Was The US Justified In Dropping Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima And Nagasaki?




The decision by the United States to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II remains one of the most controversial topics in Japanese history. People both inside and outside of Japan continue to ask, were the bombings justified? As their 64th anniversary approaches and news this year revealing the existence of a double a-bomb survivor, I thought I would share my opinion on the subject.

To start, let's review the main argument for and against using nuclear weapons in Japan in 1945. The main argument in support of the bombings is that they saved not only American lives but Japanese lives as well. The main argument against their use is the fact that the bombs were horrific weapons that largely targeted civilians.

These two arguments are not necessarily mutually exclusive or contradictory. For example, most people who think dropping the bombs was the right thing to do recognize the fact that the bombs were terrible weapons that did end up killing many civilians. However, they claim that the human cost of the bombings was the price that had to be paid to avoid the potentially far higher cost in lives that would have occurred had the US decided to invade the Japanese home islands.

This was my viewpoint prior to visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But, after seeing the devastating impact of the bombs, I began to question my earlier beliefs. Was the desire to save lives the only factor when deciding to use the bomb? Did they have to drop two bombs so close together? Were there any other options? In searching for answers to these questions and other related questions I have come to change my opinion on the bombings.

The decision by the US to drop atomic bombs on Japan was based on three factors, only one of which is justifiable in my opinion. The first factor was the desire to save American lives, the second was revenge for the humiliation caused by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the third was to demonstrate and warn the Soviet Union of the power of the US military.

By bringing the war to an end quickly the US saved American lives. It may even have saved Japanese lives, but this depends on how long Japanese forces would have continued fighting once the Americans invaded. Estimates vary widely on how many Americans would have been wounded or killed in an invasion of Japan, but generally, they range from 1.2 to 4 million casualties - of which 250,000 to 1 million would have been fatalities.

As for the Japanese, it is estimated that anywhere from 5 to 10 million would have been killed during an invasion - assuming they resisted right until the bitter end. These estimates were largely based on the experience of Allied forces during the invasions of Iwo Jima (6,821 Americans killed compared to 18,300 Japanese deaths) and Okinawa (12,513 Allied deaths compared to 110,000 Japanese). Thus, if the estimate turned out to be true for the invasion of Japan as a whole, it would have been far higher than the estimated 220,000 killed by the bombs themselves.

Of course, saving Japanese lives was never really the goal of the bombs, but it has been used as a justification ever since. What we can say for sure is that the bombs did save American and Allied lives. This in my mind is a legitimate justification for using the bombs, but only if this was the only alternative. I will address this issue in greater detail below, but first let's look quickly at the two other reasons why the US decided to drop the bombs.

The second reason I think the US decided to use nuclear weapons was revenge for the embarrassment at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had launched a sneak attack against the US and they were going to get revenge for what was viewed as a cowardly action. I am not going to dwell too much on this issue, but I think American indignation at the attack is somewhat self-serving. First, this was not the first time Japan had launched a surprise attack, that honour goes to the attack by the Japanese against the Russians at the start of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. In that war, the Japanese victory was hailed as a great triumph and their innovative tactics were praised, so it should not have come as too much of a surprise that Japan would attempt something similar again.

Second, there are ongoing debates as to how much the US government and Roosevelt knew prior to the attack and the timing of the Japanese breaking off diplomatic negotiations. So, even though the attack on Pearl Harbor was technically difficult, it should not have come as a surprise that they would at least try to attack the America's Pacific Fleet. However, the way Japan went about it ultimately shocked and galvanized American public support for the war. This also meant that there was not going to be a large initial public outcry over the use of the bomb.

In the end, revenge is not a legitimate justification for a decision-whether in times of peace or war. This is especially true if you claim (as the US did) that you are upholding higher values such as peace, justice, and democracy.

