moscow after the war ended, but they disagreed on whether or non alterations needed to be made to America ‘s unconditioned resignation policy in order to let for the possibility of peace between the two states ( Hiroshima, 1995 ) . Therefore, the haste to make the A-bomb began.

Evaluation of Beginnings

Hamby ‘s article in the Journal of American History is indispensable for this probe because it provides a varied history of the legion sides in historical scholarship about the dropping of the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Hamby ‘s article notes that there are bookmans who believe that the United States could hold ended the war with Japan without a land invasion of the fatherland and without dropping the bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In other words, 100s of 1000s of civilians who died from the atomic blasts could hold been spared if the U.S. pursued diplomatic negotiations with the Nipponese leading. However, Hamby besides paperss the grounds in the historical scholarship that contradicts this premiss. There is strong grounds, Hamby notes, that the Nipponese leading ne’er would hold surrendered, and therefore an invasion of the Nipponese fatherland would hold been required, killing 100s of 1000s of soldiers and civilians.

Max Hastings ‘ book, Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-1945, claims that “ the myth that the Japanese were ready to give up anyhow has been so comprehensively discredited by modern research that it is amazing some authors continue to give it acceptance ” ( Hastings, 2009, p. nineteen ) . However, Hastings does non believe this justified the usage of the atomic bombs against civilian populations. Rather, he merely states that the Nipponese military leading would ne’er give up without an extraordinary military licking, or the presentation of the atomic bombs. Hastings therefore suggests that the United States could hold tested the bombs on military marks instead than civilian marks.

Yet the most interesting premiss of Hastings ‘ book is the fact that the American people desired requital against the Japanese. The U.S. and the Allied powers had already killed about 1 million German and Nipponese civilians through air bombardments, so the usage of the atomic bombs was non considered barbarian but instead the equivalent of firebombing major metropoliss with the same consequences as an atomic blast. This sheds visible radiation on the outlooks in the United States about the targeting of civilians during World War II. It was accepted as necessary requital.


One of the inquiries that plague many historiographers are whether or non Japan would hold surrendered even if they had non been bombed ( Hiroshima, 1995 ) . The inquiry has initiated many heated arguments among bookmans. For case, writer and historian, Gar Alperovitz has studied the onslaught on Japan and the affect it had on post-war Japan extensively, and entirely disagrees with the determination. His latest undertaking, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth, in which Alperovitz argues against the atomic bomb, has drawn broad attending ( Hamby, 1997 ) .

Alperovitz argues that the atomic bomb was unneeded to stop World War II for many grounds. First, his thesis espouses that Japan was ready to give up at the clip the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and that the motivations behind the bombardment were hence dishonorable and self-seeking ( Hamby, 1997 ) . He espouses that Japan would hold probably surrendered earlier, if merely the United States had enacted a modified resignation policy that ensured the continued Nipponese Emperor ‘s reign on the throne ( Hamby, 1997 ) .

In add-on, Alperovitz points out that when the USSR entered the image and allied with the United States in August of 1945, Japan would hold more than probably surrendered shortly thenceforth ( Hamby, 1997 ) . Alperovitz criticizes the failure of the authorities to implement a new version of America ‘s resignation policy, and the deficiency of public support for the alteration in general. The determination, he states, was excessively rushed ; this attitude merely kept the war traveling, when it could hold been concluded far earlier than the usage of the atomic bomb was deemed necessary ( Hamby, 1997 ) .

In fact, Alperovitz espouses that the existent ground Truman chose to O.K. the two bombardments was mostly done in order to demo the Soviet Union how powerful America had become ( Hamby, 1997 ) . Largely, America was concerned about possible involvements the USSR had in Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia ( Hamby, 1997 ) . The monopoly of other states by the USSR frightened the United States.

More late, author Max Hastings has suggested that the bombardment on Japan was a necessary action if the war was to halt, and limit the figure of US casualties. This was, in portion, due to the strong and powerful Nipponese defences that were frequently intimidating to American soldiers. In return, US soldiers found it necessary to bomb “ big countries of the metropolis, ” despite being told to keep themselves from monolithic firepower ( Hastings, 2009, p. 137 ) . The difference in civilizations between the Filipinos and Americans was ignored.


Hastings claims that America at times considered avoiding civilian bombing out of regard for “ humanity and their moral standing ” with the Far East ( Hastings, 2009, p. 137 ) . Much to the humiliation of President MacArthur ‘s “ subsidiaries, ” and as cogent evidence of America ‘s desire to demo their regard for humanity, MacArthur refused to use air bombardments over Manila ( Hastings, 2009, p. 137 ) . It was merely when the United States suffered 235 casualties in a individual twenty-four hours that McArthur changed his scheme, leting the military personnels to “ truly travel to town ” ( Hastings, 2009, p. 137 ) . In other words, harmonizing to Hastings statement, the United States had tried about everything to set up some kind of peace with Japan, even if it was within the confines of war. As such, it was the Japanese who propagated the war, non America ; hence, America was forced to travel to the extreme by utilizing atomic arms. This illustration shows how requital was steadfastly entrenched in the American outlook toward the Japanese, who started World War II with the bombardment of Pearl Harbor. Americans cared more about stoping the war without another American soldier ‘s decease, non about deceases of Nipponese civilians.