Hiroshima and Nagasaki

After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, one of the most devastating bombings in its time, America declared war on Japan and therefore entering into War World II. On August 6 1945, the U.S dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, three days later they dropped a bomb on Nagasaki. Over 100,000 people were immediately killed in both bombings, and thousands more died of injuries and the effects of the radiation (Matsukawa 56). The American Government was justified to bomb Hiroshima, but they could have approached Nagasaki with less catastrophic measures.

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The U.S aimed to remain neutral as possible during World War II. They started helping Britain, who was in the war, by sending war supplies but on a cash and carry basis. They blockaded trade with Japan and the countries apart of the Axis, Italy and Germany. The Japanese were furious with the stopping of shipment of airplane fuel and scrap iron that they needed for war. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese army bombed Pearl Harbor, and then the next day Japan invaded an American army base in the Philippines. After these two events the U.S declared war on Japan.

The Japanese wanted to improve their economy but instead of choosing to conduct trade negotiations with foreign governments, the Japanese government turned sharply away. Japan went once again into isolation (Bjorklund 10-11). Japan wanted to prove to the other countries that they were just as powerful as them. They joined the war for two reasons. One, to show that they can go to war and their economy can withstand a war, and secondly they were still upset with the Allies during the First World War, when the Allies met at the Treaty of Versailles, Japan did not have a voice in the discussion. All that tension built up and they did not hesitate to go to war.

During the war the U.S was planning on invading Japan. War experts estimated 1 million American lives lost and millions of Japanese lives. On April 1945 Harry S. Truman was sworn in as President. He hoped to make the invasion of Japan unnecessary. He decided to use the atomic bomb instead of invading Japan. On July 26th the U.S, Britain and China issues a statement threatening to destroy Japan unless it surrendered, Japan refused (Matsukawa 56). Truman was doing the country right by looking for a different approach, although his approach was a steady, the approach it did not do its job.

In the spring of 1945, the military instituted a target committee. This committee consisted of officers and scientists. The purpose for this committee was to decide where the bomb should fall. The committee decided that the atomic bomb would not just kill; it could wipe out an entire city off the map. They agreed that it would be horrible, but they wanted it to be so it would try to end the war and try to stop future use of nuclear bombs (Brumfiel).

They chose Hiroshima. Hiroshima is compact, if you put a bomb like this in the middle of it, you end up destroying almost the entirety of the city said Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology (Brumfiel). Hiroshima was also a military target. There were factories and other facilities there. The American army took their time and was strategic when deciding where and when to bomb so they could make a point without killing an overabundance of people.

Antony Beevor said Truman had little choice. All commanders or political leaders can hope to asses is whether a particular course of action is likely to reduce the loss of life. Faced with the Japanese refusal to surrender, President Truman had little choice. The dropping of the atomic bomb was justified at the time as being moral in order to bring about a more rapid victory, prevent the deaths of more people, and the use of nuclear weapons.

Of course it is easy to say that if I had been in Truman’s shoes, I would not have ordered the two bombings. says Richard Overy, a professor of history at the University of Exeter (History Extra). Apart of Richard Overy`s statement is correct, Truman should not have ordered two bombings. In his defense Truman was out of options. It was either invade Japan, risking millions of American and Japanese soldier’s lives or use the atomic bomb to wipe out a city and saving millions of lives. Hiroshima’s population at the time of the bombing was 350,000 people.

Richard Overy also said that It was immoral and unnecessary. When referring to bombing Nagasaki, it was unnecessary. Truman should have waited to see what Japan would do after the U.S bombed Hiroshima. Chances are they would have surrendered and/or negotiated peacefully. The first bombing was a necessary evil so to speak, but bombing Nagasaki was unnecessary and took many more Japanese lives.

On August 15th during a radio address in World War II, Japan’s Emperor, Hirohito, announced that Japan would surrender after the devastating power of a new and most cruel bomb( History.com). One thing that everyone can agree on is that World War II was devastating. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor the Bombing of London, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the many German, American, British, Japanese lives lost. The American Government was justified to bomb Hiroshima, but not justified to bomb Nagasaki.

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

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