ENC 1102 Fiedler
23 October 2012
Life and Success because of the Atomic bomb
After defeating Nazi Germany there was only one step for the United States to end World War II and achieve world peace. The U.S. had to make the Japanese Empire surrender. The U.S. armed forces had already devastated the Japanese and conquered Japanese territories of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japanese-held Luzon at a very high casualty rate. The last effort to make Japan surrender was to invade the mainland. This was going to be a very difficult task since Japan still had a relatively intact army of two million men in the mainland, the support of the Fifth Air Fleet of dedicated kamikaze pilots, and a 28 million Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps. Invading mainland Japan would cost the U.S. a high number of casualties and the destruction of many ships, in addition to thousands of allied prisoners that were ordered by the Japanese High Command to be executed if the invasion was to occur. The casualties for the Japanese would run into the millions, including civilians. All these aspects contributed to the decision of the use of the atomic bomb to make Japan surrender. During this time the knowledge about the effects of the use of an atomic bomb was limited. The decision by the U.S. to use the newly developed atomic bomb to force Japan to surrender changed the outcome of the War. The use of the atomic bomb helped save millions of lives versus the amount of casualties that the invasion of the Japanese mainland would have yielded. According to the files collected by the College of Public and Urban Affairs from Portland State University, Operation Downfall was the selected course of action by the United Sates for the invasion of mainland Japan. Downfall consisted of two parts: Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet. Had the U.S executed Operation Downfall, it would have added at least one year of military operations within Japan and have resulted in thousands of casualties for the allies and millions for the Japanese. In the Operation Downfall several estimates exist about the expected number of U.S. casualties; out of all the estimates only the study conducted for the Secretary of War takes into consideration a high involvement of the Japanese population. Estimates for the first 30 days of each sub operation varies, the most moderate suggests that the casualties would be 23,00 men and the highest estimate suggests that casualties would have reached 49,000 men. The study conducted for the Secretary of War for the complete execution of Downfall estimated 1.7 to 4 million American casualties, with the Japanese fatality ranging from 5 to 10 million including civilians. Regardless of the differences in the expected casualty rates from different studies, they were all immensely high for both sides. Executing Operation Downfall would result in the loss of millions of lives from both sides. Then an option emerged that could greatly reduce the number of casualties and the length of military operations in the Pacific theater. According to the Reports of General MacArthur’s in “The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific”, military officials did not know about the existence of the atomic bomb before drafting and estimating casualties for Operation Downfall, “The plans for ‘Downfall’ were first developed early in 1945 by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Argonaut Conference held on the tiny island of Malta in the Mediterranean. On 9 February.” (396). Shalom claims in his article, “The Obliteration of Hiroshima” in New Politics Shalom wrote, “They exaggerated not only the invasion costs” (par 28) here Shalom tries to argue that the invasion costs were inflated to justify the use of the atomic bomb, which is not true since the plan and estimates were drafted before the knowledge that such a bomb was available for military use. The possibility of using the atomic bomb provided the U.S. an opportunity to reduce casualties and to...
Cited: College of Public Affairs. “Operation Downfall: Planned Invasion of the Islands of Japan in World War II” (PDF) Portland State University. Web 23 Oct. 2012
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The Manhattan Engineer District. “The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Center for Digital Discourse and Culture. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Web 23 Oct. 2012
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