The beginning of the 1900s marked the start of the Second World War Although the U.S did not want to become involved in this war, it eventually joined after the Japanese attacked U.S forces in Pearl Harbor. By dropping two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and declaring war on Germany, the U.S had officially entered the war. Reasons why the U.S dropped these atomic bombs were and still are the subject of much controversy. After the first atomic bomb detonation in 1945 taking place in New Mexico, speculations arose disputing whether or not the implementing of these bombs was necessary to attain the surrender of the Japanese. The U.S claimed that the reason it dropped the bombs was to end the war with Japan and bring peace to the entire war as a whole. Inevitably, the Japanese would have had to surrender anyway as it suffered from severe losses of life was close to surrendering before the bombs.
If the dropping of the atomic was bombs intended to stop the war quickly and bring peace to the tension, then the U.S would’ve patiently waited for the Japanese to surrender. However, this was not the case because although the U.S claimed to have used the bombs to end the war quickly, evidence proves that its real incentive was to expose its power to the world and specifically to intimidate the Soviet Union. Throughout the war, relations between the U.S and Russia were extremely tense due to the American idea of Xenophobia, or the fear of foreigners controlling the U.S. This fear rose after The Russian Revolution occurred and changed Russia into the Soviet Union with a communistic government. This scared upper-class Americans because although the U.S claimed to be equal, there were social classes that had more power than others. And if the idea of communism spread, then the wealthy, upper class Americans would lose power.
Because of this, Americans wanted to make sure that Russia never gained anymore power so that it couldn’t spread to the U.S. However, the U.S needed Russia’s help in order to defeat the Germans. Accordingly, an agreement was made in February of 1945 at the Yalta Conference when U.S President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Russian president Josef Stalin for Russian support with the war with Japan. This caused opposition because many believed that this would give Russia too much power in the East. However, at the time President Roosevelt felt that the U.S could not win the war without Russia’s aid. After this decision was made, however, many Americans realized that they didn’t want Russia, with its communistic government, to gain more power and influence in the East. Unfortunately, at this time, Russian troops were gradually getting closer to Japan.
Because of this, the argument can be made that the U.S bombed Japan in an attempt to speed up the surrendering process so that the Soviet Union could not gain power in the East. Although this was possible, it not a valid argument because by the time the U.S realized this, Russian troops were basically in Japan already. The idea that the U.S dropped the atomic bombs in order to bring peace and end the war with Japan is not justified for a few reasons. One is because before the atomic bombs, Japan had already been devastated and was close to surrendering anyway. This was because more than 60 of its cities were already devastated as a result of the conventional bombing. Also, the U.S was blocking the Japanese Home Islands with the American Embargo, cutting of trade and resources. In addition, the Soviets had already started attacking Japanese troops in the city of Manchuria. With these factors in mind, it was obvious that the Japanese were in no position to continue fighting.
One possible reason the Japanese delayed surrender was because of honor. The Japanese people and government were very dignified group and wanted to go down fighting rather than to give up. But in their predicament, they would have had to give up eventually because they were losing both will and ability to maintain their position in the war. Many Americans also believed that the detonation of the bombs was pointless and avoidable as well as cruel and harsh. General Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed “I told him (President Truman) that since reports indicated the imminence of Japan’s collapse, I deprecated the Red Army’s engaging in that war. They believed that it was completely uncalled for to annihilate so many lives and they urged Truman and other government officials to not detonate them.
Even some of the scientists that helped create the bombs believed this; “Those who advocate a purely technical demonstration would wish to outlaw the use of atomic weapons, and have feared that if we use the weapons now our position in future negotiations will be prejudiced.” It is clear that even within the U.S system, people were uncomfortable with the dropping of the bombs. In conclusion, the United States’ decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not for the purpose of ending the war quickly and bringing peace, but solely for the reason of intimidating the Soviet Union. Evidence proves that relationships betweem the U.S and Russia were in fact deteriorating and the U.S did not wanted the Soviets to gain any more power.
Although the argument can be made that the U.S bombed Japan to keep the Soviets out of the East, by the time the first bomb detonated, Russian troops were already invading Japan. Evidence favors the idea that the United States’ decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a diplomatic measure calculated to intimidate the Soviet Union rather than a military measure designed to force the surrender of Japan. General H.H Arnold, the Commander of the American Army Air Force, stated “Our B-29’s had destroyed most of the Japanese industries… Accordingly, it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”
Courtney from Study Moose
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