Why did the U.S. Bomb Hiroshima?

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The dropping of the Atomic bomb was a way to end the war and close WWII, and it was a mass murder on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. It not only ended the war with Japan but showed the world that the U.S. was the global hegemony that was not afraid to drop the atomic bomb.

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Was dropping the atomic bomb moral or immoral? Or did we have good enough reasons to drop the atomic bomb? Which is like asking if we had good reasons to commit mass murder? There is no reason to fathom dropping the bomb and committing mass murder. As the end of the second world war was gradually approaching, the Japanese did not cave to surrender. It’s imperial leadership even promised that they were willing to fight to the death. As the Japanese nation wish to fight longer, America wished to shorten the war. America wanted to end the war and its goal was to close WWII. President Harry Truman’s decision to drop two atomic bombs, in Japan: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was a way to abruptly end the war. Americans were tired of the war and wanted it to come to an end. Both countries had weaponry to kills many more Americans and Japanese if the war continued. But it was America’s decision to go out with a big bang and end the war abruptly leading to their last conclusive conclusion. Dropping the Atomic Bomb. There is two ways to view it. Either the United States had the moral right to engage in nuclear war with Japan, especially after events like the attack on Pearl Harbor, or it stepped out of its authority when they followed through with the final act. The Japanese were given many opportunities and chances to surrender but chose to continue fighting. As the Japanese said, they would fight to the death, and if the atomic bomb didn’t happen the war would have carried on. The bomb guaranteed a conclusion and the final act that would spare lives on both sides by ending it the war. I personally am not defending America and President Truman’s act on the bomb, but simply stating the reasoning, point of view, and the conclusion to decide to drop the atomic bomb. The dropping of the bomb killed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. It killed children and families. It made people sick. If any survived they would eventually face their death weeks or months later due to side effects.

Dropping the atomic bomb does not fit the just war theory. The just war theory purpose is to endure war to be morally justifiable through a series of criteria. The just war theory is a largely Christian philosophy that attempts to reconcile three things. The first is that taking human life is seriously wrong. The second is that states have a duty to defend their citizens and defend justice. The third is that protecting innocent human life and defending important moral values sometimes requires willingness to use force and violence. The theory specifies conditions for judging if it is just to go to war, and conditions for how the war should be fought. Although it was extensively developed by Christian theologians, it can be used by people of every faith and none. The purpose and aim of just war theory is to provide a guide to the right way for states to act in potential conflict situations.

The atomic bomb does not fit that criteria of the just war theory. It was not morally justifiable at all, in fact no war is morally justifiable. War is never just war. In war there’s always external costs that cannot be simply calculated neatly. People on both receiving ends die. There is death, disease, poverty and economic loss, loss of families and subsequent generations, hunger, etc., during and after war. Not to mention what it does to a country’s psyche. War will never be just war. It’s like saying it’s just business. And the atomic bomb was not just an atomic bomb that would end the war, but it would kill hundreds of thousands, and yet some would argue that it would save millions. Mass murder or do we say it’s civilian causality deaths? What is the general consensus of not just the parties involved but the global scale. Is there a moral difference between murder and collateral civilian casualties during war? Murder is murder. Death is death. Civilian casualties is basically a way to say that these are the risks involved if you get in war, that there is no liability for murder, so no there is no one to blame when war is involved.

Why is there a distinction made between the deaths of women or children and the elderly versus the deaths of young men? People during war view women, children, and the elderly more valuable but also fragile and weaker compared to the men involved in war. Women in the twentieth century were viewed as weaker and were not politically powerful because men and women were not seen equal. Women were viewed as the weaker sex and children are not fully developed and very young so they’re weak to, and the elderly are at in the weakest state of their life. Women, children, and the elderly are seen more fragile which makes them more valuable versus a strong man going to war and dies at war for his country. Women and children are also seen as valuable because women raise and produce children and children are the future generations.

