The Debate Over Truman's Use of the Atomic Bombs

analytical Essay
1000 words
1000 words

On August 7, 1945 the headline of the front page of the New York Times read: First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan; Missile is Equal to 20,000 Tons of TNT: Truman Warns Foe of a “Rain of Ruin.”1 Now the debate between historians on the question of whether Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb was correct or not had begun. There are critics and historians who say that Japan was already beat and that the war could have ended by negotiations. In their opinions because Germany had surrendered, the Imperial Navy was driven from the sea by the Pacific Fleet, Okinawa and Iwo Jima were in our hands and because Japan was cut off from resources from the Indies, they believe Japan was already defeated. Japan’s defeat however was not the issue. It was Japan’s surrender that was so desperately wanted, since every day Japan did not surrender meant the killing contuned.2 It is known through military intelligence reports that even though the Japanese leaders knew that they were defeated they would keep fighting. Japanese soldiers had a code that they fought by. This code forbade surrender. The soldiers were expected to die rather than surrender. When a senior Japanese officer was asked after the war why Japanese troops chose death over surrender he said, “When any man leaves Japan for foreign battlefields, he is not expected to return until the war is over. This is taught to Japanese children, not at school, but from home…”3 This type of Japanese thinking led Truman and the U.S. leaders to the understanding that though Japan was defeated they would continue to fight. Truman and many U.S. officials not only wanted an end to the war, they wanted the unconditional surrender by Japan. To Japan an unconditional surrender would be the same as na... ... middle of paper ... ... those who served or the mothers and fathers of those who served. Endnotes 1. First Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan: Missile is Equal to 20,000 Tons of TNT: Truman warns Foe of a “Rain of Ruin”, August 7, 1945, 1 2. David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992) 437 3. Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, Code-Name Downfall (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995) 166 4. Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995) 33 5. Harry S. Truman, Memoirs Volume One: Year of Decisions (Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1955) 10 6.Alonzo L. Hamby, “Truman and the Bomb,” History Today 45 (1995): 20 7. Robert James Maddox, “The Biggest Decision: Why We Ha to Drop the Atomic Bomb,” American Heritage 46 (1995): 70 8. Truman, 419 9. Allen, 293 10 Hamby, 25 11. Alperovitz, 655

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how truman warns foe of a "rain of ruin" on august 7, 1945.
  • Analyzes robert james maddox's "the biggest decision: why we ha to drop the atomic bomb," american heritage 46.
  • Analyzes the debate over whether truman's decision to use the atomic bomb was correct or not.
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