Pacific document analysis.docx - Document-Based Question The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima Nagasaki A Military Necessity Scott Fields McKeel Academy

Pacific document analysis.docx - Document-Based Question...

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Document-Based Question The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki: A Military Necessity? Scott Fields, McKeel Academy Directions The following documents focus on the Pacific Theater during World War II and the decision by President Harry S. Truman and his advisors to use the world s first atomic weapons on Japan. You are to read/analyze each of the following documents in the order that they appear. Following each document you are to answer the questions based upon your reading/analysis to the best of your ability. Historical Background In the early morning hours of July 16, 1945, great anticipation and fear ran rampant at White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, could hardly breathe. Years of secrecy, research, and tests were riding on this moment. "For the last few seconds, he stared directly ahead and when the announcer shouted, „Now!' and there came this tremendous burst of light followed abruptly thereafter by the deep growling of the explosion, his face relaxed into an expression of tremendous relief," recalled General L. R. Groves of Oppenheimer, in a memorandum for Secretary of War George Marshall. The explosion, which carried more power than 20,000 tons of TNT and was visible for more than 200 miles, had succeeded. The world's first atomic bomb had been detonated. With the advent of the nuclear age, new dilemmas in the art of warfare arose. The war in Europe had concluded in May. The Pacific war would receive full attention from the United States War Department. As late as May 1945, the U.S. was engaged in heavy fighting with the Japanese at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In these most bloody conflicts, the United States had sustained more than 75,000 casualties. These victories insured the United States was within air striking distance of the Japanese mainland. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese to initiate United States entrance into the war, just four years before, was still fresh on the minds of many Americans. A feeling of vindication and a desire to end the war strengthened the resolve of the United States to quickly and decisively conclude it. President Harry Truman had many alternatives at his disposal for ending the war: invade the Japanese mainland, hold a demonstration of the destructive power of the atomic bomb for Japanese dignitaries, drop an atomic bomb on selected industrial Japanese cities, bomb and blockade the islands, wait for Soviet entry into the war on August 15, or mediate a compromised peace. “Operation Olympia”, a full-scale landing of United States armed forces, was already planned for the Japanese island of Kyushu on November 1, 1945, and a bomb and blockade plan had already been instituted over the Japanese mainland for several months.

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