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The Decision To Drop The Atomic Bomb

2000 words - 8 pages

The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the United States naval facility known as

Pearl Harbor. This attack brought the United States into World War Two. Within the

four years that followed, the United States--under the presidency of Franklin D.

Roosevelt-- researched and developed an atomic bomb. This was known as the

Manhattan Project. Such a bomb was more powerful and destructive than any ever

known to man. After FDR died on April 12, 1945, the decision to drop the bomb was left

in the hands of the new president, Harry S. Truman. On July 25, 1945, President

Truman gave the order to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Twelve days

later, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, exploding with the force of 15,000

tons of TNT and reaching 5400 degrees Fahrenheit instantly (Gup 80). Six days later,

Nagasaki was hit with a second atomic bomb. These decisions changed society's

perception of warfare for generations to come. Thousands of lives were ended. Most of

these were civilians and prisoners of war. There were several alternatives to dropping the

bomb. The introduction of this weapon began a nuclear arms race. Some say that the

atomic bomb saved lives, yet thousands were killed. President Harry Truman made the

wrong decision in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because the

bombs killed thousands of civilians.

When the bomb hit Hiroshima, 350,000 people were exposed (Gup 89). The

population of the city of Hiroshima was about 290,000. Of these, 40,000 were military

and 20,000 were Korean forced laborers. There have even been records showing that

there were at least 23 American POW's murdered (Gup 89). When the bomb dropped,

between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed (Stokesbury 494). Most of these were

civilians. By the end of the year, 140,000 more people were dead as a result of radiation

from the blast. (Note: these figures may vary slightly due to the fact that many records

were destroyed in the blast (Gup 89) . Similar losses were shown in Nagasaki. Many

lives were ended as a result of this unnatural disaster, most of them civilian. The people

that did not die immediately suffered severe illness related to the bomb (Hiroshima 1) .

Many of these people later died (Hiroshima 1) . Thosse who didn't die had severe

radiation-related diseases, such as cancer (Hiroshima 1) . Many survivors had grotesque

burns on their bodies making them outcasts from society. (Gup 90) All pregnancies

within a two-mile radius of the center of the blast resulted in miscarriage or stillbirth

(Bloomfield 1-3). Moreover, not a single plant would take root for seventy-five years

after the bomb (Gup 80). Furthermore, entire communities were lost. Seventy-thousand

buildings were destroyed (Gup 80). These include schools, churches, hospitals, homes,

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