Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima: Was It Justified?

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On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb dubbed “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima and was followed by another, named “Fat Boy” at Nagasaki three days later in an attempt by the United States to end WWII. Germany had been defeated and the allied forces were sure to win the war. The main concern was how to defeat Japan. Japan surrendered unconditionally on August 14th, 1945. President Truman’s decision to use the bombs is often criticized given that the effects of an atomic bomb are so devastating and long lasting. Was the atomic bomb really necessary? There were four major alternatives to dropping the atomic bomb: using the atomic bomb in a non combat demonstration, altering the demand for unconditional surrender, invade Japan with Allied and Soviet assistance, and continuing conventional war techniques. One of the reasons Truman decided to drop the bomb was pressure from his military advisors, who believed that a full scale military invasion was too expensive. Truman was also under domestic pressure due to the fact that he wanted to please the public because he was up for re-election. America harbored strong feelings of prejudice against the Japanese people for the attack on Pearl Harbor and though it is speculation, it is thought that this had an effect on the decision to use an atomic weapon. Admiral William D. Leaky, Chief of Staff to Truman, said that it was in his opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was one of no material assistance in our war with Japan. The effects of the atomic bomb were overwhelming: The exact number of dead and injured will never be known because of the confusion after the explosions. Persons unaccounted for might have been burned beyond recognition in the falling buildings, disposed of in one of the mass cremations of the first week of recovery, or driven out of the city to die or recover without any record remaining. The Survey believes the dead at Hiroshima to have been between 70,000 and 80,000,...
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