Counterfactual Historical Analysis

765 Words 4 Pages
In the realm of counterfactual historical analysis, the atomic weapons attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are among some of the most deeply scrutinized events. The attacks fully embody the scale of human slaughter characteristic of the 20th century but are tragically trivialized and distorted. In search of historical insights, some analysts strip the question of atomic warfare down to its condensed operational and political considerations. While these realities played an extraordinary role in America’s struggle to conclude the deadliest war in human history, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are most importantly lessons about the power of unchecked dehumanization. As such, it is extremely important that 21st-century observers do not project moral standards …show more content…
To a certain degree, this perception is true, America certainly did have other options available. Unfortunately, the soundest counterfactual evidence available suggests that none of the alternative options could appropriately resolve the operational and political realities facing America at the conclusion of world WWII. More importantly, the historical evidence also indicates that framing atomic warfare as a positivistic choice between use and nonuse is problematic. Americans were pressured into developing their atomic weapons technology based on the perceived certainty that Germany would use the technology first. The specific provocation for atomic technology development came from scientist Albert Einstein wrote “President Roosevelt warning that Germany might be bent on an atomic weapons program and suggested that the United States should study the possibility itself” (Keegan 584). Therefore, as a matter of national security, America developed the first atomic bombs. The real theoretical question relevant to the atomic weapons problem is not if a bomb would be deployed but when and by who. This is a key insight because it helps current analysts adequately examine the worldview of those individuals crucial to the decision to bomb Hiroshima and …show more content…
From the very beginning Americans learned that the hard way that the Japanese were not going to play by the Western rules of warfare. For example, they attacked at Pearl Harbor without declaration of war, catching America completely by surprise. American servicemen were also disheartened by Japanese military’s ethic of male expendability. This military culture made the Japanese extremely virulent opponents; they went into every engagement resolved that victory may require the expense of their lives. As a result, the idea of surrender was abhorrent to a people who venerated bodily surrender. Considering Japanese and American diverging cultural frameworks, it is highly likely that an invasion alone would not have beget Japanese formal surrender. The root of the matter lies in the fact that American servicemen could not emotionally sustain more combat campaigns like Iwo Jima or, Okinawa and, the invasion into mainland Kyushu promised to be just as deadly. Taking in the full idiosyncrasies of the Pacific—American officials were not willing to risk any more lives in the Pacific meat

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