The final reason I think the US decided to drop the bombs was to demonstrate their power to the Soviet Union - their former ally and emerging rival. During the war with Japan, the US had already showed the power and range of the B-29 bomber, which were responsible (among other things) for the fire bombings of Tokyo on March 10th, 1945 which killed over 100,000 civilians. Incidentally, this is generally believed to be more than the immediate deaths from either Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the Potsdam Conference, which took place from July 16th to August 2nd, Truman revealed to Stalin that the US had a "powerful new weapon." However, Stalin was not too surprised to hear about it, most likely because he had spies who had already informed him of the bomb's existence. Nevertheless, the US wanted to show off the real-life power of the new weapon. The result were the bombings of Hiroshima on August 6th and Nagasaki on August 9th.

The timing of the bombs was also determined by the rapidly changing relationship between the US and USSR. On August 8th, 3 months after V-E day, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The US saw the situation that was developing in Europe and preferred not to face a similar situation in Japan. In the final days of the war, the USSR managed to invade south Sakhalin island, which Russia lost during the Russo-Japanese war. This was in addition to far greater gains achieved against the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo and their protectorate in the northern part of the Korea peninsula.

The US feared that the Soviet Union would invade Hokkaido before they began their invasion of Kyushu. This meant that they not only needed to get Japan out of the war, but in a way that prevented possible Soviet land grabs. It just so happened that the a-bomb fulfilled both objectives. Even though I can see the logic of this from a purely strategic military viewpoint, I still don't think this justifies the decision. In my mind, killing innocent civilians with a horrific bomb to serve geopolitical ends is not a legitimate justification, no matter how much sense it may make from a purely military point of view.

But of the three main factors leading to the ultimate decision, only one-dropping the bomb to limit casualties-was legitimate. The goal in any war is to achieve your objectives, while doing whatever possible to reduce casualties and deaths. The Americans accomplished this by using the bomb. But while this may have been a legitimate reason, I still don't think that the way in which the bombings were carried out was justified because there were other alternatives.

The most powerful argument against using the a-bomb is the terrible nature of the weapon itself. I don't think I need to go into much detail here, since I can't do the topic justice. You should visit the memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in person if you live or plan on visiting Japan. Alternatively, you can read accounts in books such as Hiroshima by John Hersey or visit websites about the bombs themselves such as: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, AtomicBombMuseum.org, and The Nagasaki City Site For Peace & The Bomb. After seeing and reading about the effects of the bomb, I am sure you will/already agree that such weapons are terrible and should ideally never have been used in the first place.

There were two plausible alternatives that the US should have at least attempted before ultimately deciding to drop the bomb. The first of these would have been to include two extra points in the Potsdam Declaration Defining The Terms Of Japanese Surrender issued on July 26th, 1945. First, it should have explicitly mentioned the successful test of a nuclear device on July 16th, 1945 and that if Japan did not surrender, another would be used against them. Second, the Potsdam Declaration should have assured the Japanese that the Emperor would be allowed to remain in power (which is what ultimately happened anyway). Keeping the Emperor in power was important not only as a way for the Japanese not to lose face, but also as a way to sell any peace plan to the public.

Realistically, I don't think this would have been enough to end the war. Many people would disagree based on quotes from people like Eisenhower who stated in November 1963 that, " [...] The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." However, based on what I've read about Japanese wartime thinking, they would have assumed such a declaration was a lie designed to get them to surrender. Nevertheless, it should have been attempted for the sole reason that it may have worked and would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

But assuming the revised Potsdam Declaration did not succeed in ending the war, the second alternative would have been to drop a bomb on one of the many small uninhabited islands that surround Japan. Once the Japanese had observed the destruction, I would have given them one week to let the impact of destruction sink in before obligating them to decide whether to surrender.

This plan would have involved some risk. Obviously, telling the Japanese where the bomb was going to be dropped could potentially have allowed them to shoot down the plane (although the Americans could easily have picked a location where they clearly had air superiority). The second risk is what might have happened if the bomb did not go off. If that were to occur, the Japanese would have convinced themselves that the whole atomic bomb program was a hoax. Again, given the destructive nature of the bomb I think the risks were worth the price of saving civilian lives.

