U.S History Research Paper: Was the Dropping of Atomic on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Justified?

2021-07-13 15:46:58
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Harvey Mudd College
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Research paper
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The Second World War is arguably the deadliest conflict that led to the death of more than 60 million people from different regions of the world. The incidence of the war has significantly impacted the history of United States of America since it was one of the nations which primarily participated in the war (Lyons, 130). The country's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the war has instigated numerous debates on whether or not the attack was justified. In my opinion, the act was inhumane, therefore; the United States of America was not justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War Two.

The Second World War was caused by issues such as the failure of the agreements made under the Treaty of Versailles, rise of Italian fascism, the militarization and invasion of China by Japanese, and political takeover of Germany by the Nazi Party under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The outbreak of the war was however triggered in September 1st, 1939 when Britain and France declared war on German after it invaded Poland. The United States of America joined the war after Japanese bombed its naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7th December 1941 (Lyons, 139). Americans intended to keep themselves away from the war even though they hoped the Allies would win the war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that United States involvement in the war would be inevitable. He started campaigning for their investment in military resources and training in anticipation of their entry into the war. President Roosevelt also viewed the United States as the great arsenal of democracy,' and thus encouraged the sale, loaning, and leasing of armories to Allies member countries such as France and Britain (.Roosevelt, 1). The brilliance of most of the military leaders of America like Dwight D. Eisenhower who later became the nation's 34th President enabled the Allies to win various battles against Axis troops from countries like Germany, Japan, and Italy.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is one of the most memorable events of World War Two. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by a B-29 bomber on 6th August 1945 (Feis, 124). The explosion destroyed 90 percent of the city and instantly killed 80000 people. The second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later by another B-29 bomber, killing about 40000 people. The destructiveness of the bombs led Emperor Hirohito of Japan on August 15th of the same year to announce his country's unconditional surrender via a radio address. The war officially ended on 2nd of September 1945 when the Japanese signed the surrender documents at Tokyo Bay on the deck of the United States battleship USS Missouri. Apart from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki other major turning points for Americans during the war were, the 1942 Battle of Midway, the 1943 invasion of Italy, 1944 Allied invasion of France, and the 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki evoked various reactions among the citizens of America and from different nations around the world on whether or not the country's action was justified. Despite the numerous reasons why this United States was not justified in dropping the atomic bombs, individuals who support their decision claim that the United States was justified in dropping the bombs. They argue that the nation's action enabled them to end the war and thus prevent further destruction of property and death of civilians and military men who were expected to invade Japan (Herken, 9). This was not the case since the bombs destroyed 90 percent of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and were also some of the most vicious single attacks in the war since it led to an instantaneous death of more than 120000 thousand people. According to them the bombs sped up the surrender of Japanese since their Emperor who had previously vowed to continue fighting finally surrendered. His move thus enabled the different countries to start concentrating on how they can rebuild themselves since peace was restored.

The forceful surrender, however, created enmity between people of the United States and Japanese thus making it very hard for the two countries to work together. It has also made Americans live in fear of a possible revenge attack by the Japanese. Those in support of the attack also claim that the bombing was justified since it enabled United States to keep the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in check thus allowing peace to prevail. They further argue that the atomic bombs allowed the United States to establish its dominance since the destructive power that the nation possessed made it to be viewed as the world most powerful country which could not be challenged by any nation. Even though the attack enabled the United States to keep USSR in line and made it the world's most powerful nation, it encouraged countries to make weapons that are more deadly in anticipation of World War Three, thus leading to the occurrence of the Cold War (Herken, 11).

The dropping of the atomic bombs was unjustified since although Japan had not officially surrendered it was already defeated because its strong allies like Germany and Italy had already surrendered. United secretary of war Henry Lewis Stimson also thought it was not necessary for the state to drop the bombs. According to him, Japan's navy was destroyed, its islands were surrounded by the Allies Naval ships that blocked the channels they used in importing raw materials and food into the islands, and its cities were under concentrated air attacks. Thus indicating they would in time have to surrender peacefully. The United States attempt to keep the Soviet Union in check by causing the death of more than 200000 people in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attack instigated USSR to conduct numerous weaponry research and innovation with the intent of ensuring they are equipped with such deadly weapons in case of a retaliatory attack.

American's decision to drop the bombs was against one of its main reason for entering the war which was to fight for the right to life of innocent civilians like the Jews who were being killed by Germans. This is because the state's action also led to the death of many innocent people. Their attack can be equated to inhuman attacks such as the 9/11 terrorist attack since both did not take into account the rights of innocent civilians like children who did not take part in the conflict. According to Feis (195), the devastating effects of the atomic bombs were not expected by the United States and were thus regrettable. The effects even lead Captain Robert Lewis who was the co-pilot of Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew Enola Gay' the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima to regrettably ask what they have done after they dropped the bomb. The nation is also not justified in dropping the bomb since the effects of its radiation have significantly adversely affected the lives of citizens of Japan who lived near Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of them have sired children who have various forms of deformity that may be linked to genetic mutation caused by the effects of the atomic bomb radiation (Kamiya et al. 473)

In conclusion, the Second World War was a vicious war that saw the destruction and death of many innocent people around the world. Unite States primary intention of dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to force Japan to surrender. However, United States ignorance of the possible devastating effects of the bomb shows the nation's decision to drop the bomb was not justified.

 

Work Cited

Feis, Herbert. The atomic bomb and the end of World War II. Princeton University Press, 2015.Herken, Gregg. The winning weapon: The atomic bomb in the cold war, 1945-1950.

Princeton University Press, 2014.Kamiya, Kenji, et al. "Long-term effects of radiation exposure on health." The Lancet 386.9992(2015): 469-478.

Lyons, Michael J. World War II: A short history. Routledge, 2016.

Roosevelt, Franklin D. "The great arsenal of democracy." delivered December 29 (1940).

 

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