Historiography Essay: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Shawna Fisher HIS: 340 Making History Dr. Julie Thomas 1 | P a g e
One of the World’s most controversial events took place on August 6, 1941. Shortly after 8:15am, Japan time, the Enola Gay, opened its bomb-bay doors and released the World’s first atomic bomb, Little Boy, on Hiroshima. 1 Just three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the World was rocked again with the second atomic bomb, Fat Boy. The second bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The dropping of the second bomb immediately caused the death of almost forty thousand people, later killing another some thirty thousand. Many people died within the first twenty-four hours after the blast. This essay will discuss the reasons of why Hiroshima and Nagasaki were selected at the targets, what the positive and negative consequences of the bombings and historians opinions on the justifications of the dropping of the bombs. On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Little did they know that a little less than four years later, two atomic bombs would be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just one day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan. American scientist feared that Germany would be the first to develop the atomic bomb, so the United States began studying nuclear weapons, in order to create the atomic bomb first, when World War II started in 1939. Even though the United States began studying the atomic bombs in 1939, the American scientist did not begin the development project, the Manhattan Project, until August of 1942. One of the most frequently asked questions, when talking about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is why these two cities? What was it that made these two cities in 1 “Sixty years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.” International Committee of the Fourth International. Last modified August 6, 2005. Accessed January 24, 2015. . 2 | P a g e
Japan better than all the others? According to Wilson Miscamble, when a country is planning a military attack on another country there are certain things you have to keep in mind, “You avoid as much civilian casualties as possible… and what is going to have the most military strategic value.” 2 Rotter Andrew explains in his book, Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb that, “Hiroshima was headquarters to the Japanese Second Army and Chugoka Regional Army and had been a transit point for soldiers and supplies bound for war.” 3 There were several other cities on a list for the second bombing location. When it came down to it, the United States wanted a place where the Japanese Army would suffer the most. Rotter explains that, “As Little Boy and Fat Man were prepared for the use that summer, Harry Truman reassured himself that the bombs would be dropped only on military targets. Both LeMay’s and Truman’s claims were delusional.” 4 Nagasaki, although it was picked for a location to drop the second bomb, it was not actually the first choice. The first choice was the city of
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