The Decision of a Lifetime: Dropping the Atomic Bomb on Japan

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The dropping of the atomic bomb may be one of the most controversial topics in American history. Could there have been another way to end the war without obliterating two Japanese cities? Several historians have taken a side and stated their interpretation of the situation. There are numerous factors that can sway the argument either way depending upon how influential you determine those factors to be. Some main historians that debated this topic are Robert Maddox, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, and Gar Alperovitz. Each of these historians provides us with different insight, and a different answer to the question, was it necessary to drop the atomic bomb to end World War II?
Historian Robert James Maddox starts the debate by siding with Truman and states that he made the right decision in dropping the bomb. Maddox uses several influential meetings, speculations and the presidents’ personal opinions on the situation to defend his statement. Some examples he uses include, Japanese military power and mentality, saving American lives, and unconditional surrender. In short, because the use of the atomic bomb occurred, the Japanese military lost their lust to fight to the end, countless lives were saved, and Japan surrendered. Therefore, although many Japanese lives were lost in the conflict the right decision was made by Harry Truman to authorize the usage of the bombs.
One of, if not the most influential part, of allowing the bombs to drop is because of the mentality of the Japanese military and the pull they had in politics. As Maddox stated, “[t]he army, not the Foreign Office controlled the situation” (Maddox, pg. 286). Although Japan had an influential leader in regards to their emperor, the military wanted to and would have engag...

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...ecessary. With that being said, dropping the bombs did stop Soviet intervention and involvement in Japan. Therefore, if you think ahead they are fulfilling their commitment to containment. Regardless, in terms of a way to end World War II the atomic bomb was not necessary.

Works Cited

Alperovitz, G. (1995). Hiroshima: Historians reassess. Foreign Policy, (99), 15. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224041592?accountid=27700

Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. “Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan.” Taking Sides: Clashing View in United States History. Ed. Larry Madaras & James SoRelle. 15th ed. New York, NY. 2012. 289-298.

Maddox, Robert. “The Biggest Decision: Why We Had to Drop the Atomic Bomb.” Taking Sides: Clashing View in United States History. Ed. Larry Madaras & James SoRelle. 15th ed. New York, NY. 2012. 280-288.

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