Reasons For The Atomic Bomb

What were the motives behind the United States decision to use atomic bombs against Japan and what arguments have been made against it?

WWII was fought between the Allied powers composed of USA, Britain and the Soviet Union, and the Axis Powers, comprised of Germany, Italy and Japan, and was one of the deadliest conflicts in all of history. The vast amount of casualties on both sides totalled to 6,000,000 deaths – about 3% of the global population in the 1940s. The use of atomic bombs was to put an end to the war. Leading up to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Manhattan Project influenced the course of history. Furthermore, Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the US, had a significant involvement in the ending the war, choosing the fate of 70 million
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Of the two atomic bombs, Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima in the middle of the city, almost flattening everything within a 1.5km radius. “Approximately 80,000 people were killed in the instant of the flash, and many more died within hours from severe burns” (Clive Lawton, 2004). Shock waves from the bomb knocked down buildings in a 10km radius, crushing people inside. Debris showered the outside surroundings, ripping skin from bodies, and many drowned trying to escape fires that consumed the city. It became apparent to Emperor Hirohito that defending Japan was futile, as it was up against the devastating power of the nuclear bombs. This helped bring about the end of the war. The second, stronger bomb, Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki, but the effect was lessened by the hills surrounding the city. The initial blast killed 45,000 and dealt lethal doses of radiation, causing sicknesses and deaths in the following weeks. Some of the long term effects included leukaemia, and other solid cancers. There was an increase of leukaemia two years after the bomb, with the attributable risk of leukaemia being 46% for bomb victims. There was also an increase in solid cancers, albeit a decade later. The attributable rate of solid cancer was found to be 10.7%. Other long term effects, included starvation and shortage of shelter. Well after Little Boy was dropped, Hiroshima’s population …show more content…
President Truman had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to avoid an invasion of Japan. Previously, Japan had been subject to bombings from the American B-29s. This had already devastated the capital, Tokyo, and various other major cities. Furthermore, due to the naval blockade, food and fuel was increasingly scarce. Despite this, Japan’s leaders mobilized a large part of the population into a national militia to defend the home islands. In fact, “even after the use of the atomic bombs, the Japanese military still fought on” (Wilson Miscamble, 2014). The atomic bombs helped Emperor Hirohito realise the futility of trying to defend the home islands. Furthermore, all other viable scenarios, such as an invasion, would have resulted in much higher casualties for both the allies and Japan. If such an invasion was to occur, it “would cost 250,000 American lives” (Jason Hook, 2002). Moreover, the prisoners of war would also have been executed, as Japanese officials would have ordered it if they had been invaded. Overall, the use of the atomic bombs was justified and would be what any moral person would choose given President Truman’s

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