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Thesis: Dismissing alternative plans, the United States decided to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to force its unconditional surrender, save additional soldier and civilian lives from a prolonged invasion, and intimidate the Soviet Union with atomic diplomacy. Alperovitz, Gar. Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.This secondary source by Gar Alperovitz examines the week by week diplomatic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the summer of 1945. Alperovitz argues that when Truman took over after Roosevelt passed, he aimed to reduce Soviet influences in Europe and used the atomic bomb with a new foreign policy initiative. He specifically notes that the bomb’s availability during the last two months of the war influenced American and Allied thinking regarding the best use for the bomb. He paints a picture that towards the end of the war, Japan was just a political pawn between to rival powers. Alperovitz, Gar, Robert L. Messer, and Barton J. Bernstein. "Marshall, Truman, and the Decisionto Drop the Bomb." International Security16, no. 3 (1991): 204-21. doi:10.2307/2539092.The following essay is Alperovitz and Messer’s review of Bernstein’s argument that therewere alternatives to using the atomic bomb and its detonation had the bonus of intimidating the Soviets. Bernstein offers a rebuttal essay that defends his position that the United States move quickly to acquire Japanese surrender before Soviet involvement. Both articles analyze the same materials and arrive at similar though different conclusions with both agreeing that the Japanese were militarily defeated. The crux of their arguments is the interpretation of General Marshall’s statement on June 18 that Russian involvement would bring about Japanese surrender
immediately or soon after. This source aides in my thesis research by offering additional materials that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Compton, Karl T. “If the Atomic Bomb Had Not Been Used:Was Japan already beaten before the August 1945 bombings?,” The Atlantic, December 1946. -used/376238/Compton’s article justifies the use of the atomic bomb to prevent the large loss of life in aland invasion of Japan. He argues that a plan of this sort would require a prolonged aerial bombardment that would kill innocent civilian lives as well as prolonging the war into 1946.