If the Japanese chose not to surrender - even after being told about the bomb and seeing its destructive power - then and only then would I have authorized its use on a Japanese city. This would have been the last of the three bombs originally built and would have meant that the US would have been unable to drop any more right away. But, the Japanese would not have known this and the US ended up in this position anyway after Nagasaki. At this point, I am sure the Japanese would have decided to surrender, albeit without the additional deaths of the second bomb.

Therefore, while I think dropping the bombs saved both American and Japanese lives (especially when compared to the likely cost of a full scale ground invasion), I don't think the decision was justified because of the way in which it was carried out. Revenge for Pearl Harbor and a desire to show the Soviets who was boss in Asia caused the situation to unfold differently than it should have.

The fact that the US did not declare that they had the bomb before using it meant that the Japanese had no way of knowing about its existence. Thus, it came as big a surprise to Japan - just as Pearl Harbor did the for US. At, the very least, the Americans should have allowed more than 3 days to pass before using the second bomb. Its destructive power was unbelievable and I am sure this would have taken some time to sink in. Ideally, the US should have proceeded in a staged approach before ultimately using it against targets where it was widely known many civilians would be killed and injured.

Finally, I want to end with some general thoughts about the conduct of the Pacific War as a whole. I think Curtis LeMay's statement on the conduct of the bombing of Japan as retold by Robert McNamara's in the documentary the Fog of War sums up it best: "LeMay said, if we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals." This quote specifically refers to the killing of civilians during the firebombing of Japanese cities in the spring of 1945. But, if the firebombings were considered war crimes, then using the horrific a-bomb should be as well. Japan started the war, but the a-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki won it for the Allies. As McNamara asked, "What makes it immoral if you lose, and not immoral if you win?"

The fact that, over six decades later, the decision and justifications for dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki continues to be debated shows that it remains a controversial topic. I have given my reasoning why I don't think the US was justified in the way it went about dropping the bombs, but I recognize that you may not share my opinion. Therefore, I encourage you to leave your comments, either in support or against what I have said, below.




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Comments (26)

CraigAugust 5th, 2009 at 2:41 am

I used to believe the Russia thing you explained as well, but there are some holes in that theory:

http://bit.ly/cRpcg

Not really trying to sway ya one way or the other, just recently read a bit about it in Halberstam’s Korean War book.

Might be worth looking into a bit on how much effect the US military had on pulling Russia into the war against Japan

JapanianAugust 5th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

@Craig: I think Roosevelt clearly wanted the USSR in the war and got them to promise as much at Yalta in February, 1945. At that time it was still unknown if the bombs would be ready in time for a fall invasion of Japan or for that matter even work at all.

However, the situation by the summer of 1945 was very different. Truman was now President and he was far lest trusting of Stalin than Roosevelt. The Soviet Union had not withdrawn from Eastern Europe as it had promised to do. The Trinity nuclear test was successful.

This meant US policy towards the Soviet Union was rapidly changing from being war time allies to cold war adversaries. Clearly, not everyone agreed with the changes in policy. In the end though, Truman decided to drop the bombs on Japan which ended the war but at a terrible cost.

Thanks for your comment and I appreciate the link to the newspaper article.

PaulAugust 6th, 2009 at 7:03 am

My thought process was similar – I was originally reluctantly supportive of the US’ decision to drop the first bomb (I think the second dropping is nearly impossible to defend), but after my trip to Hiroshima and hearing from a hibakusha, I changed my mind.

I’m not totally convinced that revenge played a part in the decision, at least for Truman. Even that aside, though, I don’t think the ends justify the use of such terrible weapons.

Well written and thoughtful post, by the way.

LocohamaAugust 6th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Good read! I can’t say I agree with your opinion entirely but it’s a well informed one and that’s admirable. I, too, feel the US atomic bombing of Japan was unjustified, but not for the same reason. I think it comes down to this: Imagine the first humans to use arrows battling against those “savages” who were still using sticks. Or in a more clear and modern example the US Cavalry using guns and rifles against the bows and arrows of the “savage” Native Americans.

