Dropping of the Bombs

The end of the World War 2 was inevitably close. The United States and its allies ripped through the European countryside and annihilated the German Army. The United States enemy in the Pacific was less likely to surrender anytime soon. Japan still maintained its position of being a hostile enemy, even though the United States issued an ultimatum of an unconditional surrender or the threat of complete destruction. Soon it became evident that the only option of peacewas direct military intervention. On August 6, 1945, President Truman ordered the dropping of an atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, after no surrender, orders were given to drop a second atomic bomb in the city of Nagasaki. The use of these mass destructive weapons was not only necessary for peace, it was also the only assurance that further American casualties would be avoided.

The reason for dropping the two atomic bombs on the cities in Japan was for the immediate and unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire. The peace negotiations with the Japanese were unable to create any solutions and a military conflict with Japan grew closer. Since no negotiations were making progress, Truman would be left with a difficult decision to make. The dilemma that faced Truman was whether he should send troops to Japan to wage a mainland war with the Japanese Army, or to use the latest and most destructive military technology ever seen, the atomic bomb, to end the conflict. If Truman sent troops to the Japanese mainland a bloody and brutal war would rage, possibly for many months, if not longer. There would be countless American casualties and many American soldiers that would never fully recover from physical and psychological wounds that would have been inflicted by a mainland war. Millions of American lives and dollars would have been spent on the battles and countless Japanese civilians and soldiers would have perished as well. The dropping of an atomic bomb would mean a relatively quick ending to the war without any American casualties. The downside would be that countless Japanese civilian lives would be lost.

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The argument that many people bring to light is that the dropping of two bombs in less than three days was not only unjust but also unnecessary. The fact remains that the Japanese was warned that the delay of a peaceful surrender would be a grave mistake. Once the first bomb was dropped, there should have been no doubt about the powers the Japanese was dealing with. The Japanese military leaders might have thought that this was the only atomic bomb America possessed and therefore resist any more efforts of a peaceful resolution. The dropping of another bomb would finally convince the Japanese that the United States clearly had the advantage and resistance would prove to be futile.
There is no doubt that the dropping of the two atomic bombs was devastating and destructive. Many people involved in the creation of the atomic bombs were understandably remorseful about the implications involved with building these weapons. The building and dropping of the bombs were immoral but clearly, there are never morals in war. The Japanese forces already attacked the Hawaiian Island at Pearl Harbor earlier in the war without any declaration of war, killing many American soldiers and civilians. In April of 1943, many American and Filipino prisoners-of-war were brought on a fifty-five mile march, the Bataan Death March, where up to ten thousand soldiers died or were killed by the Japanese Army. The actions of Americans, and the Japanese alike, are justified only in the fact that moral beliefs can not always be accounted for in wartime situations. Killing for any reason is immoral.

The dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only affected American-Japanese relations; it also affected the United States relations with Russia. The bombings would strain the relationship with Russia for decades. This was the start of the nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia. Stalin saw that the America would use atomic weapons if necessary and urged him to start a nuclear weapons buildup of his own. The atomic arms race would also escalate the growing cold war between the United States and Russia to menacing levels. It would not be until the late 1980’s that the effects of the atomic bombings in Japan would finally ease the tension between these two world powers.

In any case, it would be better for the world if every solution to the problems between countries and leaders could be resolved peacefully. This is not the case and will probably never be. The actions of the United States on the days of August 6, and August 9, 1945 were a necessity for the end of World War 2. It was also a victory for the United States in many ways. The Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945, and the United States suffered far fewer casualties than could ever be expected. The victory would propel the country to unparalleled levels of power and prominence. The victory would soon be overshadowed by the growing tension between Russia and America that would dominate world affairs until the end of the Twentieth Century.
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