Was dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II the most affective action that the United States could have taken? In the American eyes it was a good punishment on Japan in response to the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7, 1941. The way the Japanese leaders launched the fighter planes that came in a destroyed many U.S. naval ships and took thousands lives, including soldiers and innocent bystanders, was a completely immoral action because Japan had hinted interest in keeping the peace with the United States. Pearl Harbor at the time was not in a high alert situation because the U.S. was under the impression that Japan would attack do to them being interested in keeping peace. In fact the U.S. soldiers were not manning anti-aircraft guns or any other defensive type weapons at the time prior to the attacks. The U.S. naval and air strength in the pacific were crippled by the attack, thus making the attack from Japan successful. On December 8, 1941 the United States Congress declared war on Japan in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not everyone wanted to enter this war. When I say everyone I only mean one. Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana was the only vote against declaring war on Japan. Rankin had also voted against going into World War 1 (Anderson). The attack on Pearl Harbor sparked the United States to take drastic measures to ensure victory over Japan in order to have the peace of mind and to insure the safety of innocent Americans. On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped the atomic bomb named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the United States dropped the second atomic bomb name “Fat Man” on Nagasaki, Japan. On August 14, 1945 Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender and then on September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered and World War II was finally over (1942). Although the war was finally over there were a couple consequences to the devastation which including innocent lives being lost to the initial blast from the bomb and extreme radiation exposure, and the argument of whether or not dropping the atomic bomb was a justified decision in sealing the victory with Japan.
The droppings of the atomic bombs gave Japan a scar that will never under any circumstance completely heal. Although they can cover it, up the damage has already been done. The United States can not just rewind time and change what had happened. If they could, then history would change entirely. If that were the case, who knows what the outcome of World War II would have been. If the war had not ended that day the death toll could have possibly rose to unimaginable numbers. Together, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had a death toll of 210,000 people. Other than the deaths, civilians who survived the actual bomb blast suffered from extreme radiation. Out of 280,000 survivors only forty-five percent were alive and they were tested 60 years later for long term effects to the radiation exposure. The findings were that survivors of the radiation exposure were more at risk for long-term risks of cancer which would linger with the person for their lifetime. The exposure also held their unborn children at risk of not being capable of growing as big and not having the intelligence as children that were not exposed to the atomic bomb radiation. Unborn babies were born with mental retardations and malformations because of the mother being exposed the huge amounts of radiation during her pregnancy. Symptoms of survivors were typically headaches, dizziness, and liver malfunction and nutritional issues. Survivors who were badly burnt almost had no chance of survival. Japan did not have enough supplies and the sophisticated equipment during this time to help heal all of the victims with extreme burns. In response, the nurses would help the ones that could be healed and just let the people who were to severely burnt die a slow and painful death. It had to be very heart breaking to see people all around you suffering and not having the ability to help them. Today Hiroshima has a population of 1.1 million citizens and has grown to be a very plentiful and pleasant place to live. However, the scars of August 6, 1945 will always linger in the back of the Japanese citizens minds (Lynzy).
Dropping the atomic bomb was a defense mechanism of the U.S. to avoid having to go into Japan and kill more people than necessary. But was this action truly justified in order to persuade Japan to surrender? In the American eyes at the time it was the best move possible to ensure that the U.S. equaled the playing field after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The attacks on Pearl Harbor put hate in American eyes because it was a secret planned attack that no one saw coming. The U.S. citizens thought that Japan was keeping peace with the United States. After the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the view and opinion on Japan changed drastically within America. To the mid 1960’s, the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan was considered the best choice that the U.S. could have chosen to end the war sooner. The U.S. had a code breaking operation called “Magic” which deciphered millions of messages from the Japanese. The messages that were being sent showed no interest in Japan unconditionally surrendering anytime soon. During the summer of 1945, Japan was trying to make a deal with Russia, and the Japanese military leaders wanted a deal to keep the regime that started the war in power. Japan had actually been waiting on the U.S. to land in their country. Japan had been hiding over 12,000 aircrafts to use against the U.S. After the bombings there was a post war estimate of Japanese land defense and the ratio of Japanese defense to the U.S. was 3:2. The Japanese were also training civilians and children to attack U.S. soldiers. So if the U.S. had invaded Japan, innocents would have been killed regardless. It is hard to fight if you do not know who your enemy is. The estimation of monthly Japanese deaths if the war would have continued would have ranged from 250,000 to 400,000 people. The numbers were so high that the decision to drop the atomic bomb was that much easier to make. The death numbers from the atomic bomb was significantly much lower than that of the estimated monthly toll if the war continued (Palmer).
In conclusion, the purpose of dropping of the atomic bomb was to end World War II sooner and minimized the amount of people being killed that had no part in the war. There are definitely positives and negatives to the brutal warfare and the way it ended. In my eyes the positives out weigh the negatives because the death toll if the U.S. entered Japan would have been much larger then the bombing itself. Pearl Harbor was a big dampener on the U.S. and the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a dampener on Japan. The atomic bomb was not a way to get even but a way to end the war with much less casualties.
1942, April. "World War II: Timeline." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 07 Feb. 2012.<http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007306>. Anderson, Erik. "Pearl Harbor - The Bombing." Erik Anderson [.net]. 1999. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.erikanderson.net/pearlharbor/facts.html>. Burr, William. "The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources." The George Washington University. William Burr, 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/index.htm>. Lynzy. "Hiroshima Bombing Affects." Lynzy on HubPages. Lynzy, 2007. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://lynzy.hubpages.com/hub/Hiroshima_Bombing_Affects>. Palmer, Gary. "Was Using the A-Bomb Justified." Http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1459018/posts. SupreesedNews.com, 7 Aug. 2005. Web. 7 Feb. 2012.