A slaughter is the result. A demonstration of utter superiority…a nuclear b$%ch slap is what American wanted to give not only the Japanese but all the “savages” of the world that would dare to challenge its moral authority. Yes, the US lacked foresight, and hindsight for that matter, but it was effective. One tribe’s efforts to show its dominance over all other tribes, including but not especially the Russians. It goes more to what Micheal Moore was trying to get at in “Bowling for Columbine” I think. Most Americans (and I’m one, btw) and certainly the US Government (if their past actions are any indication) are often (not always) motivated by fear and fear rarely if ever brings out the best in people or the kind of rational thinking you’re suggesting took place before the utilization of these abominable weapons.

The US (with the help of “scientists”) built a better arrow and had the God forsaken will (disguised as need) to use it. I guess I have a hard time rationalizing or even analyzing some of the US Government’s behavior over the course of the past 200+ years…The atomic bombing of Japan was horrific but certainly not out of character or even close to the worst that the US has done. I love my country, but some of her past decisions defy reason or the humanitarian concerns that should have been considered before these bombs were dropped.
Just my opinion…
Great Post! (-:

Note the format of this comment was modified to help with readability, but no content was changed.

NavyHeloAugust 6th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

What would you have done in Truman’s situation: New President, no prior knowedge of this fearsome weapon, horrendous recent casualties on nearby Japanese Islands, conflicting advice from top military leaders?

Fortunately, he took the option that most, but not all historians have estimated saved the most US and Japanese lives. There is overwhelming evidence that the only realistic political and military option to the bomb was an invasion that would have cost way more Japanese lives, as well as more Americans.

Were there other, less noble motivations involved? Absolutely! Still the more moral of the only two practical choices was made.

RyanAugust 7th, 2009 at 6:43 am

The comments that you make are well-informed, and I agree with the majority of what you’re saying, however there will never be a justification for nuclear weaponry on this planet, or any other for that matter.

Something so destructive is not the work of a genius, but the work of a coward.

reesanAugust 8th, 2009 at 8:15 am

Great article with some really good insights!

Unfortunately, without knowing the true motivator or reason for dropping the bombs we will never know if it was justified.

Ultimately, I guess, as @Ryan says, there will never be a justification for nuclear weaponry.

But I often wonder about what the intent really was. Were they dropped for reasons other than stopping a war where it was viewed that there was no other option? Or was it to flex some military muscle? Or to production test the results of the Manhattan Project?

At the end of the day, I don’t think we will ever know what discussions went on behind closed doors which would give us insight into the real motivation that went behind dropping the bombs.

dawoAugust 8th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

“What would you have done in Truman’s situation: New President, no prior knowedge of this fearsome weapon, horrendous recent casualties on nearby Japanese Islands, conflicting advice from top military leaders?”

I would first have noted that the smart and halfway-sane generals were telling me NOT to bomb civilians.

Then I would recall that I was a Christian, elected by Christians, and that the generals were saying that to slaughter the Japs would be unChristian barbarism.

Then I would wait a week and actually talk to the damn Japs and tell them they could keep their emperor so long as they abandoned colonialism and accepted a USA base.

Meanwhile the USA navy would encircle the island and prevent oil and food from feeding the Japanese war machine.

Then I would have had Oppenheimer executed for being a Communist spy.

JamaipaneseAugust 10th, 2009 at 12:28 am

to answer your question…no.

savannahSeptember 18th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

can you please remove this? first of all not only is it offensive to me but i completely disagree with it. if you could remove it that would be much appreciated.

Cotton HillSeptember 22nd, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Alright the US had to get er down. We done killed us pleanty of Nazies now we had to take care of them japs for killin our boys in the pacific with their sneak attacks. The Japs started that war they didnt realize they had messed with the dog in the dog house though. They thought they were tough like the nazies but we showed them. The A bombs saved American lives and them Japs desearved it because of the way the sneak attacked us at pearl harbor

JapanianOctober 12th, 2009 at 2:53 am

I am just wondering, why you think it is offensive? And no, I am clearly not going to remove it.

edDecember 7th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

In the end two wrongs do not make a right,both countries were wrong for what they did.There are no winners here just survivors.The country of Japan needed to be punished but not in this fashion.Would i have dropped the bombs, yes just look at the bs we are going thru now in the middle east.I am all for saving the lives of american service men and woman.

