Atomic Bomb Morality

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The development of the atomic bomb and chemical warfare forever changed the way people saw the world. It was a landmark in time for which there was no turning back. The constant balancing of the nuclear super powers kept the whole of humankind on the brink of atomic Armageddon. Fear of nuclear winter and the uncertainty of radiation created its own form of a cultural epidemic in the United States. During these tense times in human history officials made controversial decisions such as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dangerous biological experiments and bombs tests were carried out in the name of the greater good and national defense. Some historians and scientists argue that the decisions and acts carried out by the U.S. during World War II and the Cold War were unethical because of the direct damage they did. The United States' decisions were moral because it can be proven their actions were aimed at achieving a greater good and those that were put in potential danger volunteered and were informed of the risk.

The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan were ethical decisions made by President Harry Truman and the United States government. By the time of the atom bomb was ready, the U.S. had been engaged in military conflict for over four years and lost over 400,000 soldiers. Truman claimed, "We would have the opportunity to bring the world into a pattern in which the peace of the world and our civilization can be saved" (Winkler 18). The bomb was aimed at ending the war immediately and avoiding prolonged battle in the Pacific Theater and the inevitable invasion of Japan. President Truman hoped that by showing the Japanese the devastating weapon the U.S. possessed, that the war could be brought to a close and reconstruction could begin. Historians that believe the bombing was immoral point to the number of lives taken by the bombings. According to Allan Winkler, 70,000 were killed and another 70,000 from the attack on Hiroshima alone. They contend that the Japanese would have surrendered without more bloodshed if given a fair opportunity. This assertion is untrue; the Japanese were prepared to surrender only after incurring irrecoverable casualties while continuing to fight the Americans. Lee Reese, author of "Yes: Japan Had the Bomb" asserts that the land of the rising sun was still rapidly producing aircraft, tanks, and other weapons in preparation for a continued assault from American forces. According to Reese, not only were the Japanese ready to continue the war, but were also close to building an atomic weapon of their own. 1969, General Minoru Genda, one of the chief planners of the Japanese Offensive, was asked if Japan had developed the bomb whether they would have used it against the United States or not. According to Reese's article, the General's response was an immediate yes and added that Japan was ready to fight to the, "last man" (Reese 41). The United States' attack saved more lives by preventing the war to continue, especially if the Japanese could have escalated it to a nuclear struggle. The Japanese were also responsible for the damage incurred by the two atomic blasts. They were informed about the attack and volunteered for the actions taken against them. The early 20th century was marked by a rise in nationalism. Nationalism is defined as an embracement to one's own country. Citizens during this time felt a stronger unity and connection to each other, and embraced their relationship with the government more than ever before. Japanese citizens knew the risk of starting a war against the Allies and therefore accepted the potential risks and responsibilities their government put upon them. President Truman also explicitly warned the Japanese. In the Potsdam Declaration, the Commander in Chief threatened, "The inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland." The United States...
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