The United States' Decision to Use Atomic Bombs Against Japan

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Audrey Ng
Society and History: Making of the Modern World Australia
World War II Research Essay

Question 4:
Discuss the issues surrounding the United States’ decision to use atomic bombs against Japan. What motives were behind this action, and what arguments have been made against it?

“I wonder if I can ever have children in the future.”
- Words written from a young girl exposed to radiation from the A-bomb – Nagasaki. Hiroki Sato and Kentaro Okada. (-). A-Bomb Radiation Sickness, 14 May 2013 < /#.UZIEcfBArIU.>

During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted the atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, 1945, the United States B-29 bomber dropped the first atomic bomb intended for the purposes of attack. Ironically dubbed as ‘Little Boy’, the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima instantly killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days later, on 9 August, a second bomb, ‘Fat Man’, was descended on Nagasaki killing 40,000 people. Shortly after successfully testing history’s first atomic explosion in New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, the order to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was issued on July 25. The decision to drop these bombs was influenced by the order of US President, at the time, Harry Truman. The two events are the only examples of use of nuclear weapons in war to date and this is because of the horrendous outcome and consequences that were inflicted on Japan, as well as the United States.

In the years that the two atomic bombs were dropped, Revisionists have concluded that the use of the weapons had a ‘two-pronged objective’. The Revisionists are the historians attempting to revise common perceptions of history, proposing alternative theories and motives. The first intention was to bring the war with Japan to an end; solely a military purpose. This allowed the United...
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