Bombing of Hiroshima Term Paper

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Atomic bomb in Japan [...] President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb in Japan, and discuss why Truman's decision was the proper decision for the time. Choosing to use the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan was not an easy decision, or one that President Truman chose lightly. It was a necessary decision to keep the war from continuing, and ultimately save thousands of soldiers' and civilians' lives.

When Truman took office after President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, he did not know about the development of the atomic bomb, it had been kept that secret. Roosevelt had created a nuclear program to look into creating an atom bomb several years before his death in 1945. In June 1942, this program was turned over to the army, and worked in Manhattan, and that is why it was code-named the "Manhattan Project." Just three months later, Enrico Fermi, the head scientist working on the project, created the first managed nuclear chain reaction. "The event was not spectacular,' Fermi wrote in 1952, 'no fuses burned, no lights flashed. But to us it meant that release of atomic energy on a large scale would be only a matter of time'" (Szasz 14). The scientists kept working to perfect the process.

The project grew so large, it was moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico under top secrecy. This is where the first bombs were exploded above ground. Truman did not know of the existence of Los Alamos, either, until after he took office. Only twelve days after he took over, he received a memo written by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson that gave details about the bomb, and described the long-term changes the bomb could have on the Earth. "The world,' said the memorandum, 'in its present state of moral advancement compared with its technical development would be eventually at the mercy of such a weapon' and 'modern civilization might be completely destroyed'" (Wainstock 37). After he got this memo, Truman formed an Interim Committee to investigate the use of the bomb against Japan. Many of his advisors were strictly against dropping the bomb at all costs, and urged Truman to show the Japanese the capabilities of the bomb, and hope they would surrender before it could be used against them. However, the Interim Committee never considered not using the bomb. They agreed, "First, it should be dropped on Japan as soon as possible. Second, it should be used on a dual target, 'a military installation or war plant surrounded by or adjacent to houses and other buildings most susceptible to damage.' Finally, it should be used without prior warning" (Wainstock 42), and that is just what happened. Certainly every advisor did not agree using the bomb was the best solution, but the consensus was that the bomb would end the war sooner, and cause less damage in the end.

President Truman justified his decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in several ways. He of course knew there would be numerous casualties and devastation, but he felt demonstrating the power of the bomb would not cause Japan to surrender, so the U.S. had to use it in military force to bring the war to an end. If the war kept on, countless soldiers and civilians would die in the fighting, and so, using the bomb actually helped save lives. Many others around the world agreed, but many others did not. Most world leaders agreed with Winston Churchill, who supported Truman's decision, and saw little other choice (Osborn). In addition, Truman knew that if he did not use the bomb, the only way to win the war was to invade Japan, and that would be far more costly in lives and money in the long run (Osborn). Americans, for the most part, supported the bombing, and cheered in the streets when the war finally ended.

The bombs were devastating to Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and the Japanese population. The two bombs killed thousands, and left thousands more to slowly die of radiation poisoning. It is hard to believe the Japanese Emperor did not surrender after the first bomb wiped out Hiroshima. However, after the second bomb fell on Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito did surrender. There was celebrating in the streets around our nation. However, the words of the survivors tell the real consequences of the bombs most powerfully. One survivor wrote this poem about the bomb and what was left in Nagasaki, "Under…[continue]

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