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"With Reference To Primary And Secondary Sources, Critically Analyse The Reasons For The Use Of The Atomic Bomb On Japan In 1945"

2765 words - 11 pages

EssayLike many of the important decisions of the twentieth century, the dropping of the atomic bomb onto the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been well documented, along with the decision process and the effort to create such a weapon; the Manhattan Project. What makes the use of the atomic bomb so profound in its individuality is the fact that a lot of the information used to convey persuasions and to base theories is quite shallow, if not entirely transparent. This makes the decision to use the bomb so absolutely fascinating, because even those who were at the heart of the decision making process seem unaware of all the facts.Perhaps the most well known reason for the use of the bomb is that used by President Harry S. Truman himself . At the very core of this argument, is that the atomic bomb was used to save lives, mainly the lives of the American soldiers, but paradoxically would save many Japanese lives too, simply by bringing the war to an end without a land invasion and occupation of Japan . The largest issue that extends from such an idea is that there would have to be an accurate figure for the number of soldiers and civilians that would die in the taking of the home islands; with particular reference to the main islands of Kyushu and Honshu. Surrounding this particular problem would be that estimates of the number of troops defending the home islands. On June 15th, the Joint War Plans committee had come up with an official estimate of 193, 500 US casualties for the land invasion, not including US Naval casualties or Kamikaze attacks . Further estimates by Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, uses the experience at Okinawa to estimate the land invasion casualties to be at around 35% of the US force, recognising a possible quarter of a million casualties for the US forces .This may have been an acceptable amount for a nation that did not have a weapon in creation designed to bring a huge advantage to the side that owned it, and for that nation to ignore it's advantage after the cost it had gone through in order too develop it would have been strange in the least. A final estimate mirrored by Byrnes estimate of one million US casualties alone, not including Allied casualties and Japanese casualties. An important thing to remember is that 130,000 civilians lost their lives on Okinawa, equalling approximately one-third of Okinawa's population, as well as another 10,000 non-Japanese slave labourers, were killed as well . From casualty estimates alone, it can be accepted that faced with potentially millions of casualties on either side, the use of the atomic bomb would be acceptable. As Conant talks about in the pro-atomic bomb essay produced in 1946 to prevent popular histories making people believe the atomic bomb was unnecessary, the actual damage to the Japanese cities and populations would also be similar to that of the fire bomb raids that were already a regular occurrence over Japan. The...

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