The Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Were They Necessary?
Controversy. Controversy. Controversy. If anything came out of the decision to drop the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, it was controversy. The resolution, authorized by President Truman towards the end of World War II, appears to have been a desperate and necessary attempt to end the war. Though there are numerous debates, both political and moral, that argue otherwise.
After years of fighting everyone was looking for an end to the war. But did the atomic bombs take it too far? Were they necessary? Although President Truman says he “regarded the bomb as a military weapon and never doubted it should be used” (Truman), Chief of Staff, Admiral Leahy had a different point of view. “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” (Leahy).
Leahy wasn’t alone in his opinion. Many believed that in waiting the war would end soon anyway, and hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. Secretary of War Henry Stimson understood that war means death; no matter what choice Truman made, there would be casualties. Stimson also understood though, that it ended the awful sights the war had to offer. “The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the Japanese war. It stopped the fire raids, and the strangling blockade; it ended the ghastly specter of a clash of great land armies.”
When Truman made his decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think it was a bad idea, but in a good way of protecting ourselves from Japan. The reason why I think it was a bad decision was that he didn't really give them enough time to respond, and send a surrender letter. When we didn't receive a letter, we figured they didn't take us seriously. I think the Japanese didn't get the ...
Those that had seen enough of the war such as the G.I.s, were actually grateful for the atomic bombs. To them, the atomic bombs meant an end to the war, and an end to the war meant a chance to go home. Lester Bernstein explains, “For Americans in uniform and those who waited for them to come home, outrageous as this might appear from the moral heights of hindsight, it was a sunburst of deliverance.” Their return home signifies the destruction of the homes of others. After the bombs dropped Hiroshima has been described as “a burned over prairie” when before it was a city. A civilian illustrated the scene in his journal, “Those who could fled; those who could not perished. Hiroshima was no longer a city… everything was flattened. The distant mountains seemed nearer than I could ever remember. How small Hiroshima was with its houses gone.”
Michihiko Hachiya, the civilian, was right. The effects of the bomb were devastating. People were left with no money, no food, and no shelter. Many were killed and some were injured. Radiation poisoned the air and water, an effect that still manages to cause some problems today. Which again brings about the question, was this necessary?
As there were political arguments, there were also moral arguments. A writer for Tokyo’s Nippon Times described the dropping of the bombs as an act of nihilism. The individual believes that when the U.S. struck the two cities with the nuclear weapons they lost their morals, principles, and values. The writer states, “This is a crime against God and humanity which strikes at the very basis of moral existence. What meaning is there in any international law, in any rule of human conduct, in any concept of right and wrong if the very foundations of morality are to be overthrown as the use of this instrument of total destruction has threatened to do?” Not only was Japan finding America immoral, but even Truman’s own Chief of Staff thought the decision gave America a bad name for itself. “In being the first to use it, we… adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”
It was apparent also, that Truman tried justifying his decision. If they just did a demonstration on a deserted island, an idea that was taken into consideration, there was a chance there could be American casualties, as well as the fact that it wouldn’t be enough to scare Japan into surrendering. Also, the U.S. couldn’t afford to not detonate the bombs, because so much money went into making them.
Description: YES to the boxing of Hiro Body of Essay: The bomb was dropped for many reasons and President Truman was faced with a hard decision to drop the bomb. During World War II, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. If he dropped the bomb he would surely have killed an estimated 200, 000 Japanese and the city of Hiroshima. Otherwise he would risk the invasion of Japan, which would ...
The atomic bombs have been considered a necessity to end a brutal war. To cease the increasing amount of casualties and attacks, more casualties and another attack had to be made. But this led to massive destruction within two cities, hundreds of thousands of deaths, long-term radiation poisoning, and a barbaric label branded onto America’s name. In the long run, the decision to end the war with the atomic bombs seems to have been the right one. But who is to say where we would be right now if they hadn’t been dropped. Unfortunately, as Secretary of War Henry Stimson said, “The face of war is the face of death…” there is no way around it. Although Japan was near its breaking point, if we had let the war go on we could have been attacked, and Truman understood that was a risk we couldn’t afford to take.