The 6th of August 1945 was a day that people will always remember with terror. On this day, an atomic bomb was used by the U.S. against Japan, in the city of Hiroshima. This was the first time in world history. Before this sad event, Japan and the U.S. were having conflicts with each other because Japan tried to invade parts of Europe and the Pacific. In an attempt stop Japanese aggressions, the U.S. decided to stop the sale of war materials, such as iron and oil, to Japan. This angered the Japanese, and after peacetalks failed, the Japanese made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. After this attack, the U.S. declared war on Japan. The two nations fought until after both Atom bombs were dropped (Ellis, 381-382). Through the orders of U.S. President Harry Truman, 13 sq. km were deserted, 70, 000 of 76, 000 buildings were destroyed, more than 70, 000 people were instantly killed, 122, 000 died later, due to the effects of the bombings, and 246, 000 more were severely injured (Söhr, 2). In this essay I want to explain why I would not have bombed Hiroshima like Harry Truman did, although there might have been several reasons to justify his decision.
Trumans main reason for dropping the bomb was that it was necessary to stop the war, since the only other way would have been an invasion of Japan which ,as he believed, would have caused an immense loss of lives on both sides. I believe it was not necessary, since war was already won in Europe, and the U.S. could now focus entirely on the war in the Pacific (Ellis, 381-382). The Japanese would have to surrender sooner or later anyway because the economy and military were totally destroyed, and there was no navy .The US had also set up a blockade that would prevent Japan from receiving any supporting materials, and the air force , or the remainder that still existed, was not able to fight the US-bombers (Sternal, 2). Therefore, there was no possibility for the Japanese to win or continue the war over a long period of time.
Because the battle of Guadalcanal showed Truman that the Japanese were not going to surrender easily and would fight to their deaths, he claimed that the bombing was justified by declaring that the bomb would save more lives than lost by a US invasion of Japan (Long, 2). This statement is only an assumption because nobody knew what the bombs effects were, since this was the first time somebody used it on humans. Another reason why this argument doesn’t justify Trumans decision is because he could not have known how many people would have died due to the fact that there never had been an invasion of Japan yet. Even if he could have known how many people would have died, I seriously doubt that he knew how many people the bomb would have killed as well, again, because this was the first usage of the weapon.
Thirdly, even though the Japanese didn’t seem willing to surrender, there were several
organisations who promised Japan would surrender if it be guaranteed that the nation should remain with the emperor as the main ruler. The US did not respond to this, but instead made the Potsdamer Declaration , which demanded instant unconditional surrender from Japan. At first the Japanese didn’t react, but on August 10th 1945, the government accepted the declaration and was willing to give in, when the US suddenly decided to accept the demands of the peacefighters in Japan. Through the acception of their demands, the Japanese peace fighters had a good reason to end the war (Long 2), following there was no need to throw the bomb and kill all the people.
Another reason why the US dropped the bomb, which is often not mentioned because it displays the US in a “bad light”, is due to imperial rivalries. Although this attack had no influence on the further development of the war, except that the Japanese surrendered, (which they would have done anyway), it was very significant to the political development of the U.S.. The new weapon showed its main rival, the USSR, that the US had indirectly “won” the war, and also displayed the new power of the atom bomb. It’s hard to believe that it was a coincidence that the bomb was dropped when Stalin decided to get involved with Japan (Söhr, 2).
Through this the US wanted to make clear to Russia that they were capable of defending their spheres of influence effectively. I think that the US was visioning Russia as a enemy rather than a ally. Truman described the war goals of the US as, “If we see that Germany is winning, we should support Russia, but if Russia is winning we should support Germany and through this make them kill each other as much as possible…” (Söhr, 4). This does not only show that Truman didn’t care if Russia or Germany won, but was only interested in how the US benefited the most, which isn’t necessarily bad, but since the U.S. and Russia were suppose to be allies, America should have supported them instead of fighting against them.
The US benefited from the atom bomb because now everybody, especially the USSR, knew how powerful they were.
After the dropping of the atom bomb, Truman said the following, “Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners at war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of welfare…”
( Hiroshima: Was it necessary? 2). In this speech Truman lies. You can not forget that almost all the people in Hiroshima killed and injured by the bomb were civilians and definitely did not fit to his description. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor might have been a surprise, but was not intended to hurt civilians. And again, it was the first time the atom bomb was used, so nobody was informed about the consequences and the Japanese weren’t even warned that they were being used for the first “mission” of the atom bomb.
Since all the above evidence shows me that the decision of President Harry Truman was a mistake, I think it is very sad that not one president has apologized to Japan yet. I believe the bomb was an act of revenge on Japan, rather than an act of necessity, done upon innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the war, but were merely used as “testing-objects.” The 6th of August 1945, also showed me that nations are able to use atomic weapons to display their power, and it can happen again. What makes the decision wrong, and the main reason why I would have decided differently, was the fact that the bomb was dropped over a city full of innocent people, who were neither responsible for the actions of the government nor could they influence the treatment of soldiers in prison.