Atomic Bombs

Atomic Bombs - On the morning of August 6 1945 the world...

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On the morning of August 6, 1945 the world ended in a flash of brilliance for 80,000 people in Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later the industrial city of Nagasaki suffered the same fate. The Unites States had unleashed the first nuclear weapons on an enemy in the history of warfare. The long standing question is whether on not the President Truman was justified in ordering the use of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan? The alternatives included continued fire bombings of the major cities, a continued blockade of the Japanese islands, and an invasion of the Japanese main islands. One of the problems with the first two options is that the Japanese had been subjected to both a naval blockade and fire bombings and they still had not surrendered even with the staggering number of casualties they sustained. The projected loss of life on both sides for an invasion on the Japanese main islands was sobering. Also with only two bombs ready and the USSR entering the war, the bombs had to be used had to be used in a way that the maximum effect was obtained. Finally the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been firebombed anyway and the same amount of destruction would have ensued. The American Navy and the Army Air Forces had been bombing and blockading Japan since the spring of 1945. The March 9-10 Tokyo fire bomb raid remains the single most destructive non-nuclear attack in history taking over 100,000 lives and displacing over a million more. 1 Concurrently, “Operation Starvation” was taking place in which U.S. submarines took out the Japanese merchant fleet and the USAAF mined the waters around the main Japanese islands effectively isolating them. This caused shipping, manufacturing, transportation, and food distribution to grind to a halt by the early 1 Judgment, 14
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summer. The Japanese still waged the war even with these major handicaps. “When Truman became President in April 1945, US casualties were averaging more than 900 a day . In the Pacific, the toll from each successive battle rose higher.” 2 Nevertheless intelligence reports claimed that troop strength on Kyushu was steadily escalating throughout the month of July. Also, American leaders learned that Japan was seeking to open talks with the Soviet Union in the hopes of making a deal that would forestall Soviet entry into the Pacific war. 3 These reports indicated that the Japanese could have held on until the American invasion which would not be over until the end of 1946 if the USSR had made a deal with them. The Americans offered the Japanese the chance of unconditional surrender on July 26, 1945 with the Potsdam Proclamation; on July 28,
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course PWAD 203 taught by Professor Cadell during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Atomic Bombs - On the morning of August 6 1945 the world...

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