Autonomy and Responsibility The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bombs on Japan
Along with being a world superpower comes a long list of resposiblilities. One such responsibility is the decision of how to deal with other nations when they get out of line. People will always point fingers at who they think is at fault when a nation has to go to war with another. One such example of this is when the United States was brought into the Second World War because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By becoming involved in World War Two, the U.S. had to fight Japan, which led to the most important decision of the century. This decision was whether or not to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This decision was mainly placed on the shoulders of President Harry Truman.
Truman did not jump to the idea of using the atomic bombs on Japan right away. In fact, he and other military officials came up with a few strategies for invading the Philippines initially (1, 17). Some military officials first proposed creating a blockade in the Pacific with carriers (1,18). Another plan was a two-phase amphibious assault on the island of Kyushu (1,18). In this plan the first landing would be followed by a larger second invasion (1,19). With this plan, though, it was estimated that Japan would not surrender until late 1946 (1,21). Also, it meant the use of British troops, and Great Britain could not afford to spare any because of the campaign in Europe (1,21). This meant that far too many lives would be lost on both sides, with a startling amount of half a million on the American side. By now the idea of using the first atomic bomb on Japan was being born. Due to the difficulty of fighting the Japanese in the Philippines, partially because of the superiority of Japanese planes to the American planes and partially because amphibious assaults would take too long, it was becoming more and more apparent to Truman that America may have to put a swift end to the war in the Pacific (1,20).
Due to the tremendous projected amount of lives that would be lost in Hiroshima, both enemy soldiers and civilians, Truman wanted to try every other plan for the surrender of Japan before he decided to drop the atomic bomb (3,55). Truman also wanted to give Japan a more than fair chance to surrender before the use of the newly discovered atomic weaponry (3,55). Had the U.S. had someone like Hitler as president at the time, we may have dropped the atomic bomb right away. Truman was not a violent person by nature though. He had never fought in any wars, nor did he like to see human suffering or the loss of life (2,43).
America was not alone in the development of nuclear weapons. Germany had also been developing nuclear weapons throughout the course of the war (3,58). Germany's plan was to use atomic weaponry in the famous V-1 and V-2 rockets (3,58). With these rockets they thought they could conquer the world, but the plan failed. What Germany did succeed at, though,...