Hiroshima: The Right Decision

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Arguments and discussion surrounding the Atomic bomb in Hiroshima tend to be devoid of context. They rely on the assumption that the immorality of the bomb was reason enough to not drop it on Hiroshima, regardless of circumstance. This contention, however, rests on the notion that there was, at the time in 1945, a better solution, which involved fewer casualties, an expedient Japanese surrender, and above all (according to the opposition) morality. Given a closer look, the three legs of the aforementioned argument collapse when considering how the atomic bomb minimized casualties,expedited Japan’s surrender, and prevented enough bloodshed to become a morally justifiable endeavor. Americans’ use of the atomic bomb has heard many vocal critics; nevertheless, the bomb’s use prevented superfluous casualties. Calling for an end to bloodshed, Michael Walzer, in his book Just and Unjust Wars, postulates that because the Nazis presented a great evil and that “one could reasonably argue that extreme measures might be warranted to avert it.” Hinging on the fact that an alternative land invasion could cost up to 1 million lives, in contrast to a comparatively diminutive 100,000 casualties with the atomic bomb, Walzer argument is both logical and contextual. As Secretary of War Henry Stimson asserted after the bomb had been dropped ‘“No man, in our position and subject to our responsibilities, holding in his hand a weapon of such possibilities for… saving those lives, could have failed to use it.” Stimson, indeed, understood like Walzer the severity of the circumstances. America was faced with an ultimatum: either proceed with a risky land invasion, which would cost innumerable casualties, or drop a bomb that would cost compa... ... middle of paper ... ...a war which would have cost up to one million casualties is exactly what the opposition claims the bombs use to be: immoral. Although the opposition seeks to end the war, they propose means that would result in its prolonging. They propose a an invasion that would involve myriad casualties and a dormant, militant Japan, effectively evading the moral goal of ending the war. Their position disregards the context of the situation and the inability of Japan to surrender, along with the fact that the moral standpoint in a war, is the standpoint for ending the war. Bibliography Gellhorn, Martha. The Face of War. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988. Hersey, John, Warren Chappell, and Edith Goodkind Rosenwald. Hiroshima. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946. Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. New York: Basic Books, 1977.
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