"The Shift In Atomic Bomb Attitude" Assignment: Why Did Attitudes Change After The Atomic Bomb Had Been Dropped?

2410 words - 10 pages

The attitude associated with atomic bombs has changed constantly within the past decades. The changes have occurred because different leaders were in office, different situations developed throughout the world, and differences in time period. Attitudes about atomic bombs changed because of the differences in time period in which many things had changed. This change in attitude can be demonstrated by contrasting the first document, a white house press release by President Harry Truman, with the second document, a letter from President Ronald Reagan. The first document by President Harry Truman concerned the offensive stance of the United States regarding the atomic bomb, and the other by President Ronald Reagan suggested a defensive side, needed for protection against possible aggressors. The offensive stance considered the use of the bomb as a way of destroying cities, killing people, and gaining power. The defensive stance introduced by President Reagan showed a way to prevent the offensive uses from ever being considered again. The two documents represent four decades of changes in which the attitude of the atomic bomb shifted from an offensive stance to a defensive stance. An example of the United States' attitude of the atomic bomb in 1945 is found in a statement President Harry Truman issued as a White House press release on August 6 only sixteen hours after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The document explained to the world and Americans alike, the technicality of the atomic bomb, the United States' position on the atomic bomb, and justified the validity of our use of the atomic bomb. He was sure to include details about the sheer, brute power of the bomb, which was unheard of in the present times. For an example of its awesome power, President Truman made a few remarks about the devastation on Japan. He clarified that the war was begun by the Japanese and not by the United States. He then proceeded to offer another chance for the surrender of the Japanese. He said that the United States had won the race to develop an atomic bomb, and that the Germans had failed although they had been trying to produce the same bomb for sometime. President Truman attributed that to the fact that the intelligence of the United States was greater than that of the Germans. Only later did the world fully understand the consequences of having and using such a powerful bomb, but at that time people did understand the power of having the bomb and the United States' offensive stance on the bomb. The offensive nature of this press release is blatantly obvious, from the description of the power of the bomb to the ultimatum; the United States was being portrayed as having a stern offensive stance. Right from the beginning Truman stated, "The bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. ...which is the largest bomb ever used in the history of warfare" (Truman 64). President Truman was sure to include that it is the biggest...

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