Atomic Bombing CBA
World History B Period 3
6 June 2012 Crossing the Moral Threshold?
On August 6, 1945, a new step in technological warfare was taken when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The impact of the bomb alone killed at least 66,000 people. (Atomic bomb) this was an event that would not soon be forgotten in history. The American, government knew the devastating effects of their new weapon, still chose to use it rather than an alternative means to peace. Many people still argue whether or not it was necessary when Japanese surrender was considered to be a matter of time. Historians also dispute whether the campaign was a morally justified objective. This phrase alone brings up many interesting questions. Can killing thousands of innocent people ever be considered "justified"? Yes, if one considering these circumstances related to fighting in the pacific in WWII the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was militarily and morally justified.
Get Japan out of occupied lands during this time period Japan had become a great military power. They conquered many islands in the Pacific including the Philippines. The Philippines was where the infamous Bataan Death March occurred. Many American and Filipino soldiers were killed in battle or executed. (Sherrow page 43) these casualties caused many hates the Japanese to. A hate that would fuel their burning rage and eventually lead to Japan's own destruction.
In mid-1945, President Roosevelt died and was replaced by Harry S. Truman. As the new President of the United States, Truman was informed about the nuclear research project that had been dubbed "The Manhattan Project." (Sherrow page36) At this point in time it the war between America and Japan was coming to an end. Japanese surrender was considered to be inevitable, just simply a matter of time. It was not known if the atomic bomb would be ready in time. It was also argued whether the bomb would be necessary. Truman asked Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, to assemble a group of military advisors and scientists that could help him come to a decision. (Sherrow page 69-70)
Many factors were considered in returning peace between Japan and America. Nevertheless, this decision very emotional but made econ sense. After four years, the Americans had not forgotten about the strategic military bombing of U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor. The anger, which was still plentiful among Americans, played a major role in the immoral decision made. America had also just spent $ 2 billion on the production of the atomic bomb and although it had not been tested, scientists were confident in its success. (Sherrow, page 68) this large sum of money was spent to create a means of ending the war quickly. The idea of all their hard work and time spent for nothing was not pleasing. The concept of wasting money, time and hard work in addition to the feeling of curiousity and anger lead the Americans to their decisiry.
A common justification to the Hiroshima bombing was that no logical alternatives existed--this is a false interpretation. Many logical alternatives existed; unfortunately, none were as appealing as the quick and deadly A-bomb. The option of sending in troops for a land I was im would have certainly caused many Allied and Japanese casualties. However, the advantage to this strategy is that it minimized civilian casualties. (Sherrow page 68- 69) Unfortunately, the amount civilian casualties were not an influential factor in the outcome.
In this particular war both countries had access to planes, submarines, infantry and ships. Taking into consideration the destructive capability of these weapons, the idea of no civilian casualties during war is absurd. War itself is an unjustified action, although some forms of war are considered unavoidable. In the event of an unavoidable conflict, civilian casualties should be avoided by all means necessary. It is only