BobJanuary 14th, 2010 at 4:02 am

Truman made the right decision based on the situation he faced. America was tired of the prolonged war and our troops were weary and really not wanting to face more of the killing that the prior four years had seen. War is hell, and not fair, but we didn’t start it and I feel that the decision to use the weapons available in our arsenal was fair. We got a bargain for $2Billion, and save a whole lot of humanity. Truman made the decision after deliberation and I’m sure a lot of prayers. A lot of innocent people were killed. A lot more saved. As I said, War is hell.

taylor red head whoreMarch 4th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

ya man. good shit

MaxMay 5th, 2010 at 5:10 am

I’ve been researching this ever since I learned about in school. The reason I’m so fascinated by it is because my Grandmother is a hibakusha; she was in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped. She survived, thank God, and is alive to today. She has told me many times about what happened. I used to believe that the use of the bomb was a smart move by the U.S, saving U.S & Japanese lives. But now, as I examine what the cost was, and the terrible and ongoing discrimination to surviving hibakusha, I view the bombing as terribly unethical. Was it necessary? Possibly. But does that make it ok? No. The end does not justify the means.

…If a bomb built back then could cause so much destruction, imagine what a modern and more powerful bomb could do. I fear for the future of all mankind.

djd201July 27th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I deeply feel that trying to rationalize extreme usages of force in the point of war scenarios is often a mute point. All too often in war, point vs. counter-point is a lost war in itself. The truth of the matter is, the bombings saved statistical loss of life and purposefully concluded the war.

Japan had proven itself to be a stubborn unrealistic foe throughout the war, and their stand and fortitude would not have changed even if we had laid siege to their island for 100 years. I often wondered if a bombing site on a nearby island might have convinced them, but although only three days separated the two atomic bombs they did not change their resolve, there was no point in expecting anything to change the Japanese people’s tenacity and fortitude to not accept surrender.

This is evident in the mass suicides before and after the bombing as defeat loomed near in the future for the Japanese soldiers in combat and the civilian population of the devoted fundamentalist Japanese populace. If the first bomb in Hiroshima didn’t change their indignation, then the second one was merely a point made to convince them that we had our own resolve to continue an accumulative bombing campaign to a point of annihilation.

The humane viewpoint of the bombing is mute to, for at the time there were so many compiled atrocities by the Japanese military that point-counter point is a foolish and senseless endeavor. The original point is simply put, we should stay off war in all forms unless as a last resolve and then surely not arbitrate its usage against the voices of peace mongers who accept no answer other than their own.

Japan had assaulted and declared war upon China and the US in a vain attempt to gain superiority at a time when they felt that the US was weak from having to fight the German War campaign, and as was said “Awakened a sleeping giant” in the process. Its war campaign was full of inhumane uncivil and horrific abuses against civilian populations and war POWs.

Their code of honor in civilian life and military protocol prevented the idea of surrender, and excused inhumane treatment of their foes since as so with the Germans, they felt themselves a superior race. The obliterations caused by the atomic bombs were simply and truthfully horrific, yet in war, horrific is a common definitive. War if waged, should be wielded with stern determination in itself to shorten its nightmarish scenario.

The atomic bombings were just that and if used early on would have saved the horror of war from being felt by sunken war ships with drowning, shark eaten soldiers at sea and starving, disease ridden people in occupied territories. The bombings of civilian populations would have been lessened, yet the world had felt that nightmare with the recent bombing campaigns in London and Berlin, so Japan was no one special to be exempt from the casualties felt in war.

They had enjoyed their glories and in an effort not unlike revenge, but mainly resolve to end the war, the atomic bombs were justified, considering that any excuses not to use them would simply have cost the world hundreds of thousands more in the lives of the innocent and not so innocent involved. If it were as simple as today with technology changes, the US could have set offshore and used cruise missiles and implemented targeted smart bombing strikes to neutralize the Japanese war effort.

