Hiroshima, a Tragedy That Could Have Been Averted?

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The nuclear bombings of Japan are a very controversial topic, and is highly discussed and researched by scholars and the general public. The nuclear bombings are not just a small part in military history, but a lesson in reality and the destruction possible of man to achieve their goals; these bombings have raised a whole host of ethical issues and concerns, which must be taken into consideration. There are many reasons why the actions taken by the United States and specifically President Truman to drop the A-Bomb on Hiroshima were absolutely unnecessary. On the other hand there is an abundant amount of weak justification as to why it was so imperative for the U.S. to distinguish the lives of sixty-six thousand civilians in the blink of an eye, and cause catastrophic destruction and disparity that would have a lasting effect for decades to come.             The atomic bomb should have never been dropped on Japan because the atomic bomb is not a strategic weapon. It could be compared to Pheasant hunting using a Sherman Tank.  According to writer Mary Bellis, “the bomb was dropped from the Enola Gay. It missed by only 800 feet. At 0816 hours, in an instant, 66,000 people were killed and 69,000 injured by a 10-kiloton atomic explosion” (Bellis).             We can begin by looking at the reasons that ultimately led to the decision to bomb Hiroshima, and the heart of it, with President Truman. On Dec 7, 1941 the Japanese conducted an unprovoked air assault on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor; by doing this the Japanese caused the U.S. to be brought into WWI. Bill Gordon, in his Essay reminds us that, as a result, for four long years, severe loathing of the Japanese people grew immensely in the U.S., and many U.S citizens and members of the government viewed the Japanese as a very barbaric race of people, which gave the impression that the bombing would be justified. (Gordon). The fear of them in the U.S. was so present that they were rounded up and confined in containment camps including naturalized Japanese Americans. To add to their unpopularity was their mistreatment of U.S. prisoners of war which to say the least was horrifying, and their attempts to cover them up were proof that they knew they were committing war crimes. But ask yourself, does this justify killing civilians? Although these acts by the Japanese are extremely savage; they were committed on military personnel in the context of war, not on unsuspecting civilians in the course of their everyday activities.             Truman’s reason for the bombing was that he believed that the alternative to this was to wage war on the Japanese mainland, but this would mean the death of many U.S. troops and could end in failure. He claimed this was his way to end the war and spare the loss of U.S. military personnel. In doing so, he did achieve just that, but is this not the classic example of a Pyrrhic victory?            Doug Longs article states how there were concrete proof that Japan was ready to surrender and Truman had knowledge of this, weeks before his decision. It was understood by both, the Allies and Japan, that surrender was the only way out for the Japanese. Japan was ready to surrender by mid July 1945, and had sought diplomatic help through the still-neutral Russians. In July1945, the U.S. had intercepted and successfully decoded messages sent between Foreign Minister Togo and Japan’s Ambassador to Moscow, Sato. These messages clearly stated Japans, and specifically the Emperors great desire to end the war. As I stated earlier Truman was well aware of these transmissions, but insisted the bomb was necessary to terminate the war and save the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers (Long). When in theory it was not.                The US government refused to state in the Potsdam Declaration that upon the surrender of Japan the position of the emperor in Japan would remain. This statement along with the Soviet declaration of war on Japan should bring one to...
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