History Atomic Bomb Essay

Words: 3526
Pages: 15

In early August 1945 atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These two bombs quickly yielded the surrender of Japan and the end of American involvement in World War II. By 1946 the two bombs caused the death of perhaps as many as 240,000 Japanese citizens1. The popular, or traditional, view that dominated the 1950s and 60s – put forth by President Harry Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson – was that the dropping of the bomb was a diplomatic maneuver aimed at intimating and gaining the upper hand in relations with Russia. Today, fifty-four years after the two bombings, with the advantage of historical hindsight and the advantage of new evidence, a third view, free of obscuring bias and passion, …show more content…
Adding even more pressure from a military standpoint came when a second invasion was discussed and tentatively planned for March 1946, consisting of a landing on mainland Honshu, and would certainly be "proportionately more violent.11" After the dropping of the bombs President Truman, Secretary of War Stimson and others claimed that the military pressures discussed above were the only reason for deciding to drop the bombs. Stimson wrote, "At no time, from 1941 to 1945, did I ever hear it suggested by the President, or any other responsible member of the government, that atomic energy should not be used in the war, " and also added, "The entire purpose was the production of a military weapon.12" Thus the traditional view was established, the bomb was a legitimate weapon of war and used only for military purposes. The simplistic military view was furthered by press releases in the weeks following the bombings. For example, the New York Times, quoted Truman on August 7th with phrases such as, "Hiroshima was a major military target," and, "We have spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history—and won.13" These phrases and others gave readers the single-sided view that the bomb was dropped for military reasons, and through the entirety