The use of Nuclear Weapons under combat conditions has only occurred twice in recorded history, on August 6th and 9th of 1945. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary, and much more beneficial to the United States and its allies, than sending troops into a land-based invasion of Japan. By initiating this action, the allies avoided the continuation of a protracted and costly conventional war, while also winning the race with scientists from around the world in the creation, and possible use, of nuclear weapons. Given these overarching achievements, i.e., causing Japan’s immediate surrender while saving countless numbers of lives and halting—at least temporarily—the further deployment of nuclear weapons, I believe that Truman’s decision to initiate these bombings was necessary and appropriate at this point in history.
Use of the atomic bomb on Japan had other secondary positive aspects in addition to saving lives. It also saved an enormous amount of money that would otherwise be spent on initiating a land-based invasion of Japan and, in the process, justified the cost of the bombs’ development. In 1942 the United States began the Manhattan Project which was the codename for the research and development effort associated with the creation of nuclear weapons that, when in actual production, would one day create atomic bombs named Fat Man and Little Boy that subsequently destroyed the heart and soul of Japan when deployed in August of 1945. This project was led by a cadre of top scientists and researchers in the world, including one the most famous of them all, Albert Einstein. By 1944, six thousand scientists and engineers from leading universities and industrial research labs were at work on the development of the world’s first-ever nuclear weapon. It was necessary, some say, for America to use the product (the atom bomb) of this research given that the original six thousand dollars’ budget for research grew to an unbelievable total of two billion dollars. By dropping the bombs that were produced as a result of the Manhattan Project, the United States was able to defer the ongoing cost of continuing conventional warfare. This offset of conventional warfare costs also gave the citizens of America some sense of the value of this research, especially in terms of money well spent in the pursuit of saving lives. The continuation of conventional warfare would have been a deathtrap, not only economically but in the cost of lost American lives as well.
The decision to deploy the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in lieu of a conventional land-based invasion of Japan, became substantially more evident by the fact that. Military advisers to President Harry S. Truman warned that such a ground war would result in the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of young men in the US Armed Forces. The war with Germany was over but Japan still refused to surrender. President Truman was left with two choices. One was to send young men to fight Japan, a country that took America by shock after dropping their own weapons on Pearl Harbor or, two – use what we had already spent time, money and research on without sacrificing any more American lives. It seemed crystal cleardrop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and end this war. Truman said his goal was to shorten the agony of war and save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.” Truman wasn’t just looking to save American lives; he was also looking to save the bulk of Japan as well. Once Japan refused American’s second surrender plea deal, Truman agreed to the use of nuclear weapons in order to end the war as fast as possible. Truman wrote that after Japan rejected another plea for surrender, he had no qualms about his decision to drop the bombs “if millions of lives could be saved I meant both American and Japanese lives.”
The United States Government has conducted research into estimates of the potential number of lives lost if Truman had decided to continue a conventional war with Japan. On the lowest end of the scale, casualties would have been around 267 thousand, while other estimates ranged from between 500,000 and one million casualties, not including the wounded. According to other research, these estimates could prove to be grossly underestimated. Post-war access to captured Japanese documents and senior Japanese military leaders indicate Japan had greater military forces available to defend the homeland than U.S. officials predicted. Truman made the best decision he could, giving Japan the option to surrender multiple times and, given their continued refusal, then making the executive decision to drop the bombs to avoid prolonged human casualties.
Regarding the immediate casualties in Japan after the bombs were dropped, Hiroshima faced a combined total estimate of 150,000 people killed (this includes radiation accounted deaths) and Nagasaki lost 75,000 people. Truman dropped the bomb and potentially saved hundreds of thousands of lives—both American and Japanese— by doing so.
Lastly, and in prophetic hindsight, the United States was racing against a very determined Eastern European group of scientists and researchers who were in active pursuit of nuclear weaponry. It was crucial that America not only developed the first nuclear weapon, but that It would also be the democratic republic in the control of such destructive technology, especially around further use and deployment. Perhaps naively, it was thought, at the time, that the government of the United state, as the world’s champion of democracy was best positioned to use this devastating technology for the good of all mankind. Thus, in pursuit of the greater good, America showcased the effects of how powerful and devastating nuclear weapons could be. On August 6th, 1945, Truman authorized the bombing of Hiroshima and, following this action, Truman again urged the Japanese to surrender. Unfortunately, they refused. On August 9th, three days later, Nagasaki was bombed. Shortly thereafter, Japan unconditionally surrendered and the great war was finally over.
Again, as noted in an extract from Wikipedia, over the course of time since the end of World War II, different arguments around the impact of initiating the use of atomic weapons on Japan have gained and lost support as new evidence has become available and as new studies have been completed. A primary and continuing focus has been on the role of the bombings in Japan’s surrender and the U.S.’s justification for them based upon the premise that the bombings precipitated the surrender and the subsequent saving of an untold number of lives. This remains the subject of both scholarly and popular debate.
The combined impact of ending the war with Japan as quickly as possible, along with the saving of countess numbers of American lives, provided ample justification for the horrific”yet needed use of atomic weapons on Japan. Perhaps the best way to conclude this research is by quoting Winston Churchill who, in a speech to the British House of Commons in August of 1045, said ..there are voices which assert that the bomb should never have been used at all. I cannot associate myself with such ideas. … I am surprised that very worthy people”but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves”should adopt the position that rather than throw this bomb, we should have sacrificed a million American and a quarter of a million British lives.
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