By then orders already had been sent to the Pacific to use the bombs if Japan had not yet surrendered.
Even if there had been, two factors must be kept in mind. Eisenhower had commanded Allied forces in Europe, and his opinion on how close Japan was to surrender would have carried no special weight. Small wonder that American officials remained unimpressed when Japan proceeded to do exactly what the committee predicted. Molotov left to attend a Big Three meeting scheduled to begin in Potsdam on the fifteenth, Togo sought to have negotiations begin as soon as they returned. American officials had long since been able to read Japanese diplomatic traffic through a process known as the MAGIC intercepts.
If only the United States had extended assurances about the emperor, according to this view, much bloodshed and the atomic bombs would have been unnecessary. A careful reading of the MAGIC intercepts of subsequent exchanges between Togo and Sato provides no evidence that retention of the emperor was the sole obstacle to peace. What they show instead is that the Japanese Foreign Office was trying to cut a deal through the Soviet Union that would have permitted Japan to retain its political system and its prewar empire intact.
Even the most lenient American official could not have countenanced such a settlement. Had the Japanese government sought only an assurance about the emperor, all it had to do was grant one of these men authority to begin talks through the OSS. Its failure to do so led American officials to assume that those involved were either well-meaning individuals acting alone or that they were being orchestrated by Tokyo. Some American officials, such as Stimson and Grew, nonetheless wanted to signal the Japanese that they might retain the emperorship in the form of a constitutional monarchy.
Such an assurance might remove the last stumbling block to surrender, if not when it was issued, then later. Only an imperial rescript would bring about an orderly surrender, they argued, without which Japanese forces would fight to the last man regardless of what the government in Tokyo did. Besides, the emperor could serve as a stabilizing factor during the transition to peacetime.
The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered
There were many arguments against an American initiative. Some opposed retaining such an undemocratic institution on principle and because they feared it might later serve as a rallying point for future militarism. There were domestic considerations as well. Roosevelt had announced the unconditional surrender policy in early , and it since had become a slogan of the war. For him to have formally guaranteed continuance of the emperorship, as opposed to merely accepting it on American terms pending free elections, as he later did, would have constituted a blatant repudiation of his own promises.
Nor was that all. Although Truman said on several occasions that he had no objection to retaining the emperor, he understandably refused to make the first move. The ultimatum he issued from Potsdam on July 26 did not refer specifically to the emperorship.
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The army, not the Foreign Office, controlled the situation. Intercepts of Japanese military communications, designated ULTRA , provided no reason to believe the army was even considering surrender. Japanese Imperial Headquarters had correctly guessed that the next operation after Okinawa would be Kyushu and was making every effort to bolster its defenses there. ULTRA identified new units arriving almost daily. A report, for medical purposes, of July 31 estimated that total battle and non-battle casualties might run as high as , for the Kyushu operation alone.
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This figure did not include those men expected to be killed outright, for obviously they would require no medical attention. Marshall regarded Japanese defenses as so formidable that even after Hiroshima he asked MacArthur to consider alternate landing sites and began contemplating the use of atomic bombs as tactical weapons to support the invasion.
The thirty-day casualty projection of 31, Marshall had given Truman at the June 18 strategy meeting had become meaningless. It had been based on the assumption that the Japanese had about , defenders in Kyushu and that naval and air interdiction would preclude significant reinforcement. Some historians have argued that while the first bomb might have been required to achieve Japanese surrender, dropping the second constituted a needless barbarism.
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The record shows otherwise. American officials believed more than one bomb would be necessary because they assumed Japanese hard-liners would minimize the first explosion or attempt to explain it away as some sort of natural catastrophe, precisely what they did. The Japanese minister of war, for instance, at first refused even to admit that the Hiroshima bomb was atomic. The next target might well be Tokyo. Even after both bombs had fallen and Russia entered the war, Japanese militants insisted on such lenient peace terms that moderates knew there was no sense even transmitting them to the United States.
