Was The US Right To Drop Atomic Bombs on Japan

At the beginning of my research, when I started to build my paper I had the idea that it wasn’t necessary to drop the atomic bomb in Japan cities, I thought it was a cruel and an inhuman action, that United States should’ve looked for other alternatives in order to protect their American soldiers but also the Japanese civilians as well, but then as I read a couple of sources I get to the conclusion that it was necessary, that despite that it wasn’t fair for the innocent people, that doesn’t mean that the use of the atomic bomb it was not necessary, during the trajectory of my paper I will explain what were the main points that led me to this conclusion.

Many historians and scholars said that it was a barbaric action, but what about at the beginning of WWII, when Japan invade China? Japanese people wait for the country to be in one of its worst moments and when the civil war began in China they attacked unexpectedly.

Japanese people fought that war with exceptional brutality, bombing cities indiscriminately, so in my opinion I believe that the country deserved the same damage that they had done to another countries, and as everyone knows there is a quote that says “In war everything is worth”, but let’s get to the point, the current position of the United States as the world’s sole superpower is unique and extraordinary in that it can mainly be attributed to her outcome from the Second World War, and even more so the way U.

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S entered it The Attack on Pearl Harbor.

In another hand we have to consider the main points of why the use of the atomic bomb, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the kamikazes believe of the Japanese people, the term of unconditional surrender, and the avoidance of a land invasion were main points to this big decision the United States had to face. In my opinion it was necessary for United States to drop the bomb and I will discuss in this paper with facts that it was necessary and why.

Pearl Harbor is an important naval base of the U.S located in Hawaii. The unexpected attack by Japan in 1941 destroyed a lot of materials of great importance to the military base of the United States, and they didn’t only lost a lot of material they also lost a lot of American lives because the attack, “hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded”. This was the beginning of the unpredictable. United States congress approved Roosevelt’s declaration of war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Of course after all the losses they had in the military base, it was necessary to declare war, apart from the fact that there is evidence that in case of a war, Japan was not a priority for United States, its priority was Germany. “Prior to Pearl Harbor it had been decided that, in the event of war, Germany would have to be eliminated first, and that our initial role in the Pacific would, in large measure, be defensive” The United States underestimated Japan and that is what led them to have so much losses in the attack against Pearl Harbor. After destroy a lot of cities in the pacific and both countries have a lot of casualties United States couldn’t waste the opportunity to end the war with such a powerful weapon that even though they knew that Japan was already destroyed they were not the provocateurs of the war, and the term of unconditional surrender it was already an useless term.

Despite of all the destruction in Japan, all the cities that were bombed and turned ashes, for the Japanese people that wasn’t of a big importance. Japan wasn’t an easy enemy to surrender, this is when we enter to talk about their religious beliefs and how the Japanese soldiers saw their emperor what they were willing to do, to don’t give up and protect their emperor. Their religious beliefs were of great impact in many decisions of this war. As we all know the Japanese society had kamikazes beliefs. Approximately around the year 1944, almost the end of the war the Japanese realized that they could not compete with the aerial weapons of the United States since they had suffered many losses, that’s when they started to conclude that the only thing they had left was the willingness of their pilots to tempt against their lives with the purpose of causing irreparable damage.

Doing my research I found information of enough credibility to support this important point. From October, 1944, to the end of the Okinawa campaign, the Japanese flew 2,550 Kamikaze missions, of which 475, or 18.6 percent were effective in securing hits or damaging near misses. Warships of all types were damaged, including 12 aircraft carriers, 15 battleships, and 16 light and escort carriers. However, no ship larger than an escort carrier was sunk. Approximately 45 vessels were sunk, the bulk of which were destroyers. This show us that even knowing that they already had all the possibilities of losing, they were willing to continue and attempt against their lives, they were unstoppable warriors, they struggled with everything possible to not surrender and protected their emperor. The Japanese suicide air squadrons originally were volunteers, but there is some evidence that in the last months of the war its members were “ordered to volunteer” “both Japanese army and navy air forces maintained suicide, or special-attack body-ramming”. This prove us once again how the machiavellian minds of the Japanese people act against their own soldiers with the purpose to prove that they were more powerful than United States, knowing that the victory wasn’t within his reach. I get to the conclusion of, if the enemy did not have humanitarian acts why United States had to have them and take them into consideration, if they were killing their own race.

If we talk about why United States drop the atomic bomb we can’t left out the term of unconditional surrender and the avoidance of a land invasion. But before even enter to those important points I have to mention this, there is evidence that the invention of the atomic bomb was to used it against Japan but specifically to use it against soldiers that the target wasn’t women and children. “I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children”. “Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old capital or the new”. All this was saying in July 25, 1945, despite that the Japanese people were willing of doing anything to keep fighting and besides that I’m pretty sure that if Japan would have had the opportunity to obtain such a powerful weapon they were use it against the enemy without even doubt it and thinking about their civilians, but United States were taking them into consideration in order to don’t hurt the people that didn’t deserve to be hurt.

Despite that the president of United States at that time Truman appealed to Japan, where he was asked for a total and unconditional surrender and preventing them from suffering a devastating destruction, of course without reference to the atomic bomb, but the Japanese wasn’t willing to see their emperor out of the throne. “… We will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and saves lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance”. The significance of the emperor in Japanese society was very clear for the American people, “one point was clear for the high officials of the USA. Regardless of where they were at the end of the war … the critical condition for the surrender of Japan was the assurance that the throne would be preserved”. In my opinion, what this shows is that no matter how much suffering the island of Japan would’ve had the most important thing for them was to defend their emperor, in what other way would the war end, accepting the conditions of the enemy? When they were the first to attack, when they themselves had seen all the atrocities and all the lives lost and were not yet surrendered, when war commanders forced soldiers to volunteer for suicide attacks, the war would have been pointless and it would show weakness from one of the greatest world powers. Considering all this facts Japanese people needed something big to end the war.

In another hand when I was reading Truman’s paper I found some important points, the idea of avoid an a land invasion, I think it was a smart decision because it’s not the same to enter to a land to fight without knowing what is waiting for you than be ready waiting for the enemy to attack, I also think it was a safe way to prevent more casualties from both sides. “I asked General Marshall what it would cost in lives to land on Tokyo plain and others places in Japan. It was his opinion that such an invasion would cost a minimum a quarter of a million American casualties…” I understand that after 4 years of fighting they were tired of losing people and that Japan was a big enemy that didn’t want to give up, that after 4 years of battle, destructions and deaths accepting something less than an unconditional surrender would be pointless. “Although a few saw some advantage in temporizing for a brief period, maintaining the rigid formula was certainly not worth risking American lives in an invasion. In any event, ultimately the emperor was the only one who could order an end to the fighting”. Adding that the petition of unconditional surrender it was a term too long prolonged, it was like the United States screaming for them to surrender, which made them look weak and it wasn’t fair after so much effort by the soldiers and after all the investment in the war accept the petition of the Japanese people. We have to make clear that it was time of war once United States put a feet on Japanese territory everybody was willing to fight even kids were participating on that war. “Even little kids were helping at home to manufacture weapons, working all day” Japanese people didn’t care about themselves the only important thing was keep fighting until the emperor say so, how you going to involve kids in the war, they are innocent little children that have to be worry about something else not about weapons to use it against the enemy. “…But, if you don’t destroy the Japanese industry, we’re going to have to invade Japan. And how many Americans will be killed in an invasion of Japan? Five hundred thousand seems to be the lowest estimate… We’re at war with Japan. We were attacked by Japan. Do you want to kill Japanese, or would you rather have American killed?”

This lines summarize my whole ideas and points throughout this paper, it was war and since Japan was willing to do everything in order to keep fighting and not surrender United States was willing to keep their American soldiers alive and destroy the enemy. It is sad that many Japanese children, women and others that were innocent have to suffer the consequences of a government that didn’t think about their civilians and that the only important life was the life of their emperor, but United States did care about the American life, and like I mention before a land invasion it was impossible for the reasons that I already stablished. This is a big topic that many historians, scientific, scholars and even civilians had argue before, there’re a lot of opinions but when you think about a topic that have such an important impact on the history of humanity we have to consider both sides of story, we can’t think about compassion, instead we have to think with morality and ethicality it was a time where either I kill you or I let you kill me, it was a time where do I care about Japanese people or I care about my people, my society, my country, my American lives.


  1. Baldwin, Hanson ’50 Ships Smashed by Kamikazes; Craft Once Glutted Repair Yards.’ New York Times (1923-Current File), Aug 12, 1945. https://search.proquest.com/docview/107000049?accountid=26420.
  2. Harry S. Truman, Off the record: the private papers of Harry S. Truman, ed. Robert H. Ferrell (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997)
  3. Unites States Strategy Bombing Survey Summary Report (Pacific War), “The United States Plan Before Pearl Harbor”, Washington, D.C., 1 July 1946, http://www.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm#josp.
  4. Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision to use The Atomic Bomb. New York: Alfred A., 1995.
  5. History.com Staff, ‘Pearl Harbor,’ History.com, 2009, accessed November 12, 2017, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor.
  6. McCullough, David, Truman. Library of Congress, 1992.
  7. Takaki, Ronald, Hiroshima. Canada, Little, Brown & Company, 1995.

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Was The US Right To Drop Atomic Bombs on Japan. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/was-the-us-right-to-drop-atomic-bombs-on-japan-essay

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