Was the Dropping of Atomic Bombs by the United States on Japanese Cities a Justifiable Way to End World War II? Sophia Burk Word Count: 2180 IB Number: 001506 - Section 1: Identification and Evaluation of Sources The research for this paper is centered around the question: “Was the atomic bombing of
Japan by the US in WWII justified?”. The bombings were in response to Japan’s refusal to surrender in 1945, and have been heatedly debated throughout history due to their highly controversial effects. A memorandum from the US major general, L. R. Groves, to the US secretary of war written on April 23, 1945 outlining the details of the bombing and its reasoning proved useful to this investigation because it is a primary source and gives insight into how and why the US decided to drop the atomic bombs. The letter outlines the rationale behind the use of the atomic bombs and includes extensive information regarding the methods used to create, fund, and locate the bombs. The origin of the memorandum has value because the writer had first-hand experience and knew extensive information about the subject, demonstrating how US officials felt about the bombings. A value of purpose is that it was designed to inform and convince the reader of the details of the bombings’ value. A value of content is that it includes critical information about US opinions and strategies, giving insight into how the atomic bombing occured. A limitation of origin of this source is its singular author, so it does not include multiple perspectives or viewpoints. A single point of view means the letter lacks a wider perspective that would have made it more effective. A limitation of purpose is that it is designed to persuade American authorities, which leads to bias in the writing. Though this purpose is beneficial in prompting extensive research, it can also lead to persuasive language containing bias. The content is limited because while it addresses “postwar plans” in the letter, effects on America and Japan are not thoroughly discussed. Mass destruction was the main opposition at the time, so including information on danger would have presented a more thorough report. Section 2: Investigation World War II began in 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland and lasted for six years, until the Japanese surrendered to American forces in 1945. The war was fought between Allied
Powers of the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China; and the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan (Royd-Smith/Hughes, 2018). The United States was prompted to enter WWII by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a surprise attack on US military base by Japan on December 7, 1941. With the addition of the US and Soviet Union, the Allies quickly turned the tide on their Axis enemies. Germany was the first axis power to surrender in May of 1945, Italy followed in June, but Japan refused to give in to the Allied forces (Wilde, 2018).
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