Prompt and Utter Destruction

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Upon reading “Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan” by J. Samuel Walker, a reader will have a clear understanding of both sides of the controversy surrounding Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The controversy remains of whether or not atomic bombs should have been used during the war. After studying this text, it is clear that the first atomic bomb, which was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, was a necessary military tactic on ending the war. The second bomb, which was dropped on Nagasaki, however, was an unnecessary measure in ensuring a surrender from the Japanese, and was only used to seek revenge. In 1945, the United States was facing severe causalities in the war in the Pacific. Over 12,000 soldiers had already lost their lives, including 7,000 Army and Marine soldiers and 5,000 sailors (32). The United States was eager to end the war against Japan, and to prevent more American causalities (92). An invasion of Japan could result in hundreds of thousands killed, wounded and missing soldiers, and there was still no clear path to an unconditional surrender. President Truman sought advice from his cabinet members over how to approach the war in the Pacific. Although there were alternatives to the use of atomic weapons, the evidence, or lack thereof, shows that the bombs were created for the purpose of use in the war against Japan. Both the political members, such as Henry L. Stimson and James F. Byrnes, and military advisors George C. Marshall and George F. Kennan showed little objection to completely wiping out these Japanese cities with atomic weapons (92-97). The alternatives to this tactic included invading Japanese c... ... middle of paper ... ..., in a way that would undoubtedly change the image of the American military. The bomb on Hiroshima did just that, and left Japan with only the option to consider a surrender that would end the war. The first bomb was a horrific, necessary military operation. The bomb that destroyed Nagasaki just three days later, with a warning after the fact, was an animalistic attack. With the combination of the bomb on Hiroshima and the Russian invasion, the attack on Nagasaki was completely unnecessary. If the United States had never used the second bomb, the same conclusion would have been reached, but without the added destruction and brutal murder of innocent, noncombatant Japanese. Works Cited Walker, J. Samuel. Prompt and Utter Destruction Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan, Revised Edition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2005. Print.

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