The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Chapter 23) Question: According to the documentation that you've seen, was the dropping of the atomic bomb necessary and justified? Historical Context: With the rise of World War II, President Roosevelt responded to the increasing conflicts across Europe, by announcing the United States’ neutrality, hoping that the nation could stay out of the war. However, the relations between the United States and Japan remained unsettled. In 1940, President Roosevelt embargoed sales of aviation fuel, metal, and other materials that Japan needed for war, in response to Japanese troops invading northern Indochina. This did not stop Japan from gaining access to Indochina’s resources. In response to this, Roosevelt then froze all Japanese assets and ended all trading with Japan. In retaliation to Roosevelt, Japan attacked the U.S naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.This intrusion left more than 2,400 Americans dead and 8 battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, and almost 200 planes damaged. This event suddenly ended the United States’ neutrality, leaving Congress voting to go to war with Japan, and the United States entering the global conflict. Given a code name, the U.S atomic program, called the Manhattan Project, was a secret project to develop atomic bombs. President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs over Japan, brought rising controversy over whether or not the bombs were necessary, before the explosion over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and after, continuing to this day. Document #1: Petition to the President of the United States, July 17, 1945 (Document 23.7) Context: This document, composed on July 17, 1945, was written by 70 scientists that were all involved in the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was military supervised, with very few people knowing about the top-secret project. Congress had actually given 2 billion dollars without knowing the project's true purpose. President Truman didn’t learn about the hidden purpose of the project until FDR had passed in spring of 1945. Once Truman was notified of the real intentions of the project, he ordered the State Department to announce an ultimatum to Japan, demanding that the Japanese surrender now, or the United States would threaten annihilation. Japan responded by declaring they would surrender if it was on a conditional means, which left Truman declining their request. Now, with the issues of Japan’s decision to surrender or not, the war between them and the U.S had difficulty coming to a close. The atomic bombs were created in hopes that the war could finally come to an end, and that it would save American lives. This document is directed to President Truman, as a petition, asking him to look for an alternative solution to dropping atomic bombs on Japan.
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- Summer '19
- World War II, japan, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki