Was the Use of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Truman's Best Option to End World War Ii?

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The goal of the investigation is to determine whether the use of nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by U.S. President Truman was the best option to end World War II. The investigation will begin by researching other options available to President Truman, which were debated during the war. Then Truman’s options will be analysed for limitations, such as real-life practicality, as well as reliability of the source which presented the options. Some of the issues which will be examined in this investigation are why both the naval blockade and continued bombing was not an option and why the nuclear bomb was the logical choice over an invasion. Two sources that will be evaluated due to their large amount of usable information and relevant data are Hiroshima and Nagasaki-Fire from the Sky and an article from the Kemble Kollection found at http://www.mikekemble.com/ww2/downfall.html entitled Why America Was Right To Drop The Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, both of which will be analyzed in part C for validity and limitations. Word Count: 173

Part B: Summary of Evidence

The war for the United States has gone on for four years; public opinion was starting to decay. When the European theatre was still seeing bloodshed the average civilian could follow along because the locations of Europe were well known to the average American. The Pacific theatre was different in this regard; civilians had no concept of how or where the war was being fought, it is not a huge surprise it was a nuisance to the average person. However that’s not all, advertisers were marketing new and wondrous products that would come after the war ended, along with rationing and the increasing death toll that would reach over three hundred thousand lives before the war was done. With the recent defeat of the Nazis most of the world believed that the war was won; Japan would easily be shoved aside and the war was now a distant annoyance preventing soldiers from returning home and holding back new items from consumers. Because of the pressuring demands of public opinion, President Truman had to find a way to end the war, quickly and cleanly, or he would face the end of public support. Options such as a great naval siege of the Japanese main islands and continued bombing of Japanese cities were considered useless by American Generals, they thought of it as “choking, but not killing”. Preparations and planning begun on what would have been the largest invasion of all time, code named ‘Operation Downfall’ it would be an amphibious invasion of the Japanese islands involving millions of American soldiers and marines. The first invasion of Operation Downfall was named Operation Olympic and was chosen to arrive on the southern beach on the island Kyushu. However, a new report on enemy troop strength on the island, specifically the southern edge, indicated that the Japanese were quickly reinforcing the southern side of the island and that troop strength increased from approximately eight thousand to over two hundred and six thousand. The Japanese had figured out what the American military was planning. To make matters worse the Japanese government ordered civilians to take up arms and to defend to the death. With these two issues arriving the estimated death toll arrived at up to a million. With these horrifying odds, the whole goal of Operation Downfall to produce a quick surrender was now even in debate, the fighting on the Japanese Islands may last a very long time. However with a naval siege or B-29 bombing possibly dragging on for years the invasion was still the only considered option. However even the land invasion could cause long term issues; if Japan wasn’t defeated quickly the Soviet Union may also invade setting up even more tension. Thankfully for the United States government, the Manhattan project succeeded in producing the world’s first nuclear bomb, and on August 6th 1945 atomic bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on...
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