The Morality Of The U.S. Bombing Hiroshima

1663 words - 7 pages

The Morality of the U.S. Bombing Hiroshima

On August 6 and 9, 1945, the only atomic bombs ever used in

warfare were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The mass destruction and numerous deaths caused by those bombs

ultimately put an end to World War II.

Was this the only way to end the war, however? Could this killing

of innocent Japanese citizens had been avoided and the war still ended

quickly. This paper will go into this controversial topic. First, a summary

of the events leading up to the bombing and the events that followed:

With the end of the European war, the Allies focused their efforts

on Japan. Though they were losing miserably, the Japanese continued to

fight back.

The Potsdam Proclamation was issued to the Japanese. It made no

mention of Japan's central surrender condition, the status of the Emperor.

In Japan, the Emperor was viewed as a god. Therefore, Japan rejected the

Potsdam Proclamation.

The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and

Nagasaki. Russia declared war against Japan. Japan, because of its military,

still refused to surrender. The Japanese government voted against surrender.

Japanese believe in "death before dishonor."

Japanese peace advocates feared for the safety of the Emperor.

They begged him to break with tradition and make government policy by
calling for peace now. As a result of the Emperor's call to surrender, the

entire Japanese cabinet, including the military, agreed to surrender. The

cabinet saw that this would allow the Emperor to be retained.

The Japanese would have fought to the death if they did not feel

the Emperor would have been spared. They may have been fighting a

losing battle, but they saw unconditional surrender as a threat to the


President Truman had been advised of the importance of the Emperor

to the Japanese.

Japan was seeking Russia's help to end the war in July 1945. The

U.S. was aware of this at the time through intercepted Japanese cables. But, the

U.S. did not keep up with this change in Japan's position. Instead the U.S.

chose military methods of ending the war rather than diplomatic methods.

The desire for revenge helped make military methods more attractive.

After the creation of the atomic bomb was complete and before it

was dropped there was uncertainty to whether or not it should be used.

Many scientists argued that it should not be used. Truman had a difficult

decision to make. He had much advice given to him towards making a


Leo Szilard's first version of his petition was more strongly worded

than the final version. Regardless, on July 3, 1945, he presented to

President Truman his reasoning for not using the atomic bomb on Japanese

cities. It was signed by 58 other scientists.

Rejecting the pretense that the targets would...

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