On August 6, 1945, the U.S. forced the world to take its first step into the atomic era: without any warning, an American plane dropped a single nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. About 90,000 people were killed immediately after the bomb hit; another 40,000 were injured, and many of whom died in unfathomable agony from the radiation sickness. Three days later, a second atomic strike on the city of Nagasaki killed some 37,000 people and injured another 43,000. Together the two bombs eventually killed an estimated total of 200,000 Japanese civilians. The most fundamental question in regards to this topic would be, was it necessary to drop the Atomic Bomb? But a much more deep rooted question that sparks a lot more controversy is whether or not the dropping of the bomb was within moral boundaries? How does a country justify this kind of war atrocity? You simply cannot justify the morality of one the most ( if not the most ) fundamentally immoral decisions in U.S. war history.
Those who support the dropping of the bomb say that it was ‘revenge’ for what the Japanese had done to pearl harbor, to which most people would rebuttal by comparing the death counts. Which to no surprise, the atomic bomb killed many more people than that of the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 2,402 people were killed, and many were injured. Comparatively speaking, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings killed over 240,000 people. Mathematically speaking, that is about 100 times the amount of people killed at Pearl Harbor. One cannot even begin to debate that the bombing of Pearl Harbor constituted the brutal annihilation of over 200,000 innocent civilian lives.
Much of what takes place during war times between two countries is considered ‘Inhumane’ un-ethical, and ‘immoral’. Both the Japanese and the Americans were guilty of using racism and strategically using media outlets and propaganda to manipulate the public opinion to the governments favor. For the U.S., their plan was to dehumanize the enemy to the point that the majority of the U.S. citizens would build up a sense of nationalism/patriotism towards the Japanese, that would ultimately lead to the American citizens being more accepting to the quick resolution to the war; the dropping of two nuclear bombs. Americans took to dehumanizing the Japanese, making them look like small ape like or monkey like creatures, where the Japanese made the Americans look more like evil gods. The widespread images of the Japanese as sub-human constituted an emotional context which provided another justification for decisions which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands. On the second day after the Nagasaki bomb, President Truman had stated: "The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him like a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true” This quote goes to show that the president deliberately made an effort to desensitize the public to the Japanese and also made it clear that nothing about this war that was morally or ethically orientated; the U.S. had instilled an evil and barbarous perception of what the Japanese are. Using this kind of strategy allowed the U.S. government to subtly control the public’s opinion regarding how they felt about the Japanese and ultimately led to indirectly forcing the citizens to believe that the atomic bomb was the only solution to minimum American casualties and a quick end to the war.
Some of the U.S. hierarchy had a difficult time coping with some of the war atrocities taking place and one man in particular was Henry L. Stimson. Stimson had a feeling of agony over the U.S. air force that had killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. In Stimson’s diary he recorded his conversation with President Truman: "I told him I was anxious about this feature of the war for two