Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings

After Germany surrendered in Europe, American aircraft dropped Little Boy over the City of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later, Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki. These acts were done to force Japan to surrender in the war. These bombs resulted in thousands of casualties, during the explosions and even years after, and President Truman at the time played a huge role in approving this decision. But was the decision to use these bombs correct? Morally, it was not. But it needed to be done in order to prevent more casualties on both sides and finally put the fighting to an end.

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The two atomic bombs were dropped so the U.S. did not have to go through with Operation Downfall. This was an operation set to invade Japan starting in November of 1945 if they did not surrender. If this operation happened, it would have resulted in millions of casualties for the allied forces and about ten million for Japan, depending on the amount of resistance from civilians and the armed forces (newworldencyclopdeia.org). To prevent these casualties, President Truman approved the use of the bombs. This operation would have also cost both sides millions of dollars. Of course, this would mean the war would last longer, at least until the beginning of 1946.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted because they were considered military bases at the time. Hiroshima contained the second army headquarters. It was also an assembly area for troops and was a communication center for them as well. Nagasaki had many industries that were important for the war, such as the production of military equipment, ships, and more (The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Like in any war, the mass casualties are unfortunately inevitable. An estimated 60,000 to 80,000 people died at Hiroshima and another 40,000 died instantly at Nagasaki (McNamee). Prior to the atomic bomb at Nagasaki, the U.S. dropped a relatively smaller bomb than Fat Man. Because of this, many people began to evacuate the city which resulted in fewer casualties than Hiroshima. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people that survived suffered the horrible side effects of the radiation. The numbers of civilian casualties produced from the bombs were still less than what Operation Downfall would have resulted in.

It could be argued that the drop of the bombs did not cause the Japanese to surrender but that is not true. “”From January 1944 until August 1945, the U.S. dropped 157,000 tons of bombs on Japanese cities, according to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. (Deadly WWII U.S. Firebombing Raids on Japanese Cities Largely Ignored). This was not enough for them to surrender, but the bombing of those two cities made the Japanese realize the kind of destructive power the U.S. had. This caused them to realize that to keep fighting would just mean more casualties added to both sides, especially for Japan, with the same end results.

All in all, the release of these bombs was a positive decision. Morally, it was wrong to kill hundreds of thousands of people, including innocent civilians. But it was the right decision, it was the only choice that the U.S. had. Thousands of people died, but it also saved millions more. If these drastic measures were not taken, the war would have been longer and cost all parties millions of dollars in equipment used, property damage, lives, and more.

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings. (2019, Jul 15). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from

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