The Atomic Bomb and Its Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :


This denotes that Japanese culture had been significantly altered
both by its defeat at the hands of the United States and by the occupation
which were to follow. But in reality, the changes in Japan would only be a
first chapter in the narrative of atomic power. Indeed, the devastating
detonations on the ground in Japan were a window into a new frontier in
making warfare. Indeed, on August 6th, 1945, the world entered a new age.
The end of World War II, presaged by the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, introduced the world to the nuclear era. The next five decades,
unfolding under the shadow of the Cold War, would be underscored by the
continuing threat of nuclear war. With major conflicts in such settings as
the Korean Peninsula, Cuba and Vietnam functioning as remote nation-
building contests between the world's two major superpowers, the United
States and the Soviet Union began a race for the accumulation of nuclear
weapons that brought to bear an alarming reality for the world. The events
in Japan would be a stark foreshadowing of the new and enormous dangers
which man had become capable of imposing on his fellow.
The presence of nuclear power in global affairs had come to play a
dominant sub-textual role in the implicative considerations of war and
diplomacy. Even so, this condition subsisted without any international
controls for more than twenty years. This was so until 1968, when the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was signed. This
agreement "represents the world's single most important multilateral
nuclear arms control agreement, with the largest membership, and it remains
the most successful exemplar of arms control." (Rauf 1999) This would show
a new concern for the world community invoked by a shared witnessing of the
first attacks.
Largely a response to a heightened Cold War, where theatres in
Southeast Asia, South America and Central America revealed the genuinely
global perils posed by the now nuclear armed U.S. and Soviet spheres of
influence, the non-proliferation agenda includes the prevention of the
continued stockpiling of weapons, the exchange of nuclear secrets between
nations and the development of subterranean nuclear programs in non-nuclear
states. The international initiative represents an opportunity to place a
collective safeguard agreement into action which would prevent the
realization of the worst-case scenario escalation of hostilities between
the two superpowers. After the revelations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the
internationalization of the power-struggle inherently bore with it "the
threat of total annihilation." (Debat et al 2006) This is to indicate that
a great many organizations and regulatory groups have emerged in order to
prevent the realization of this threat. The attacks on Japan at the end of
World War II would up the stakes of global conflict in a way that has
stimulated considerable preventative policy organization. The result is
today a continued conflict over who is entitled to nuclear power and who is
not. Many developing nations such as North Korea and Iran claim they are
being denied the right to generate nuclear energy to improve domestic
energy policies, but political differences with the world order have also
caused speculation about the safety of nuclear power in such hands.
This highlights another key effect of the atomic weapons, which
essentially altered the course of an otherwise potentially valuable energy
source. Though the use of nuclear power during the 1950's seemed to
provide prospects for complete energy independence and resource
diversification, its dangers would also become gradually apparent over the
course of the 20th century, with safety and environmental concerns
contributing to a mixed public impression of civil nuclear energy. The
social impact of nuclear energy can be measured most notably today in both
the popular perception of atomic power and the repercussions of its
relative decline as a major source for energy both in the U.S. and
internationally.
In spite of its auspicious promise during the Cold War era, nuclear
power has been the subject of intense debate and controversy, with social
consciousness generally attaching weaponized nuclear power and civil
nuclear power in an inextricable relationship. (Lipper 2000) As a result
of this social environment, "the shutdown of older plants and the lack of
investment in newer plants in the United States has established an
imbalance in nuclear energy production, which is expected to have a
significant impact on the social and economic structure of the nuclear
industry, as well as society at large." (Kritsky 1999) This is to indicate
that the weaponization of nuclear power demonstrated by the strikes on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki would alter the course of what might otherwise have
been a productive part of creating energy independence for nations both
developing and developed. The association between nuclear power and the
images and events of the 1945 strikes remains an indelible force in the
continued discussion on the accessibility of nuclear power.
Until the United States illustrated the full destructive capability of
nuclear power in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the extent of damage which could
be levied through such weaponry had not been fully appreciated on a
psychological level. However, the absolute totality of ground devastation,
the horrific nature of the health fallout for those in the radiating
vicinity of the blast and the overall toll in terms of both human life and
structure had the collective effect of changing forever the social effect
of nuclear power. (Eden 2005) The capacity for destruction of which this
new and terrifying weapon was capable could ultimately destroy whole cities
and nations if used with such intents. The Cold War which followed, then,
produced an atmosphere of tension where social interaction reflected a deep
suspicion of political, ideological and ethnic differences, underscored by
the nationalist emphasis on nuclear capability which endowed both the
United States and the Soviet Union. (Biswas 2001)
In the era that succeeded World War II, various concerted efforts
emerged to stifle the growing prevalence of this weaponry in world affairs.
As such, a variety of treaties have been approached as means to
discouraging acquisition, development or use of nuclear power within a
military context. One of the earliest of these, drafted during the Kennedy
Administration, "prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, the oceans
and outer space. In essence, it was an environmental treaty that disarmed
an outraged public opinion, but allowed nuclear testing to continue
underground." (Krieger 2005) Its mostly nominal effect on the actual
ability of the U.S. to wage nuclear war, which continued to be augmented
during this time, implies that such treaties were typically intended to
diffuse populist concern over the negative social implications of such
weapons as regular elements of every nation's arsenal.
But it is this regularity this would become the most important outcome
of the nuclear blasts in Japan. The commitment to levy such attacks would
also serve as a concession to unleash on the world the technology capable
of reigning down such destruction. For the major powers of the world,
these attacks would only hasten respective efforts at harnessing the power
of man's atomic knowledge for the purposes of warfare. The United States
would prove the thorough nature of this strategy; would illustrate the deep
psychological impact on the victims of such a strategy; would illustrate
that nuclear weaponization was feasible; and would demonstrate to the rest
of the world its willingness to deploy such tactics.
Ultimately, this underscores the most prominent and problematic effect
of the nuclear strikes. The focus paid in this account to the changes in
Japan following the attacks is important in terms of framing our
understanding of the effects on a nation, its conditions and its psyche of
a full-scale nuclear attack. It illustrates that from a warfare
standpoint, the deployment of an atomic bomb is a compelling deterrent for
aggression or the sustaining of hostilities.
That said, the conditions that were imposed upon Japan by the attacks
are all but erased today. The rebuilding of Japan has changed the nation's
face entirely, with much of its modernity and cultural schizophrenia
speaking to the trauma in its not-too-distant past. Its recovery is rife
with difficulties, but it has occurred. By contrast, there is no method
which has fully succeeded in preventing the spread of nuclear technology
and the capacity to weaponize nuclear energy. This remains one of the most
important issues in the areas of world diplomacy and warfare.
As the discussion here shows, the scale of the attacks on Japan has
encouraged the creation of NGOs, world government agencies and domestic
action groups concerned with the prevention of nuclear proliferation.
However, this has been an uphill climb ever since the strikes that brought
the hostilities of World War II to their official end. As the mushroom
clouds cleared over two distinct scenes of outright destruction, a new
threat would hang in the air, forever altering the nature of global
conflict. Today, this remains a significant presence in the world
community, with the images…

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