24 March 2014
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still considered two of the most devastating bombings ever seen in mankind. There is uncertainty over the rationality and judgment of President Truman’s reasons for releasing the bombs, as well as the thought process on the mortality of the situation. However, there is no doubt that this was a difficult decision to make. The United States is still paying for this cataclysmic choice, and unfortunately so is Japan. However, no matter the devastating effects that were the result of this calamity, the bombing gave America, as well as the rest of the world, what they wanted: the end of a war. The American plane, B-29 Elona Gay dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. (Truman). Three days later on August 9, 1945 the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, an important military base in Japan (Baron). The devastating bombs had the power of over 20,000 tons of T.N.T. They were the biggest bombs to ever be used in war, instantly killing seventy thousands people and continuing to kill months afterward with the deadly exposure to mass amounts of radiation. (Truman). Before the initial bombing, leaflet bombs were dropped on Japan as a warning (Baron). The U.S. told Japan if they did not surrender there would be even more severe consequences coming for them in the near future (“The Decision to Drop the Bomb.”). However, despite the warning, Japan did not heed it. So, the United States then made the decision to drop the atomic bomb. After the first bomb was dropped, Japan continued to disregard America’s warnings and refused to surrender. President Truman then warned in a now-famous saying, “We will eliminate their power to create war.” (Truman). The second lethal bomb was then dropped. There were several reasons for why these life-crippling bombs were dropped. Mainly as a ‘payback’ for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to finalize Japan’s to surrender, and to also intimidate the Soviet Union to not enter the war or get involved, therefore, in essence, securing the victory for the Allies (Baron). Truman stated, “The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet.” (Truman). August 14, 1945 Japan finally surrendered to the Allied forces. By this time, there were over one hundred thousand Japanese deaths due to either immediate obliteration, wounds, or radiation infection months after the bombing (“The Decision to Drop the Bomb.”). The final death count for the whole war was 35 million people, including soldiers, Jews, and Russians (Kagan). The hardest decision of the war is the one of President Truman and the bombings on Japan. He risked the lives of thousands of people with one decision that would weigh heavily on history’s timeline. The choices, the bombs, the deaths, they are all a question of judgment to this day, although it is a part of unchangeable history. The bombings have left in their wake the most powerful impression on any war ever fought. Through the tough decisions, devastation, and death, the desired effect occurred: war was ended.
Baron, Robert, Samuel Scinta. “1940-1950 A NATION AT WAR: 1944-1945 VICTORY--END OF SECOND WORLD WAR.” Millennium 2000 -- 20th Century America (1996): 54. History Reference Center. 27 February 2014. Kagan, Donald. “Why America dropped the bomb.” Commentary100. 3 (1995): 17. MAS Ultra – School Edition. 27 February 2014 “The Decision to Drop the Bomb.” ushistory.org. 2014. 2008. 27 February 2014. Truman, Harry S. “Atomic bombing of Hiroshima announcement.” 6 August 1945. Public Papers of the Presidents Harry S. Truman, 1946, 197-200. Print.27February2014.