Yet, the time was then and not now and the US used what was laid at hand for them. That leaves the point-counter point pretty much answered, except for those whose denial fortitude is as stubborn as the Japanese, simply put. For those who chose to hold no answer but their own, the bomb of truth will not help, for stubbornness is their god, and denial their bible.

Edited For Format

MitchNovember 4th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

This is a tough one. While I think that America should not have killed all those people with the atomic bombs, not using them would have just prolonged the Pacific struggle. If you need examples of Japanese atrocity, look at the Bataan Death March or how the first objective when Manila was retaken was to liberate the POW camps. The Japanese were ready to kill all prisoners in the camps when the city was retaken.

If you fight a foe who does not bow to your overwhelming force, what other option is there. War is a plague of mankind, the longer it goes on, the more it destroys. People are killed, economies are destroyed and countries are ravaged. To possess a weapon that can end all of this suffering with a fraction of the cost of loss of the alternatives is a clear choice. Use it or die trying to take Japan. No one can doubt that every Japanese man, woman and child would have fought to the death defending their supposedly superior “Yamato” race. No one can doubt that hundreds of thousands and even millions would have been killed as a result.

The shorter war can be made, the better. The lesser of two evils was, strangely enough, using an atomic weapon. The world is a sick, twisted place.

TedNovember 27th, 2010 at 12:09 am

I too have examined this question and you make some good points
but have left out others.

Revenge, no by this time there had already been enough punishment
heap on Japan.

Tokyo had already been bombed with more casualties than either Atomic bomb, if Truman had wanted to give Americans their revenge that would have been it.

Also the US 8th Air Force dropped one-million leaflets over 36 Japanese cities on Aug 1 warning them of terrible destruction and telling them to evacuate, each target city
was listed on the leaflet.
This was done on order of Truman over the objections of the Air force, does that sound like a President bent revenge?

There was also a third bomb being prepped for dropping, after Nagasaki
Truman gave a direct order that it not be used without his permission, the
thought of killing another 100,000 Japanese was just too horrible to bear.

If Truman wanted to scare the Soviets, then why tell Stalin about the weapon
in advance?

Why not just use it and shock them the way it was used to shock Japan.

If he was worried about the Soviets invading and grabbing land, then why
did he press so hard to get Stalin to declare war on Japan at the Potsdam
Conference. After all doing that would give the Soviet Union a seat at the
negotiating table, which gave them North Korea and the islands anyway.

If the Americans thought that Japan was anywhere near surrendering
who needed the Soviets. Yet reporters who accompanied him to Postdam
wrote later that Truman was jubilant about getting Stalin to finally commit.

While it is agreed that Japan was defeated, surrender was another matter.
The US knew about the massive build up of troops and equipment in Southern
Japan under operation Ketsu-go. Japan was preparing to conscript every
civilian of fighting age armed with nothing more than an assortment of
farming tools, swords and explosives.

The Americans knew from 2 yrs of fighting that Japanese were suicidal and
90% preferred death to surrender, why should they expect Japan to be any
different? 100,000 civilians died during the battle of Okinawa, thousands of them
were coerced by the Japanese Army to commit suicide. Of the 150,000 Japanese defenders the Us only took 7,000 prisoners, 8,000 kamakazi pilots
attacked the US fleet .

What most people also don’t realize is that although elements of the Japanese Govt who were making attempts to negotiate a surrender weeks before the bombs were dropped, including the Prime Minister himself, had no authority or control over the military.

There was even a plot by junior Army officers to assassinate members of the “Peace Faction” incl the Prime Minister and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of the Gov’t, Army Minister Gen. Anami knew about this and did nothing to intervene.

The leaders of the “War Faction” were bent on continuing the war even after both bombs were dropped and the Soviets declared war on Japan.

The intent was to try and kill one million Americans and force the US to sue for peace on terms favorable to Japan thereby allowing them to save face.

Only the personal intervention of the Emperor himself forced the military to stand down, it was the only decision he had made during the entire war.

Even after that decision had been made a group of Jr. officers broke into the Imperial Palace. They were looking for the recording the Emperor had made to inform Japanese about the intention to surrender. Fortunately the Emperor had the foresight to hide the recording in his wife’s overnight chamber which was never searched. It was smuggled out of the palace the next day and broadcast nation wide.