Some writers have argued that the cumulative effects of battlefield defeats, conventional bombing, and naval blockade already had defeated Japan. Even without extending assurances about the emperor, all the United States had to do was wait. No matter. This or any other document based on information available only after the war ended is irrelevant with regard to what Truman could have known at the time. What often goes unremarked is that when the bombs were dropped, fighting was still going on in the Philippines, China, and elsewhere. Every day that the war continued thousands of prisoners of war had to live and die in abysmal conditions, and there were rumors that the Japanese intended to slaughter them if the homeland was invaded.
Truman was Commander in Chief of the American armed forces, and he had a duty to the men under his command not shared by those sitting in moral judgment decades later. Available evidence points to the conclusion that he acted for the reason he said he did: to end a bloody war that would have become far bloodier had invasion proved necessary. One can only imagine what would have happened if tens of thousands of American boys had died or been wounded on Japanese soil and then it had become known that Truman had chosen not to use weapons that might have ended the war months sooner.
All Rights Reserved. To license content, please contact licenses [at] americanheritage. Share Tweet Email Print. Robert James Maddox. Okinawa provided a preview of what an invasion of the home islands would entail. In fact, there is no persuasive evidence that any of them did. The two bombings resulted in over , deaths and millions of dollars in damage.
The Atomic Bomb still remains. On August 6th, , the Enola gay took off to bomb Japan, changing the world forever. At in the morning, a massive, mushroom cloud rose over Hiroshima, Japan killing more than 70, people.
WW2: Countdown to Hiroshima: The bomb that changed the world
The first atomic bomb had been used in combat. It was originally supposed to go to the city of Kokura, but the weather was bad so it was redirected to Nagasaki killing 40, people. With the death tolls at around ,, Japan unconditionally. August 6th, , 70, lives were ended in a matter of seconds. The United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Today many argue whether or not the U. Was it entirely necessary that we drop such a devastating weapon?
To answer that first we must look at was going on in the world at the time of the conflict. The U. Moral was most likely low, and resources were at the same level as moral. Dropping the atomic bomb was an unfortunate but necessary action taken to defeat an enemy who believed in unconditional surrender.
Hiroshima And Nagasaki Bombing Of Hiroshima
At the time, we had two options to take to end the War in the Pacific. Option one was to invade mainland Japan. This would cost America countless lives on top of those already lost. Option two was to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima. On August 6 , at am local time, the city of Hiroshima in Japan, home to people, became the first victim of the destructive war weapon.
As of this vicious and devastating day, world history was changed forever. The long and short-term significance of this event shaped the way in which people. Three days later, the United States proceeded to drop an atomic bomb again on another city, Nagasaki, which was the last time that an atomic bomb has ever been used in the world till today. Soon after the devastating bombings, with thousands of Japanese civilians dead, the Japanese emperor Hirohito surrendered, marking the official end of WWII.
Consequently, whether or not dropping the atomic bomb was the. Initially, President Truman made the wrong decision about dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima because the bomb killed and injured innocent civilians. Some people claim that Hiroshima was a military target. While that very well could be true, if it is a time of war, how many military based individuals are going to be in peace in their homes?
Seventy-five percent of the population of the city of Hiroshima lives within four square miles Hersey 4. With war currently ongoing throughout the country. Seventy thousands Japanese citizens were perished instantly after the first atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima on August 6, Japanese still refused to surrender to Allied forces.
On August 9, , with the dropping of the second atomic bomb in Nagasaki, where eighty thousands people were vaporized, Japanese surrendered.
It is true to say that the Japanese deserved to have two atomic bombs dropped on two industrial cities in the span of just around three days? Is it also true to say that is was alright for thousands of innocent Japanese lives to be sacrificed for the sake of showing the power of the United States to the then Soviet Union?
Is the use of the atomic bomb something that can be justified even after it have killed and has a lasting effect on certain lands in Japan? This cannot be justified because of the. On the subject of the Atomic bomb the force which was used may have been very destructive but I suppose that the message the U.