HistoryPaper - Atkins 1 Theidre Atkins History 2112 TTR...

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Atkins 1 Theidre Atkins History 2112 TTR 8:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m. Professor William Stueck President Harry S. Truman’s Decision to use Atomic Force: Why Did He Do It? In American society the president makes many decisions which can spark wonder, curiosity, anger, and sometimes joy. However, more often than not, when a president makes a decision concerning a growing American concern, the choices often spark controversy. Such is the choice made by former President Harry S. Truman in regard to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. Truman’s decision to bomb Japan sparked controversy because many did not understand his reasoning. The issue was dominant in the minds of many Americans. Though there was much debate and discussion on the subject, four main theories emerged as possible explanations: Truman decided to use nuclear force because he wanted to impress the Soviets with American atomic warfare, decrease possible Soviet involvement in the war crisis, to appease American outcry from citizens and Congress on the matter or to end the war with as few American casualties as possible. However, though all these explanations carry some degree of importance in discerning Truman’s decision, the more salient of these reasons is the theory that Truman dropped the bomb in order to end the war. One possible theory for the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. is that Truman decided to do it in order to impress the Soviet Union with American atomic power.
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Atkins 2 Since the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 12 th , 1945 relations between Russia and the United States were strained 1 . Russia, as it seemed to the American government, did not view the United States as a nation worth listening to and thus disregarded most of what was asked of them from the U.S. standpoint. Many political theorists concluded that because Truman wanted to better this strained “relationship” between Russia and the United States, he dropped the bomb to show how advanced American atomic warfare had become. An example of this belief would be the American concern over Russian presence in Hungary and Romania in postwar time and their hesitation of asking Russia to vacate. The United States, concerned about the Soviets gaining too much land and power, wanted Russia to evacuate their military force and leave the areas alone. According to James Byrnes (the Secretary of State for President Truman), without dropping the bomb on Japan, Russia would not have entertained the idea of listening to our concerns and oblige our request to evacuate Hungary and Romania as soon as possible 2 . As quoted by Byrnes, “It would be very difficult [for the United States] to persuade Russia to withdraw her troops from these countries (Romania and Hungary) without some significant clout over her judgment. However, if she [Russia] were more impressed by American military might, then maybe she would be more manageable in the long run 3 ” Essentially, some political analysts
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This note was uploaded on 03/20/2008 for the course HIST 2112 taught by Professor Sutter during the Spring '07 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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HistoryPaper - Atkins 1 Theidre Atkins History 2112 TTR...

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