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Hiroshima And Nagasaki: A Justified End To An Endless War

1090 words - 5 pages

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Justified End to an Endless War
On December 7th, 1941 the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan. This unprovoked assault on our nation’s soil forced Congress to take action with a formal declaration of war on Japan. With the country’s entry into World War II, a secret venture was implemented by the government. The clandestine project would employ some of the greatest scientific minds in history, including renowned physicists Robert Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein. The plan was codenamed, “Manhattan,” and its goal was the development and production of the most destructive weapon known to man: the atomic bomb. Over the course of the ...view middle of the document...

As stated by Peter Kross, “Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 and it was to his successor, Harry S. Truman, that the decision on the first use of atomic weapons fell” (41). At this point in the war the Manhattan Project was just three months away from its first successful test and the war in Europe was coming to a close. However, despite having some limited knowledge, President Truman was relatively unaware of the true potential that the Manhattan Project possessed. Alonzo Hamby states that, “Harry S. Truman had been President of the United States for less than two weeks on April 25th, 1945, when Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson delivered to him a full report on the most extensive and secret American enterprise of the Second World War” (19). Consequently, numerous meetings about the bombs, casualty predictions, and targets were held in an effort to quickly inform the new President about the various capabilities of nuclear warfare (Kross 41). Although the bombs offered the promise of a quick victory, there were also a multitude of meetings with Truman regarding options that did not include the weapons. The main alternatives discussed were blockades and other more passive methods of weakening Japan. However, these approaches would have been extremely time consuming, led to a drawn-out conflict, and caused more deaths as cited by an author in American Heritage who states, “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…” (Maddox). The many disadvantages of the other non-nuclear options caused the only course of action apparent. The United States would have to stage an invasion of the Japanese empire’s main islands. After being briefed on the severity of the situation it was clear to the President that both the bombs and the invasion would result in an end to the war. With the two most likely of methods on the table, Truman had the monumental challenge of weighing the options. Ward Wilson explains in his article that, “in the run-up to Hiroshima,...

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