Exploring Reasons for the Decision to Drop Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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At about eight A.M on August sixth, 1945 the Japanese city Hiroshima was destroyed by the deployment of the first nuclear weapon, nicknamed “Little Boy.” Soon after, at about eleven A.M the following day, a second bomb was dropped, called “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. Together, these bombings caused massive destruction. The death total was well near 220, 000. Only portions of these deaths were from the days of the bombings, with an equal number occurring later in the year from exposure to radiation. More have died since from leukemia. It is unclear as to why such devastation necessary. These targets were cities, not exclusive military positions. The deaths were mostly civilians, not soldiers. Countless innocent lives were ruined by this choice by American military leaders. It is questioned why the bombs were dropped at all, much less why they were dropped where they were. Many think that if the bombs had to be dropped, the US should have chosen less civilian populated areas. Leahy was named as Chief of Staff of the army and navy to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 and was useful in this position in all the Second World War, and continued under President Harry S. Truman. In relation to the bombings he said, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were defeated and ready to surrender…” (Alperovitz, 3). Many high officials, not just Leahy were aware that it was not the last resort that the American government was selling to the general public. There were other options that were either left unexplored thoroughly or outright ignored. Even the President Dwight D. Eisenhower thought “it wasn’t necessary to hit them with ... ... middle of paper ... ...or America's defense against future trans-Pacific aggression.” (Alperovitz, 324.) Alperovitz says of General Arnold “there is also substantial, but less direct evidence (including some which seems to have come from President Truman himself) that General Arnold argued explicitly that the atomic bomb was not needed.” (Alperovitz, 322-4; 335-7) Evidence can be found for the fourth member, Evan King, thinking the bombings were unnecessary. At the very least, we know he “didn’t like the bomb, or any part of it.” (Alperovitz, 342). Alperovitz provides detailed information on the views of staff assistants, deputies and others working closely with the Joint Chiefs which makes it extremely difficult to believe that the advice given to the President by his top military leaders at the time was that there were no alternatives to the use of the atomic bomb. (Alperovitz, 319-70)

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