Was Truman Justified In Dropping The Atom Bomb?

2312 words - 9 pages

The order to use atomic weapons against another country has only been carried out once in the entire history of the world. The invention of nuclear weaponry impacted the worlds' arsenals in a way that no other weapon had; the A-bomb was a super bomb, the first in its class. President Harry S. Truman - unexpectedly thrust into the position of Chief of Command - was confronted with the raging World War II and the creation of this new mystery weapon. It is known to all that Truman gave the order to drop two atomic bombs over two Japanese cities on Aug. 6th and Aug 9th 1945, but what is not known is Truman's exact decision process leading up to the order. Did Truman have no choice but to order the use of these annihilating weapons, which leveled entire cities? What were the factors that made Truman risk the use of these revolutionary bombs?In order to understand how grave and dire this decision was, a brief history of the bomb itself is necessary. The Manhattan project, the United States code name for the program developing the atomic bomb, began in 1940 . The project was led, in all scientific manners, by Dr. J. Oppenheimer, an American physicist, who ironically became very opposed to its use and campaigned actively against the creation of the hydrogen bomb . The estimated costs of the Manhattan project, through 1945, are $2 billion, which each atom bomb costing one fourth of that . The new technology was tested only once - in its plutonium version, not the uranium core that was used on Japan. The Trinity test was detonated near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16th . General Leslie Groves, head of the Project, wrote a detailed informal memorandum to Secretary Henry Stimson after witnessing, first-hand, the test explosion. In it he writes, "The test was successful beyond the most optimistic expectations of anyone." He estimates that the blast was equivalent to 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. He describes the effects the of the bomb on a generously constructed solid steel and concrete structure that was placed near ground zero for testing, "The blast tore the tower from its foundations, twisted it, ripped it apart, and left it flat on the ground." . This test was of a plutonium core, the uranium core is that much more powerful than the trinity test. One can not even begin to imagine what that sort of a blast would do to the population of an entire city.The Japanese style of war and war ethics did not coincide with those of the United States military. The United States' strategy has always been to fight until it is apparent to the enemy that victory is in no way possible and thereby forcing the enemy to surrender. The Japanese though did not believe in surrendering, "We had only too abundant evidence in those days that surrender was excluded from Japanese ethos," said a Military Intelligence captain. The Japanese would fight till there was no one left to hold a weapon, men and women. Taking on suicidal strategies, such as kamikaze jets and strapping bombs...

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