Atomic Bomb Essay

Submitted By buckholtz
Words: 3199
Pages: 13

Towards the end of World War II in 1945, two atomic bombings occurred in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The countries that made up the Allies planned on invading Japan in what they called Operation Downfall. The United States gave Japan an ultimatum to surrender in the Potsdam Declaration or else they would destroy Japan. The Japanese government, however, ignored this ultimatum. Two nuclear weapons that were developed during the Manhattan Project were put to use. On August 6, 1945, the bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the other bomb, “Fat Man,” was dropped over Nagasaki. The effects of dropping the bombs killed thousands of people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. About half of these deaths occurred on the first day of the bombings, but within a few months many more people were dying from the radiation, the effects of the burns, and other illness. The Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945. On September 2, they signed the Instrument of Surrender, thus ending World War II. After these bombings, Japan adopted principles where it was forbidden to use or manufacture nuclear weapons in Japan. There are still debates today over if the bombings were the reason why Japan surrendered and if they were ethical or not. Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only kill citizens in both of those cities, but also killed Allied Prisoners of War that were being held captive in Japan.1
In their book Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan-and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb, Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar discuss what would have happened if the United States did not drop the atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities on August 6 and August 9, 1945. They explain the preparations that both the United States and Japan took towards an invasion, which they called Operation Downfall. To prepare for the invasion, Japan was training civilians to kill anyone that invaded. Weapons of germ warfare and poison gas were considered being used by both sides. If Operation Downfall would have occurred, World War II would have continued for another year and a half and it could have cost a significant amount of Americans and Japanese their lives. However, the invasion didn’t occur and President Truman wanted to use the atomic bomb.
When the bombs were dropped, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Japan then surrendered. Allen and Polmar expose how part of the Japanese military wanted to overturn the decision that the Emperor made to surrender because they wanted to continue fighting. There were also opinions on the American side that were conflicting. Some believed that an invasion wouldn’t be necessary to defeat Japan but others wanted to invade. Although Truman hoped that that dropping the bombs would end the war he didn’t consider it as an alternative to the invasion. Additional atomic bombs would have been made and used against Japan if they would have fought back. Different historians have argued about whether using the atomic bombs was immoral and unnecessary. Allen and Polmar, however, disagree. They describe their personal beliefs about those who determined how the war was going to play out. This book allows its readers to determine for themselves whether or not they think Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb was justified. 2
Allen and Polmar believed that “anyone who closely and dispassionately examines the last weeks of the war would have to conclude that Truman was looking for ways to end the conflict honorably and at the lowest possible cost in American and Japanese lives.” Truman was worried about the lives of Americans. They then went on to explain that President Truman wanted to make sure that Joseph Stalin would enter the war against Japan, so in July he went to Potsdam. They stated, “Then Truman learned on July 16 that the atomic bomb would work, and he ordered it used. It was a