Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1697 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Military

Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The events that took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 represented one of the largest tragedies humanity had experienced throughout its history. The impact is considered to be immense not so much in the light of the power of the bombs used in the nuclear attacks, but rather from the perspective of the human damage it caused among the Japanese population. There have been numerous discussions over the real necessity of a nuclear strike against the war time enemy, Japan, and there are arguments for and against this claim. However, taking into account the war conditions and the deterioration of the relations between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R., it can be said that, without regard to the civilian casualties, the attacks had a certain historical justification.

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First and foremost, the direction in which the war was heading had constituted a solid argument for justifying the attacks. During the war, it was very difficult to properly identify a number of victims, but it was considered at the time that a future war in the Pacific would only add to the surging numbers. Moreover, there were internal pressures, especially from the American side, to stop the war. In this sense, "the cost of the war was beginning to wear on people's nerves. February [1945] brought a quarter of a million American casualties, including more than 50,000 dead. For the first time in its history the United States was in a war that would cost it more than 1,000,000 casualties. Letters and telegrams poured into government offices. One distraught woman wrote: "Please, for God's sake, stop sending our finest youth to be murdered in places like Iwo Jima." Therefore, there was a growing opposition to the war building up in America. Despite the wave of indignation and frustration triggered by the attacks at Pearl Harbor, the support for continuing the war was getting weaker, as the death toll among the Allies was rising. Therefore there was a constant need for a solution to put an immediate stop to the conflagration and to casualties.

Term Paper on Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Assignment

Secondly, the plans which took into account the ending of the war, in Europe, as well as Asia, demanded again a large number of soldiers and overall infrastructure. From this point-of-view, the expenses, especially the U.S. contribution to the war effort were as well an important factor which determined the decision to use the nuclear bomb. Following Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific had been an extremely costing military affair due to the constant conventional attacks launched over the Japanese territory. Moreover, there were specific targets which did not go according to initial planning, " the invasion of Iwo Jima was preceded by an immense air and sea bombardment; capture of this tiny island was to take three or four days. Instead, it lasted a month, from mid-February to mid March 1945; there were 2,500 casualties the first day. Total casualties in taking these eight square miles were 6,821 marines killed and almost 20,000 wounded." Thus, the argument involving the great number of victims, among the civilians, as well as the military, weighted heavily in assessing the viability of a nuclear strike over Japan. Indeed, the number of victims from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hard to ascertain, especially due to the subsequent effects the nuclear bombs had in time; in 1945 however, an approximate number of 220 thousand deaths was considered to have been less than what would a prolonged war would have caused. Therefore, from this point-of-view, the use of the atomic bomb is somewhat justifiable.

Thirdly, there was also the issue of swiftly ending a war that had caused more damage than expected with rather complicated economic implications. In this sense, the war in Europe had been exhausting for Great Britain and France in particular. There was a rapid need for a reconstruction of the European economies that had been greatly damaged by the war and the military air attacks. The capitulation of Germany on 8 May 1945 was seen as the beginning of peace, but the war in Asia was still a dynamic process which included military efforts from the Allies and in this sense "Japan had to be brought to surrender." At the same time, voices from the Government, such as George Marshall who "was skeptical that attacking Japanese cities with conventional weapons would end the war, despite what generals with cigars in their mouths had to say about bombing the Japanese into submission." All these issues were pressing on the already fragile war industries and the economies in general, whose fluxes were seriously damaged by the conflagration, as well as on the internal political environment in general.

Fourthly and probably one of the most important arguments in determining the decision to attack Japan using nuclear bombs is the foreign policy one. In this sense, more aspects can be taken into account.

On the one hand, there was the distinctive relation between the U.S. And Japan, as direct enemies, taking into accounts the events from Pearl Harbor. The American leaders at the time, especially the President, were considered responsible in front of the public opinion to retaliate in response to the Japanese attack. According to some authors, after the December 1941 events, "Roosevelt swore revenge. 'Do not forget Pearl Harbor' became a unanimous creed" Once Truman took the Presidency, he followed the same political and moral commitments his predecessor made. Therefore, the relations between the U.S. And Japan were particularly important for the overall development of the war.

On the other hand, the political equilibrium among the Allies was rather fragile as well. After the series of conferences from Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam, it was more and more clear that there were divergent opinions among the main parties, the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. While Great Britain tried to play a mediating role and follow more closely its own national interest, the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. gradually got engaged in a political and ideological conflict that would culminate with the Cold War. However, the decisions taken at Potsdam to pursue a rapid strategy for ending the war in the Far East included an increased role given to the Red Army in confronting Japan, the country considered to be the only great power still impending the road to peace. The Japanese leaders were constantly rejecting an unconditioned surrender, considering that maintaining the imperial rule of government a sine qua non-condition for any peace talks. Therefore, the U.S.S.R. entered the war, seeing this violent act as the only means available for reaching peace.

Taking these two points into account, it is rather obvious the somewhat conflicting attitudes between the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. More importantly, for the U.S., it was clear that the Soviet Union would try to extent its influence on as much territory as possible from the perspective of the Polish example which provided an illustration of the desire of the Soviets to impose their communist views in Europe and in the world. A geopolitical analysis led to the conclusion that if the Russian Army was given a significant role in defeating Japan, it would eventually be entitled to draw the peace guidelines in Asia, a possible development which was unacceptable for the American side. From this perspective, the atomic bomb was the fastest means through which disastrous damage could be inflicted on the Japanese.

Finally, there is also the moral issue to be taken into account. There have been numerous discussions over the moral legitimacy of creating casualties and causing death in order to reach peace. More precisely, the use of nuclear technology does not offer the possibility to make clear distinction between combatant and non-combatant forces; also, it cannot control its immediate, as well as long time effects. These arguments came especially following the attacks, when… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."  Essaytown.com.  October 21, 2007.  Accessed April 1, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/atomic-bombings-hiroshima-nagasaki/25036.