Should the USA have used the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945?
1945 began as a year of increasing tensions between countries as the war extended onto its sixth year. Military groups of the various countries involved were now beginning to seriously consider the conclusion of the war in terms of how the global ceasefire would be carried out and frankly, who would win. After the defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe, the focus had been turned towards the war in Asia and the Pacific Regions in which the Allied Forces of Great Britain, Australia and the USA were in conflict with the Axis power of Japan and her partners. Following the urge to end the war, the ‘Big Three’ made up of the three leaders of the major Allied Forces; Churchill, Stalin and Truman met for what is known as the Potsdam Conference to discuss ‘post-war world’ and as a result, the Potsdam Declaration was written giving the Japanese an opportunity to surrender or face “prompt and utter destruction”. Despite this opportunity, the Japanese chose to ignore the warning, thus, the US decided to administer the use of their newly developed nuclear weapons and drop the atomic bombs on Japan with both hope and belief that the Japanese would be forced to surrender and thus, ending the war on American terms. At the time, there was massive speculation surrounding the attack. However, the USA had entirely justifiable reasons behind the attack; therefore, they should have dropped the bombs on Japan. Firstly, Japan had been given the opportunity to surrender on peaceful terms but refused due to military being in control of the nation. Secondly, the only alternative was an invasion on Japan; however this action would not end lightly with predictions of huge casualties on the Americans’ part. Furthermore, the Japanese surrendered within a week of the dropping of the bombs proving the effectiveness of the USA’s actions.
Japan, being a fiercely proud nation, refused to surrender when offered on peaceful terms. Under the tight reins of Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese Government lead by Prime Minister Suzuki, the Japanese military were forced to think of their probable death as an act of pride on behalf of their nation. Surrender was out of the question. If a Japanese Soldier were to surrender, he would be expected to suicide as an act of escaping the utter shame he has brought on himself. When the Potsdam Declaration was issued to the Japanese in July 1945, conflicting attitudes arose among the Japanese Government. Since American spies had cracked Japanese codes, the US Government were now aware that the emperor had given his support to the idea of using the neutral Soviet Union as a pathway between peace negotiations with the Allies. Despite this, even those in favour of settling matters on peace negotiations still wanted to avoid actual surrender. On July 28, the Japanese Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki contemptuously rejected the Potsdam Declaration, calling it a “rehash” of previous calls for unconditional surrender and said that he intended to “ignore it”. The Japanese had too much honour to surrender. Emperor Hirohito was not prepared to accept defeat so his people had to be prepared to fight to the death. “We have resolved to endure the unendurable and suffer what is insufferable” said Emperor Hirohito, expressing his views on the conditions his people must tolerate as a result of their ongoing persistence to maintain national reputation and pride at all costs. Therefore, due to the Japanese government and military refusing surrender on peaceful terms, the USA was justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Japan.
As the conclusion of the war was drawing closer than ever, the USA began to weigh out their two main options: to carry out an invasion on Japan or to drop the atomic bombs. After careful assessment, only one of these options seemed ideal. If the USA were to invade Japan, the cost in troops would be massive. Furthermore, the Japanese military had four million troops...
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