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World War II: President Truman's Decisions

By FKPITREB Nov 05, 2015 1218 Words

World War II is possibly the most significant period of the 20th century. Indeed, this brought development in technologies, the end of European colonialism mostly in Africa and Asia, the woman’s right and civil rights movements in the US. Mainly, the fighters were the Allied (to be continued!) The allies were the winners; indeed, they brought to an end to this war by dropping the atomic bomb in two Japanese cities (World War II, Historynet). In the following paragraph, we will understand the historic context which has led to this event. In 1941, with no warning, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The bombardment took just two hours, but it was destructive. Indeed, the Japanese fighters wrecked almost 20 American naval vessels and about 200 airplanes. During the attack, about 2 000 American soldiers died and 1 000 were injured. Indeed, Japan’s military planners expected to paralyze the U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, in turn to gain time to annex and strengthen the region they wanted to control. After, they wanted to agree an armistice with the US. On July 26th, the U.S. published a request, The Potsdam Declaration, for Japan to surrender. If Japan would not surrender, the request announces “prompt and utter destruction” of the country. But Japanese failed to respond, indeed, they said they would rather choose to ignore it. War had not been declared between these two nations before this attack but Americans felt that they had to take “their revenge” (Was Truman Justified in His Decision, StudyMode). Then, the American president, Truman, dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two Japanese countries. This was a hard decision and probably the hardest that he had to take. Let’s present some arguments arguing that Truman’s decision is not justifiable. Firstly, many historians think that this action cannot be justified. Indeed many harmless lives have been lost and they consider this action as a barbaric act, and morally wrong. The US could have tried much more to get Japan to surrender. There are many arguments that prove Truman’s choice is not military justified. One of these arguments is that Hiroshima was not a military target. Innocent civilians were living in this country. Features such as mental and physical had an effect on the survivors. Indeed, a survivor witnessed the scene she saw few minutes after the bomb exploded “A middle-aged women's skin was peeling of while she was gushing out blood trying to breathe. The baby in her arms was turned into a skeleton doll” (Omdix). As a matter of fact, the bomb immediately killed 45 000 people and 19 000 after the upcoming toxic radioactive consequences (Daniel Ford, 2015). After, Truman ordered to drop the “fat man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki, instantly taking life of 200 000 people (Krieger, 2015). The revenge was taken back for Pearl Harbor. But, was it an equal payback? Or, at least, close to being an equal one? As we just explained, we can understand that of course, it was not. However many people think otherwise of Truman’s decision.

First of all, his decision can be justified by the type of enemy he was in opposition to. Indeed, the Japanese were worldwide known as the most obstinate people. It is for that reason that it was very difficult for the Americans to spread serenity in a non-violent way. As a matter of fact, the Japanese ethics was an ancient system called Bushido. This lifestyle was mainly about honoring the emperor. And their mentalities during battles were based on “fighting to death”, in actual fact, Kamikaze airplanes pilots were a very popular suicidal strategy for the Japanese; they were pilots flying into American targets, killing themselves while crashing. This way of thinking made agreements and contracts between Japan and US almost impossible. An example that we can present for that argument is the decision of the Japanese not to surrender. Face to this kind of behavior, Americans felt that dropping the bomb is the only realistic solution to end the war. Secondly, the most effective way to briefly end the war was to drop the bombs. Actually, if they would not have dropped them, Americans would have had to invade Japan; this would have led to many deaths on both American and Japanese sides. And the Americans did not want to lose more military resources after the wars in Europe. Moreover, the atomic bombs were already made and they had cost billions of dollars to make them (Alex Wellerstein, 2013). This again shows that it was more rational to use it instead of wasting more money to enter by force in Japan. Furthermore, on July 25th 1945, President Truman writes in his dairy “It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler's crowd or Stalin's did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful..."(PBS, American experience). From this quote, we can understand that he actually wanted the bomb to be dropped on military targets not on civilians. Besides, when Roosevelt died and Truman became president, he was not self-assured in his own abilities to lead the country in the right way. He relied on Roosevelt’s appointees to direct him and give information on what Roosevelt’s strategies and his intentions had been. Truman’s state of mind was to achieve in the best way possible, a low amount of American deaths, because that was what he was told by his advisors. With this goal in mind, Truman could not even see the invasion of Japan as an option. He did not want to be remembered as the President who led Americans to defeat (Professor Hartzok, 2014). In conclusion, I think that Truman’s decision was difficult but fair. Indeed, he had the courage to make a hard decision in spite of the lives it would cost and yet save. Previously, Americans had lost so much during the attack on Pearl Harbor and in Europe. Dropping the bomb saved money and American lives, it was also a good solution to end the war and take revenge on Pearl Harbor. I think that Truman, as an American leader, had the right to first think about his fellow, the American citizen, and then the others. I assume that, sometimes we should not be afraid to first think about our best more than the others. We can yet conclude from what we previously explained that dropping the two bombs was the best decision to make for the US.

Retrieved October 30, 2015, from Retrieved October 30, 2015, from BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015, from How many people died at Hiroshima in August 1945? (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015, from The price of the Manhattan Project | Restricted Data. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015, from Truman and The bomb - Essay - 1638 Words. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31,

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