Bias of Authors Regarding America Dropping the Atom Bomb on Japan
This paper examines what has been written about the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The writer details several articles and explores where the writer is coming from and what may have led to a particular slant on a story regarding the bomb. There were six sources used to complete this paper.
THE BIAS OF AUTHORS REGARDING THE ATOM BOMB AND JAPAN
The atom bomb was dropped on Japan to make a statement to the world. It was not just that the U.S. wanted Japan to understand attacking Pearl Harbor was wrong, but Japan was the example the United States made for the world. The message was loud and clear that if the U.S. is attacked the enemy will be hit back ten fold and then some. In addition to it being a message to the world the use of the atom bomb in the situation was cost effective. The United States could choose to send in many troops, incur loss of life, military property and finances or it could choose to drop atom bombs and be done quickly and efficiently. The second choice was the most obvious one given the circumstances at the time. The country was aching for revenge and the government had just lost many pieces of property that would have to be replaced financially. Dropping the atom bomb took care of the enemy, it cost far less than ground and air and sea attacks would have, and there was very little loss of life for America during the bomb attack with huge losses to the Japanese. All in the atom bomb was the wise and prudent choice facing at the time. Before one can fully begin to compare and contrast the dropping of the bomb on Japan one must understand and realize that anything written on the subject comes with certain preconceived ideas and opinions. Regardless of how objective the writer attempts to be in the work one cannot help but have personal bias seep through to the story. It is important to understand this when one is working to study the atom bomb use in Japan and to understand its impact.
In Raymond Davis' Clear Conscience: The Atom Bomb Vs. The Super Holocaust the reader is treated to a front door view of several aspects leading to and then following the bomb dropping on Hiroshima (Davis, 2000). The author is convinced that the use of the atom bomb was the only rational option at the time. He spends his book explaining and detailing the problems that would have occurred had the president chosen a ground war instead of using the bomb. According to Davis, the United States saved millions of lives by deciding to use the bomb instead of go in with a traditional war strategy. The author believes that every veteran has the right to know that the bomb was a necessary evil and using the bomb actually prevented loss of life (Davis, 2000). The author is biased toward the use and makes no bones about his bias whatsoever. He uses statistics to prove the bomb saved more lives than it took. His background provides him an automatic bias toward the decisions that were made. With military background within his life it is natural that he is going to look at the bottom line. Former veterans contributed to the book and the argument that the bomb was the answer as well (Davis, 2000).
In this writing the actual effects of the bomb are explored. The author uses a very objective approach when she details the positive as well as the negative aspects of using a bomb on Japan. The author differs in this work from what Davis wrote in that there is a balance to the explanation. Davis was all of for use of the bomb and refused to enlighten his mind as to whether there might have been any other way (Roleff, 2000). This book is written differently because it presents both viewpoints. It discusses not only what the effect of the bomb were but also what the effects might have been had a bomb not been dropped and a ground war had been tried instead.
Part of the difference in the two writings may come from the different backgrounds of the author. The military understanding and foundation of Davis is different than background of Roleff. The background of an author plays a part in the slant that is put on the work whether or not the slant was intended to be there (Roleff, 2000).
The victims of the atom bomb who lived to tell about it are often used as speakers at churches and other locations. It is used in the effort to promote peace and to discourage the use of military force internationally (Hate, 2002). "Surviving burns and injuries from the American atom bomb, and enduring a mental torture that for 40 years prevented her speaking of the experience, Bun was gracious and cheerful in Christchurch yesterday. She thanked the city for being nuclear-free and encouraged it to maintain the stance as a light to the world (Hate, 2002)."
While most people would fully understand a hate filled anger had the been the target of such an attack the woman in this article feels no hate. She is the perfect representative for the cause because she feels no hate. She gives her speech, shows her battle scars and then entertains the room with her compassion for others (Hate, 2002). The author of the article presents the story in the light of peace and the discouragement of military force being used.
I do not feel any hate. I saw the worst extremes of the human condition but, even there, I do not recall hostility or hatred from the people around me. The overwhelming feeling was one of care and love, driven by the desire in those who had suffered to look after those who had suffered more. I do not remember any words of hate or hostility (Hate, 2002)."
She was 14 when the bomb was dropped and she lived among survivors as many others died. According to the victim the United States did not have to use the atom bomb. She believes the states would have won the war anyway and completely rejects any notion that the bomb was what put the end to the war with no other options (Hate, 2002). The author is biased against the use of the bomb. It shows in the way the author approaches the topic at hand. The author does not present any facts for the use of the bomb and instead chooses to use the plight of the victim to color the reception of the story that is written (Hate, 2002).
The United States long ago should have apologized to the world for dropping an atom bomb on Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945, and another three days later on Nagasaki ("Sanitizing the flight of Enola Gay, " Counterpoints, Monday) (Selig, 1994). Historians hundreds of years from now, when recalling World War II, will mention only two things - the Holocaust and Hiroshima. Everything else about the conflict will have faded into insignificance. Whatever battlefield justification can be thought up, the mushroom cloud transformed qualitatively the horror of war. Actually, there was no justification (Selig, 1994)."
This work is an obviously very slanted and opinionated piece of writing. The author does use facts such as when it happened, who gave the order, how the decision was arrived at to drop the bomb. The bomb was something that killed over 140,000 civilians in two of Japan's cities. There was no warning that it was coming, and the people were in the streets, shopping at the stores and children were playing with their childhood innocence having no idea what was about to happen (Selig, 1994).
The author used the work of historian Gar Alperovitz to underscore his opinion that the bomb was not something that needed to be used. It was overkill according to this author and it was something that was horrific even beyond the usual horrors of a war (Selig, 1994).
Japan would have surrendered even if the bombs had not been dropped... even if no invasion had been planned. President Harry S. Truman was advised not to use the bombs by such figures as Adm. William D. Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower." Alperovitz also wrote in the New York Times, "Political considerations overwhelmed military imperatives in the decision (Selig, 1994)."
While the other authors used either their own opinions or the story of one victim this author used several previously published sources to prove his point. One such source was the writings of a chief of staff who advised Truman not to drop the bomb (Selig, 1994).
In Modern Maturity magazine, December 1985, it was stated there was no justification: "Adm. William D. Leahy, chief of staff, made…