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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Decision to Drop the Bomb - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Name) (University) (Course) (Tutor) (Date) Introduction The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have over the years been subject to analysis and comment of whether it was justified or not. Most scholars in the field have grappled with difficult questions of why the United States decided to use the atomic bomb when the Second World War was about to end…
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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Decision to Drop the Bomb
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Running Head: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Hiroshima and Nagasaki Introduction The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have over the years been subject to analysis and comment of whether it was justified or not. Most scholars in the field have grappled with difficult questions of why the United States decided to use the atomic bomb when the Second World War was about to end. Most of the Americans accepted the decision because of one basic reasoning that the atomic bombings brought the war to a timely end. However over the later years many begun to question the conventional wisdom that Truman was saving lives (Oh 2000). This paper supports the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing and will give detailed reasons for this. Debate over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is more concerned on the ethical, legal and military controversies surrounding the United States. The bombings caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of Japan whereby Kyushu was to be invaded in October 1945 and Honshu five months later (Oh 2000). The U.S side had anticipated losing many soldiers in the planned invasion of Japan even though the number of expected fatalities and wounded is subject to some debate. After the U.S war president Truman stated that he was advised that U.S casualties could range from 250,000 to one million men. A joint study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April 1945, the figures developed were 7.45 casualties per 1000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities per 1000 man-days. Thus the planned campaign to conquer Japan would cause 1.6 million U.S. casualties, including 380,000 dead (Nathalie Ettzevoglou-Hoyer, Hammond and Mueller 2000). In addition to this fact, millions of Japanese military and civilian casualties were expected as a result of such action1. According to an Air Force Association history of the 21st century, millions of old men, boys and girls had been trained to resist by such means as attacking with bamboo spears, strapping explosives to their bodies and throwing themselves under advancing tasks. The Japanese cabinet also approved a measure to extend the draft to include men from ages fifteen to sixteen and women from seventeen to forty-five. There was an order given by the Japanese War ministry on 1 August 1944, ordering for the disposal and execution of allied prisoners of which was numbering to over 100,000 if an invasion of the Japanese mainland had taken place (Nathalie Ettzevoglou-Hoyer, Hammond and Mueller 2000). To have waited for the Japanese to surrender would have cost a lot of lives. In each of the ninety seven months between July and August 1945 around 100,000 and 200,000 persons perished in China with the vast majority being noncombat. Famine in Vietnam caused a lot of deaths in Asia especially in 1945. According to Newman, each month that the war continued would have produced the deaths up to 250,000 people. Fire bombing that were taking place in Tokyo had killed over 100,000 people in Japan since the beginning of the war either directly or indirectly (Nathalie Ettzevoglou-Hoyer, Hammond and Mueller 2000). Nuclear physicist Karl T. Compton in his defensive article said that if the atomic bomb had not been used, there would have been more deaths and destruction in enormous scale. Japanese government promulgated a National Mobilization Law and waged total war. They ordered many civilians to work in factories and militaries offices and to fight against any invading force. Hiroshima was mostly used as the headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army. It was a communication center, an assembly area for troops; it had military factories and was also used as a storage point2. Nagasaki on the other hand was very much important because of its industrial activity which included the production of ordinance, ships, military equipment and other war materials (Oh 2000). Fumio Kyuma the defense minister of Japan stated that bombing caused great tragedy but he does not resent the U.S. because it prevented the Soviet Union from entering the war with Japan. Truman on his way to Potsdam stated that he had re-examined the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. In his speech he made it clear that the ordering of the bombings was to bring about a timely resolution of the war by inflicting destruction, and instilling fear of further destruction which was to make Japan to surrender. The emperor in his speech to the Japanese said that if they could have continued to fight, the result could have been the collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation (Oh 2000). The Japanese warrior traditions were a major factor in the resistance to surrender by the Japanese military. Each soldier had been trained to fight to death and was to die before suffering dishonor. Those who surrendered were not deemed worthy of regard or respect. Even though some members of the civilian leadership advocated for diplomatic channels to attempt peace negotiation, they were not to negotiate surrender or ceasefire. There was a political stalemate between the military and civilian leaders of Japan. The military leadership wanted to continue with the fight despite all costs and odds while the civilian leadership was seeking for a way to negotiate an end to war3. In 1945 the cabinet was also split between those advocated an end to the war on one condition which was the preservation of the Kokutai. Conclusion Arguing from these facts it is clear that the Japanese war would have caused massive destructions as opposed to the atomic bombing. Being that government of Japan was not ready to call for cease fire, it was justifiable for the U.S to intervene. Therefore the critics of the United States intervention are not sincere of their critics as they are unable to provide a clear solution which could have been used to stop the war. References Nathalie Ettzevoglou-Hoyer, Nathalie Ettzevoglou, Hunter Hammond, and Tracey Mueller. "The Decision to Drop the Bomb." 2000. http://chalk.richmond.edu/education/projects/webquests/wwii/ (accessed April 15, 2011). Oh, Jung. "Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Decision to ." 2000. http://www.umich.edu/~historyj/pages_folder/articles/Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki.pdf (accessed April 15, 2011). Read More
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