On December 7th, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. They destroyed millions of dollars worth of ships and other military weapons. Nearly 2,500 people were killed in this attack.
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At the time, World War II was being fought all around the world, but the United States wanted to stay out of it because of how catastrophic World War I was. Japan believed that the United States was going to join the war anyway, so they made the first move by bombing Pearl Harbor. After the attack, the United States declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan, as they were all allies. It became known it was going to be the most gruesome war the world had ever seen before.
Although Germany had the larger army, the worst battles of the war happened in Japan. Two examples of this were the battle of Okinawa and the battle of Iwo Jima. These battles alone killed close to 100,00 people between Japan and the United States. It made the United States realize that Japan was not going to surrender and caused the United States to make the decision to drop two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many people argue that the atomic bombs were not necessary because they were on the verge of surrendering. Reasoning that supports that is that their navy was extremely weak and were under a naval blockade. They also no longer had allies because both Italy and Germany surrendered. Although Japan was being weakened by the day, it was necessary to drop the atomic bombs because it not only saved Americans, it saved Japanese lives as well and ended World War II completely.
Although many people did believe the atomic bomb was unnecessary, there are many reasons behind why it was. Harry S. Truman, a veteran of World War I, saw the horrors of war close up, and was strongly influenced to deploy any weapon that might bring the horrific war to an end. (U.S. National Park Service). Harry S. Truman was our president at the time and knew how awful the battle field could be, except that this war was worse than the war he fought in being that there almost double the amount of casualties. Japanese soldiers worshipped their emperor as if he was a God, listening and following every command he gave.
Even after the bombs were dropped, Japan still had yet to surrender. On Aug. 10, the Japanese Prime Minister appealed to the Emperor himself. (Legion Magazine). It took four more days for the emperor to announce they they had surrendered once and for all. This proves that Japan’s emperor still had no mercy for their civilians. Without the two bombs, no one knows how much longer the war would have went on before the Emperor either ran out of men to fight or finally came to the realization he should finally give up.
Many people say that the bomb caused unnecessary deaths to civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but in reality it saved many more lives than it killed because the emperor would have made more and more troops fight until he had little to none left. In 1983, at the annual observance of Hiroshima’s destruction, an elderly Japanese professor recalled that at war’s end, due to the extreme food rationing, he had weighed less than 90 pounds and could barely climb a flight of stairs. I couldn’t have survived another month, he said. If the military had its way, we would have fought until all 80 million Japanese were dead. Only the atomic bomb saved me. Not me alone, but many Japanese, ironically speaking, were saved by the atomic bomb. (Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb). This shows how bad Japan was suffering with their emperor showing no remorse to the citizens there.
Although our army was still very strong at the time when we dropped the bombs, we were billions of dollars in debt. Another article states, If the atomic bombs had not had the devastating effect they had, they would have been utterly pointless. They replaced thousands of US bombing missions that would have been required to achieve the same effect of the two bombs that, individually, had the explosive power of the payload of 2,000 B-29s. This freed up resources that could be utilised for the war effort elsewhere. (History Extra). This article explains that if the bomb would or would not have been dropped, the same amount of people and the same destruction of land would have been done to Japan. The two bombs were just a much faster and inexpensive way to end the war.
To go along with that, the war had been going on for roughly seven years now and time was running out for America before the country went into depression. President Truman knew that the last thing America could handle was another depression considering the country just got out of one not too long ago.
Before the atomic bomb was even considered, the US bombed Japan continuously. On March 9, 1945, 300 American B-29s devastated a working-class, industrial area of Tokyo, destroying most of a 16 square mile target area and killing an estimated 100,000 civilians. (U.S. News & World Report). This shows that although Japan was lost thousands of citizens in just one day, they had not even thought about surrendering and were just going to keep fighting a war they knew they could not win. The United States had more weapons, trained military personnel, and money going into all of it than Japan did.
Although Japan had a lot of fight, that could only take them so far before realizing it was all too much to handle. Truman then made the executive decision to initiate the Manhattan Project (the dropping of the atomic bombs). The bombs dropped on August 6 and 9. The next day, the Japanese requested a halting of the war. On August 14 Emperor Hirohito announced to the Japanese people that they would surrender, and the United States celebrated V-J Day (Victory over Japan). Military planners had wanted the Pacific war finished no later than a year after the fall of Nazi Germany. The rationale was the belief that in a democracy, there is only so much that can reasonably be asked of its citizen soldiers (and of the voting public). As Army Chief of Staff George Marshall later put it, a democracy cannot fight a Seven Years’ war. (Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb).
In conclusion, World War II was a very long and dreadful war that needed to be ended. The bomb was the most effective way of doing this without losing hundreds of thousands of our own men in a war we did not want to get involved with in the first place. Although their army might had been weak and on the verge of surrendering, they were still ruthless and no one knew how much longer they were going to take before surrendering. From saving time, to saving money, and most importantly saving lives, they all justify to why both atomic bombs needed to be dropped, not only to end a long war, but to prove a point to all others for the future.
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