Essay On Fear And Patriotism

1172 Words 5 Pages
On August 6th, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki leading to a grand total of more than 200,000 casualties, 5 out of 6 being civilian. The use of such devastating force on civilians is considered extremely unethical today by numerous organizations and scholars. However, it stands as one of the most applauded decisions in US History for decisively ending World War II. As a society, the United States has readily accepted our devastating World War II actions, but in the modern perspective, any direct attacks on civilians are unethical and objected to. Why is this double standard currently accepted, and what has led to this difference in standards from …show more content…
During War eras, there are typically two major emotional appeals that are used to unite a nation: fear and patriotism. Socio-political pressure surrounding the event determines which of these ploys is utilized. Typically, the use of fear is more effective when individuals themselves are at risk, whereas patriotism taps into a sense of national identity when the country as a whole is harmed. From these two ethical appeals we can then explore why their use was so successful under different time periods and circumstances.
World War II: The nuclear argument World War II represented the second international conflict in less than 20 years for the United States. Although at the beginning of the war there was a public consensus to remain separate from the conflict, the United States was once again brought into war by the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. This attack not only thrust the United States into the war, but also created a culture of extreme patriotism and nationalism. Citizens turned to purchasing war bonds and rationing to support the war efforts. The nation had seemingly united together to support their country and their troops. On the darker side of this nationalism,
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The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were direct attacks on civilians cities in what modern perception would argue as terrorist attacks. The justification of the United States use of nuclear weapons has come under fire from journalists and the public alike following the World War II era. Many argue that the weapons were not necessary to win the war as there was already no possibility of a Japanese victory. Proponents of the decision however, argue that the use of nuclear technology saved American troops from harm 's way and cemented the United States’ role as an undisputed international superpower. The decision, although still somewhat controversial at the time, was met with fairly large support in 1945 with 85% of the US population agreeing with nuclear use. However, in polls redone in 2015, only 56% of Americans believed the bombings were justified (PewResearch 2015). This shift in public opinion is due to the dehumanization of Japanese people and the call for revenge for Pearl Harbor by politicians and citizens during the early 20th century opposed to the modern day acceptance of Japanese people. As the societal pressures and assumptions that the Japanese were involved faded, many prior supporters altered their support in hindsight. Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to president Roosevelt, discussed the effect of the weapon and how the call for its use was

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