The first atomic bomb was tested on July 16,1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico and was developed, constructed and tested by the Manhattan Project. The new device represented a completely new type of explosion. All explosives before this time got their power for the rapid burning of a chemical compound like gunpowder. These bombs could only do a limited amount of damage.
The United States had been in war for almost four years. Over 416,800 American lives were taken, and four percent of the world's population was killed in World War II. America needed a way to end the war as quickly as possible with the fewest U.S. casualties. A Japanese invasion was considered, but it would put American lives at stake. With the invention of the atomic bomb, President Truman made the most debated decision: the decision to use the most deadly weapon ever invented- the nuclear bomb. It was a very controversial decision. On one hand, the nuclear warheads ended World War II as quick as possible. On the other hand, it created mass destruction and devastated the two cities targeted: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some say that the United States did not have the right to deploy the two atomic bombs in Japan. The two atomic bombs killed more Japanese than the amount of Americans killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Others think that dropping the nuclear bombs was the right choice. It ended World War II quickly and did not put American lives at stake.
Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons has long been a controversial subject throughout the decades after he used it. Many scholars and people who surrounded the president at the time published memoirs and books about the decision to use the weapon. As years went, more works of writing and information were released which added more information to the vast knowledge we have of the decision to drop the bomb and of what the Japanese faced after the event took place. J. Samuel Walker wrote a book called Prompt & utter destruction which uses new knowledge gained about the bomb and new information the Japanese released, which Walker said, “has greatly enriched our understanding of the agonizing deliberations in Tokyo over ending the war” (ix).Walker did not take any sides in the book, however, he uses what material from the first book and new sources of information to evaluate why President Truman made his decision. The main focus of Walker’s book is to answer why President Truman used atomic bombs against Japan and open more discussion to the question “was the bomb militarily necessary or was it used primarily for political/diplomatic reasons that had more to do with impressing the Soviets than winning the war against Japan?” (xii), which Walker said the question “divided specialists” (xii).
When the United States caught word that Germany was close to creating the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer and other scientists wanted to create it first, for the U.S. After three years of research, the first small atomic device was exploded on July 16, 1945 in the lab at Los Alamos. Having proved their concept worked, a larger scale bomb was built. Less than a month later, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (Rosenberg).
The Effects of the Atomic Bomb
Some regard the atomic bomb as “the thank God for the atom bomb”. This places God on the U.S. side and regards the bombs as our saving grace. This bomb forced the Japanese to surrender which in turn proved the U.S. to be the heroes who saved the American’s lives.1 The Americans intended on ending the war but did not expect to end it with such a large number of casualties. The results of the atomic bomb and how it effected the Japanese people both emotionally and physically will be addressed.
The gravity of the atomic bombings was not taken lightly by the nations surrounding Japan, but the United States refused to lose any more men in a long-winded assault; the enemy 's resolve was unmatched by American standards. Majerus states, "This firm resolution of the Imperial Army to fight out an all-or-nothing battle until virtually the very last man ultimately did not go unnoticed by US government officials." (5). Further proofs of these arguments were demonstrated by the Japanese when they deployed the kamikaze (suicide pilots) to Pearl Harbor. The raising question is, however, did decisional certainty regard any ulterior motive at the time considered to prevent the death of American troops, or had there been any considered possibilities within a peaceful resolution? This has sparked another theory among the nation 's scholars. Did the U.S. drop the bombs to save American lives, or to intimidate their rivaling ally, the Soviet Union? It was later revealed that the USSR was willing to help the United States in the assault of Japan. History teacher Brent Dyck states, "At the Potsdam Conference held in July 1945, Stalin told Truman that the Soviet Union was ready to help the United States and invade Japan on August 15."
The Atomic bomb is a weapon created back in 1944 during world war two. The research for it started in 1934 with Italian scientist Fermi, he and his colleagues started subjecting uranium to bombardments of neutrons and showed new isotopes were formed. At the time they thought that they had found new atoms not found in nature. However tests done by two Germans in 1938 to 1939 showed that the neutrons were in fact splitting the uranium atom up in two pieces each about half the mass of the uranium, they later called this nuclear fission. The splitting of the atom released large amounts of energy with the two smaller atoms flying away from each other. This theory was later confirmed by a French physicist.
World War II brought up many new technologies for warfare. Advanced on existing developments such as weaponry, ships, vehicles air crafts, navigational devices and medicine are just a few broad examples of developments in warfare during this time in United States and World history. One development, however, changed the entire way of warfare. The Atomic bomb was developed during this time out of fears that the Germans had the same technologies, or at least were working to obtain it. Once the United States had this technological capability of producing atomic weapons, the way of fighting was changed. Two bombs were dropped on Japan in August of 1945, one on the city of Hiroshima and the other on the city of Nagasaki. Afterward, the ear of atomic diplomacy came up in American international relations, which as we have seen today, has led to the development of even stronger, more deadly weaponry and bombs. The bombing of Japan also brings up the still prevalent debate of whether the bombings were justifiable or not. Historians Gar Alperovitz, Robert P. Newman and Barton Bernstein all have written essays expressing their opinions in the matter.
Prior to the attack, President Roosevelt approved a strong research into an atom bomb. After the event, the nuclear weapon became very important to U.S. The U.S government, in December 1941, set up a top secret Manhattan Project. The task of the Manhattan Project was to create an atom bomb as fast as possible. The name of the project came from a city in New York called Manhattan. In Manhattan, the beginning research of the atomic bomb had been carried out. Due to the project, more than forty thousand people were employed. A chunk of the scientist in the project were gathered in a remote desert at Los Alamos, which was a remote site in the desert of New Mexico where the bomb was tested. The U.S invested, in total, two billion dollars into the project.
In the 20th century, the United States faced many issues within the nation and within the world. It overcame many obstacles and made many discoveries to come to what is our country today. This century was the most influential to society and America as a whole. One of the biggest worldwide dilemmas, however, was the Second World War, or WWII. This war began 1939 as Nazi Germany invaded many European countries. Then in 1945, the war came to an end. The United States’ opponent was Japan and after the attacks of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the government knew they must take action in war. On May 12, 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the construction of the first atomic bomb. With help from Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer and over 100,000 other scientists, thus was the Manhattan Project, a secret government based organization to construct atomic bombs, General Leslie R. Groves as its organizer.