Truman Decision Essay examples

5430 Words Dec 9th, 2007 22 Pages
Truman Decision

President Harry S. Truman decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan is perhaps the most controversial act of policy in United States history. One of the many different reasons given for the use of this weapon was the shock effect it would produce in the Japanese foreign policy circle. While the shock of the Japanese will be discussed later, it is important to note that it had a similar effect on the west. This shock effect has caused countless authors to speculate as to the motivation behind, and effects of this revolutionary weapon. For a time, the euphoria that came along with such a tremendous victory, as well as the national solidarity generated by America involvement in the cold war made this decision immune
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To examine the case of the revisionist historians, the writings of Gar Alperovitz and Barton Bernstein will be used. Atomic Diplomacy, Alperovitz groundbreaking revisionist work will show the correlation between the atomic bomb and Truman's policy toward the Soviet Union. Along the way to showing this correlation, Alperovitz examines the reasoning behind the decision to actually use the atomic bomb against Japan. He also approaches a discussion of the responsibility the United States should claim for the Cold War. It is important to note that only on rare occasions does Alperovitz attempt to downplay American casualty estimates, a major crux of the neoclassical argument. Publications by Barton Bernstein will argue that the atomic bomb was responsible for the Cold War. He also sets out to expose the less noble reasons Truman had for using the bomb against Japan. In the process of building this point, he too will discuss the diplomatic considerations behind the decision to use the bomb. While operating in a slightly more idea based model, Bernstein opts for encompassing, thoughtful conclusions than hard, tangible facts. Bernstein also avoids directly refuting the idea that the bomb saved American and Japanese lives. The neoclassical case will be explored using the works of Paul Walker and Robert Newman. Having the advantage of being the later of two arguments, the neoclassicals can attempt to refute the conclusions

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