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The Necessary Action Essay

1496 words - 6 pages

In J. Samuel Walker’s book Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan, he very clearly states both sides of the argument. Yes, it was necessary at the moment to use the bombs because it seemed the most convenient way to help end the war as quickly as possible, but no it was not the only option available the United States could have chosen, as the myth states (5). Nevertheless, accurate information was sometimes vague/rare, which led to misconceptions. Even though the use of the atomic bomb is greatly debated today, its use at the moment was appropriate because their other options seemed less agreeable with their goals and some people were unable to phantom the enormity of loss the bomb would produce. The use of the bomb seemed like the best option, not only because of its military gains of ending the war sooner, but for its political upper hand the United States would gain, as well.
In the July 18th meeting Truman and his advisers came up with three routes they could take in dealing with Japan besides the essential, at the time, invasion of Kyushu (37). Their first options would be the continuation and augmentation of the B-29 bombing and a naval blockade on Japan with the possibility that they would surrender without or before the Kyushu invasion (39). But in April, after much/careful deliberation, they concluded that the amount of time it would take to obtain Japan’s unconditional surrender without an invasion depended on how aggressive/intense the bombing and blockade would be, which could potentially last “from a few months to a great many years” (40).
The second option was to wait for the Soviet Union to join the war, which would hopefully yield a surrender from Japan (41). The Soviet’s entrance would help the U.S. by invading Manchuria and preventing Japanese troops form being sent home to help, in case of an American invasion (41). This did not mean that Soviet’s entry alone would be enough to expect surrender; it would have to be combined with an invasion or a threat of an invasion (41, 42). At the same time, this option would be undesirable for the U.S. because it would give the Soviet Union leverage over postwar decisions (42).
A third option would be to adjust the terms of unconditional surrender to allow the Japanese to maintain the emperor, for it to become more appealing to Japan (42). Surprisingly, many American policymakers approved of an adjustment or clarification of the policy of unconditional surrender because they feared it would elongate the war (43). Modifying the terms of unconditional surrender would also help in the postwar era by reclaiming order and making Japan less susceptible to the Soviets (43). At the same time, if the United States offered to decrease the weight of unconditional surrender it could potentially be counterproductive because it could encourage the die-hard group of the Japanese government to strengthen their resolve to resist, as much as possible, is hopes of...

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