“Few issues in American History- perhaps only slavery itself- are charged as the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan”, Robert Freeman. On the 8th of August 1945 on a clear morning sky, the B-29 Superfortress aircraft that was later named “Enola Gay” dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” over the skyline of Hiroshima at 8:45 am local time; the bomb would detonate 1,900 ft. above the city, which was the first city in history chosen to be the target of nuclear detonation. “Where we had seen a clear city 2 minutes ago before, we could no longer see a city”, co-pilot of the Enola Gay, Captain Robert Lewis. Both bombs were unnecessary and totally unjustifiable, the bombs were nothing more than senseless civilian casualties in an already bloody war. Although there have been plenty of debates and controversy’s over the past decades the question remains, was the decision justified by the notion that it would save countless of lives or was there other motives involved? This inquiry question will guide my research to the understanding of the events that would end the Second World War. The background information of the war, the U.S involvement during the war, and the reasons for dropping the bombs and the support which I argue against and opposition which I support will be discussed in my research paper.
The U.S entered the Second World War after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. After 4 long years of fighting the American public had enough and wanted to end the war quickly after the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi Germany which ended the European Theater of the Second World War, leaving Japan the last country fighting the Allied Forces. The Battle of Midway on June 1942 would be the turning point of the Pacific War, after the Japanese suffered the first and major defeat during the war and would follow with loss after loss. By October 1944 the remaining Japanese fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After this the U.S. was able to carry out its bombings of Japanese cities without resistance. This would include the fire bombings of Tokyo and Osaka. By mid-1945 Japan was completely defenseless, “Japan was already defeated and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary. “, Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of The Allied Forces in Europe. This sentiment was also shared with the entire senior U.S. officer corps at the time.
The Japanese war machine had given out and by August 1945 her Imperial Navy had ceased to exist. The air force had many planes but no trained pilots with the remaining experienced pilots whom sacrificed themselves in the Kamikaze attacks against the Allied Forces. The army was being pushed back on all fronts with the majority of its main land forces stuck within China. The blockades were also very affective and by then Japan had no resources on the home islands to support her people nonetheless its forces throughout South East Asia. With Japan’s supply lines cut off industry halted to a standstill, even if Japan wanted to continue fighting she lacked the ability to do so. This was widely known during these last stages of the war, as General Curtis LeMay‘s bombers roamed Japan’s skies completely unopposed and by August 1945, 67 cities had been destroyed by conventional and incendiary bombings, with an estimated 2 million civilians reported killed. LeMay stated had no worthwhile targets to task to his bombers and would later acknowledge that if the U.S. had lost the war he would have been tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his part during the war.
With this extension of fierce conventional air raids on Japan there was no need to use the atomic bombs. But one of the main reasons the bombs were chosen were mainly due to the fear of the results and casualties Operation Downfall would have if executed. Operation Downfall was the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland after the recently captured island of Okinawa, planned to…