The effects from the bomb on the people of Hiroshima were horrific. Tens of thousands of people were burned alive from the atomic bomb. People’s skin were peeling. Thousands died from burns and radiation. Countless more that survived with deformities and had children with birth defects. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, and to the people that survived, they must live with their effects to this day. The uranium bomb detonated over Hiroshima had an explosive yield equal to 15,000 tons of TNT. It razed and burnt around 70 per cent of all buildings and caused an estimated 140,000 deaths by the end of 1945, along with increased rates of cancer and chronic disease among the survivors. A slightly larger plutonium bomb exploded over Nagasaki three days later on the city and killed 74,000 people by the end of 1945. Ground temperatures reached 4,000?°C and radioactive rain poured down. There was hardly medical response in Hiroshima because 90% of physicians and nurses were killed or injured; 42 of 45 hospitals were rendered non-functional; and 70 per cent of victims had combined injuries including, in most cases, severe burns. All the dedicated burn beds around the world would be insufficient to care for the survivors of a single nuclear bomb on any city. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki most victims died without any care to ease their suffering. Some of those who entered the cities after the bombings to aid also died from the radiation. The bomb was notable for producing long term effects. The incidence of leukemia among survivors increased noticeably five to six years after the bombings, and about a decade later survivors began suffering from thyroid, breast, lung and other cancers at higher than normal rates. For solid cancers, the added risks related to radiation exposure continue to increase throughout the lifespan of survivors even to this day, almost seven decades after the bombings. Women exposed to the bombings while they were pregnant experienced higher rates of miscarriage and deaths among their infants. Children exposed to radiation in their mother’s womb were more likely to have intellectual disabilities and impaired growth, as well as increased risk of developing cancer. If the U.S could have seen the aftermath and known the number in fatalities and disease and the number of women pregnant and children that died, maybe the U.S could have understood all the effects of the bomb.

President Truman who wasn’t as friendly as Franklin D. Roosevelt was toward Uncle Joe Stalin, perhaps talked with his advisors and military leaders and saw the need to counter balance Soviet Union’s expansion to Berlin. The bomb on Hiroshima was a not so subtle message to let the Soviet Union and other adversaries know that the U.S. was now the premiere military power of the world. This message would have resonated with our military brass and subsequent military industrial complex build up which adheres to military power begets more power. Therefore, dropping the bomb had the added benefit of putting the world on notice. This was a way for the 800 pound gorilla to consolidate power.

There were pragmatic war strategies, like where the atomic bomb should be dropped. If the U.S. would resort to dropping the bomb, then they better use all their ideas on where and how it can get the most effect for Japan to understand. The military had convened a target committee, which consisted of scientists and military personnel that decided where the bomb should be dropped. The initial places included a remote military installation and/ or Tokyo Bay, where it should be detonated as a demonstration. But the committee decided that those options wouldn’t show the world the power of the new atomic bomb. The U.S. knew that what they were doing would have a great impact on the people and would be the closing of the war, which they wanted, but while they were deciding on where to drop and the best place it will have a lasting effect for the world to remember and to recognize America as a global hegemony. There were two psychological objectives of the first atomic bombs. The first was to scare Japanese and make them surrender and the second was to impress upon the world the power of the new atomic bomb. The bomb wouldn’t just kill, but it would wipe a city off the map. It would be a travesty, and that is why America believed it would have a lasting impact on Japan, forcing them to surrender. Hiroshima was chosen because it was believed that if the bomb was put in the middle of it, it would destroy almost the entire city. Also, Hiroshima was a real military target, there were factories and other facilities there. The Army the bomb killed seventy thousand and eighty thousand people. The bomb killed more than one hundred thousand. It was a definite realization that the war was over.

The bomb on Hiroshima may have been a victory for the U.S. to end the war, but it was devasting and difficult to understand the pain and murder of the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb put an end to the war while showing the world that the U.S. was the global hegemony, but it was at the cost of innocent people that lost their children alive and in the womb. People became deformed and had birth defects. People grew cancer and had other diseases from the radiation. The U.S. won the war, but there is always a price.

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Why did the U.S. bomb Hiroshima?. (2020, Feb 26). Retrieved February 7, 2023 , from
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