This is an example of haw far some in Japan were prepared to go.

millieDecember 6th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

persuasive,
but you have to realize that the bombings did, in the end, end the war…
and i dont really believe much else could have done this… even after the two bombings, the Big Six in Japan were torn 50/50 on the decision of surrender… even after hundreds of thousands of their innocent people had been killed from their refusal to surrender, Japan’s leaders at the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War (the Big Six) were not solely for surrender. this extreme makes me think that this bombing was, in the end, necessary. im not saying it was a good thing to do, and im DEFINITELY not saying it was a humane thing to do, but i dont believe anything else really would have been successful in ending the war… because even this tragedy came very close to not being enough to end the war.

GregApril 18th, 2011 at 1:26 am

Did you know Harry S. Truman was not infact the deciding factor in whether or not the bomb be dropped. Actually Stalin knew about the bomb being built before Truman as he had spies in on the Manhatten Project. Byrnes, one of Truman’s advisors, had the most influence on the use of the bomb. And even though Truman did make the final decision he was not the person with the greatest intent to use it.
I am writing in a essay on whether or not the use of the atomic bomb was right or not and I believe that it was necessary at the time. They did not know the long term effects of radiation the bomb would have had and if they knew this there decision may have been different. I have not visited Hiroshima or Nagasaki and my opinion may very well change after seeing that. Right now i do beleive the use of the bomb was correct in saving the millions of lives all throughout the world.

SmotMarch 29th, 2012 at 7:46 am

i THINK the U.S reacted by emotions. Even when i watched pearl harbour movie, i wept. And strongly felt Japan deserved the impact.

J.S.DugalApril 14th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

The dropping of Atomic bombs by the US over Japan were an act of human frustration and cowardice whereby the American President had to use the Ultimate weapon to save the humiliation suffered by the Americans over Pear Harbor caused by the genuineness of the Japanese brain and that to using only obsolete war machinery.
An argument has been given that it was done so to save the American lives if the US invaded Japan which were estimated more than the lives lost in bombing. May be so but did the American president realize the after effects of an Nuclear holocaust or was he to dumb or naive.
The US invaded Iraq to prevent Saddam from using WMD ?? where as US is the ONLY country in the world till date to have used them. The Americans can NEVER digest a defeat. Pearl Harbor took to use of WMD and the Twin Towers to destruction and killing of thousands of innocent men and women for NO real motive or reason only the American EGO.

KayApril 19th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I think you’ve given a very detailed and well-structured commentary on the incident. I have always thought controversial topics are usually seriously affected by one’s patriotism or one’s intuitions and assumptions towards past decisions of blocs and governments. But still, I am just betwixt and between.

its a secretMay 4th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

but why didn’t you but the president harry truman’s statement, that was a good part of the seen

AnteMay 9th, 2012 at 10:16 am

Some of the people commenting on this are just stupid, I can’t say much about the article given that I have not read the whole thing but I wish to make a few things clear,
First: Robert Oppenheimer was not a Communist Spy, he was one of Hitler’s best scientists and one of the best scientists in the world at the time along with Einstein, who was kidnapped by the Americans to disadvantage NAZI Germany.
Second: Anyone who says that the atomic bombs are not a work of genius but rather the work of a coward is an idiot, I already mentioned that Oppenheimer and Einstein both worked on the Manhattan Project to make the bombs but as well as that, the process of Nuclear fission (tearing an atom in two) that happens inside an atomic bomb is the second most powerful man made or natural chemical reaction on the planet, the first being Nuclear Fussion (combining to atoms together not yet possible), both of which are describe by Einstein’s Theory of E=MC2 (squared), so in fact these two processes could be used to power many cities for hundred of years as a sustainable / renewable energy source instead of fuel. Therefore, I do not think that Einstein, Oppenheimer and the remaining scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project should be called cowards because they did not make the decision to drop the bomb. (all written by a 16 year old History and Physics student) Thanks for reading…

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