We all know that the US dropped atomic bombs near the end of World War II, speeding the surrender of the Imperial Japanese. Following a firebombing campaign that destroyed many Japanese cities, American airmen dropped Little Boy over the city of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945 , followed by Fat Man over Nagasaki on August 9th .
The bombings killed half of the civilians in each city on the first day, most of them dying from flash or flame burns and falling debris. During the following months, years and even decades, large numbers of people died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by other weird and rare illnesses .
As the American use of nuclear weapons in Japan is highly controversial, I do not wish to justify such act or to attack it. I just wish to think critically about such issue. The controversy of the issue is whether the use of the bomb was necessary to achieve victory in the war of the Pacific on terms satisfactory to the United States. But how do you define satisfactory? Everyone has a different level of satisfaction.
For the people who think that it was more than enough, what reason do we have to oppose the bombings? The strongest argument is that such action was not needed to end the war. The US had been undergoing air raids on most major Japanese cities starting long before August when the bomb was dropped, causing enough destruction to weaken the Imperial Japan to surrender. Such heavy air raids, together with the sea blockade and the collapse of Germany, which redeployed ally forces to Asia and the Pacific, would also have led to a Japanese surrender, making the atomic bombing militarily unnecessary. All the US had to do was to wait a little longer. Atomic bombing was simply an extension of the already fierce conventional bombing campaign. Many US military leaders as well as ex-president Herbert Hoover agreed with such argument too.
Moreover, many reports and investigations show that the main reason of Japanese surrender was not atomic bombing but Soviet intervention in East Asia. Atomic bombing just made it worse, causing more psychological effects than logistical. Some argue that the psychological effects had more strategic significance, but let’s not get into that for now. In August 1945, Soviet troops launched a surprise attack on the Japanese forces occupying eastern Asia. The Soviet entry into the war played a much greater role than the atomic bombs in inducing Japan to surrender because it dashed any hope that Japan could end the war by Moscow’s support.
The atomic bombing may have seemed justified to end the war. However, when selecting target cities, it was agreed between military and government officials that psychological factors were of great importance. The US was obtaining the greatest psychological effect against Japan and strategic use against the Soviets, making the initial use sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when it...