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Running head: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS1HIS 200 – Applied HistoryHistorical Analysis: Check ThreeSouthern New Hampshire University
Running head: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS2IntroductionFor the first two years of World War II, the United States remained neutral. While their involvement had begun when they started lending aid to European allies, it was the attack on Pearl Harbor, on the morning of December 7, 1941, that forced Congress to declare war on Japan, thus, officially entering WWII.On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, on August 9th, the U.S. carried out a second atomic attack, this time,on the city of Nagasaki. Although an official casualty and fatality toll from the bombings will never be known, the estimated death toll of 225,000 (Hiroshima - 150,000; Nagasaki – 75,000) are likely overly-conservative ("Hiroshima And Nagasaki Death Toll",2007). Shortly after the second attack, Japan ultimately surrendered, unconditionally, to the United States. The attack on Japan is highly credited to ending WWII and also represents the only time nuclear weaponry wasused during warfare. Moreover, it signaled the beginning of the atomic age, the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, and, before too long, the Cold War. However, the attack was not without criticism as some called into question the necessity, excessiveness, and potential ulterior motives of using the atomic bombs. Overview of EvidenceIn 1939, President Roosevelt initiated a series of agencies, components of which would eventually form a secret program coded the “Manhattan Project,” whose purpose was aimed at the research and development of an atomic bomb. By the summer of 1945, the first prototype was ready for testing; on July 16th, the Trinity Test occurred, which was successful, but produced results beyond expectations at a tremendously reduced scale (i.e. the prototype was attached to only a 100-foot tower in comparison to 500-600 meters, approximately 1600-2000 feet, which
Running head: HISTORICAL ANALYSIS3was the height projected for maximum effort). In the days following the Trinity Test, President Truman received a signed petition by scientists, in the field of atomic power, addressing their concerns of nuclear weaponry in war and a memorandum from the director of the Manhattan Project, General Groves, to the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, detailing the drastic effects of the Trinity Test (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, n.d.). There are numerous eyewitness accounts and several post-test summaries, which emphasizes that President Truman was well aware of the bomb’s destructive capabilities (Atomic Archive, 2015).President Truman was now faced with the reality of possibly using the atomic bomb in war. According to sources, there were four non-nuclear strategies that served as alternatives to utilizing the atomic bombs: negotiated peace, intensified bombing and blockade until November 1, 1945, a November 1945 attack on Southern Kyushu, and a massive invasion of Honshu (Miles, 1985).