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Understanding The Decisions To Drop The Atomic Bomb

1583 words - 6 pages

The death of thousands in a moment, this was the power of the weapon the United States held in their possession. It was nearly the end of World War II. With Germany defeated and the Allied Forces ready for the cease-fire, only the Axis power of Japan stood in the way of the end of the World War. Worried about Nazi Germany’s technological advances earlier in the war, the United States began to research atomic energy and the possibility of creating an atomic bomb (Walker 10). When the bombs were created, the arguments for and against the use of it were gruesome, lengthy, and all understandable in some way. During the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan, President Harry S. Truman and his fellow politicians had to consider the ethical arguments provided by the scientific community and the pragmatic arguments provided by the military; in order to make a decision that would be the most beneficial for the nation.
After previous battles with Japan, those within the military came to understand that the Japanese were so dedicated to protecting their country that they even used tactics like suicide bombers to take down US planes. With such dedication and passion displayed only in the defense of a small island off the coast of Japan1, the military could only imagine what the casualties might be if they were to lay an attack on their homeland. (Hughes 50) Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War at the time, predicted that if an invasion of Japan were to take place that it would end in, “over a million casualties to American forces alone” (Walker 3). When the atomic bomb became operational, it was a choice based on the mindset of those working within the military that would determine their view on the matter. Understanding that the war was almost over, no one was very eager to put soldiers back out on the field for another year when the war could be ended in a month with the help of the atom bomb. The use of this bomb would mean saving both military supplies and American lives at the cost of the Japanese. (9) Though few could see much trouble with such an outcome, the scientists had another way at looking at these options.
Though the scientists themselves were the ones to encourage the creation of the atom bomb, their plans and views differed immensely from those of the military. As World War II raged on, Germany was suspected of harnessing atomic energy and directing it into powering a weapon. Albert Einstein, agreeing with Leo Silzard, the man who first thought into the concept, urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to look further into the study of atomic energy and the possibility of using it for a bomb. President Roosevelt, fearing the German’s advances in this study, quickly agreed and sent money to the University of Chicago to begin the study and research of atomic energy. (Roleff 62) (The Manhattan Project 1) Upon sending this money, the top-secret research program and building of the atomic bomb began. Later moving from Chicago to Los Alamos, New...

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