Yet, this is not to say that they were not conscious of the race with the Russians or the advantages of being able to demonstrate the destructive power of the new super bomb. Yet such a view has not been in doubt by most recent traditional historians, who have seen Truman as a practical statesman with one eye on the post-war world and already dealing with problems with Stalin over Eastern Europe. The administration evidently saw advantages in possessing and even using the new bombs, but the issue was what primarily motivated them to do so in August 1945 (Bastian, n.d.).
Those who dispute in favor of the decision to drop the atom bombs argue that massive casualties on both sides would have occurred in Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan. The U.S. side estimated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan, although the actual number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. President Truman acknowledged after the war that he had been advised that U.S. casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men. Supporters also draw attention to an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on 1 August 1944, ordering the disposal and execution of all Allied prisoners of war, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place (Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 2010).
Historical legend indicates that the decision to use the atomic bombs was made in order to provoke an early surrender of Japan by use of an awe-inspiring power. These interpretations have caused some commentators to state that the incident was an act of war terrorism. War terrorism is thought to be the effort to kill civilians in such large numbers that their government is forced to surrender. Hiroshima seems to me the classic case. This type of claim eventually prompted some historians to argue that the practice of terrorism is justified in some cases. Certain scholars and historians have described the atomic bombings of Japan as a form of state terrorism. This interpretation centers on a definition of terrorism as the targeting of innocents to achieve a political goal (Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 2010).
Some people believe based on a detailed examination of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it has been found that prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated (Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 2010).
Other people have just the opposite view. It was suggested that the appropriate thing to do would have been to drop the first bomb out at sea as a demonstration. But based upon facts it can be seen that dropping an atomic bomb 15 miles out at sea would not have caused the Japanese to surrender in order to avoid a worse fate. This is clear because we dropped one on an actual city, and they still did not surrender (the Truth about the Atomic Bombs, 2009). It took the dropping of a second atomic bomb in order to convince the Japanese that we weren't kidding around. It wasn't until after the second dropping they began to take us seriously and eventually surrendered without any further action.
Bastian, Peter. (n.d.). Dropping the Atomic Bomb. Retrieved March 16, 2010, from American