The Atomic Bomb

The Atomic Bomb

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The Atomic Bomb

The atomic bomb is a powerful, explosive nuclear weapon. It is fueled by the fission of the nuclei of specific amounts of plutonium or uranium, in a chain reaction. The strength of the explosion created by one of these bombs is equal to the strength of an explosion created by thousands of tons of TNT.

To detonate one of these bombs, enough mass of plutonium or uranium must be provided to reach what is known as "critical mass." Critical mass is the mass at which the nuclear reactions going on inside the material can make up for the neutrons that are leaving the material through its outside surface. These materials are usually separated within the bomb so that critical mass cannot be reached until the bomb is ready to explode. Once the chemical reactions within the bomb begin, the neutrons released by each reaction hit other atoms and create more fission reactions until all the material is scattered, or completely exhausted. This process releases enormous amounts of energy in the form of extreme heat and a massive shock wave. These nuclear explosions, in addition to their pressure waves, high winds, and flash burns, produce deadly radiation that contaminates soil and water, and destroyed living matter.

The atomic bomb was first created in the early twentieth century. Physicists in the United States and Europe had discovered that the fission of uranium could be used to create a deadly explosive weapon. A letter was sent to U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt by Albert Einstein that described this discovery and warned him of its potential dangers if developed by other nations. The Manhattan Project was established by the U.S. government in 1942 so the country could develop an atomic device. A team under the command of United States Army Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves designed and built the first atomic bombs, directed by J. Robert Oppenheimer. This type of bomb was first tested at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The amount of energy that was released by this explosion alone was equivalent to twenty thousand tons of TNT.
Many nations have tested nuclear devices, in the atmosphere, under the earth, and under the oceans. Only the United States of America, Russia, Great Britain, France, and China openly admit to possessing these nuclear weapons. Many other nations, however, are thought to have the capability to assemble these items quickly.

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After World War II ended, there was a considerable amount of support developed for arms control, and for alternatives to military conflict in international relations. The United Nations Charter was designed to permit a "supranational" agency to enforce peace, avoiding the many weaknesses of the League of Nations agreement. Through this, attempts through treaties, proclamations, convention, and tacit agreement to limit the destructiveness of war by controlling the acquisition and use of weapons and military technology have been made. It has been noted, that in three thousand years of recorded history, that less than three hundred years have been free of armed conflict.

The two major memories using this type of bomb were used in World War II, to prevent further expansion and military dominance by Japan. It became a member of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis, causing the United States to freeze all Japanese assets. The United States also cut off all oil sales to Japan. A peace delegation was sent by Japan to Washington, D.C. Japan promises to withdraw from Southeast Asia, if the United States will unfreeze their assets, sell scrap iron, stop aid to China. The United States refused this offer, and on December seventh, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. The United States made an agreement with England that the "European theater" would be the first priority in the war, then the allies would help the United States defeat Japan. It was after this that the United States developed the atomic bomb.

The only times that nuclear weapons were used in a conflict between nations was near the end of World War II, in an attempt to get Japan to surrender to the United States. The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima . Over one hundred thousand people were killed by "Little Boy," the bomb that was dropped on this city. After Japan still did not surrender, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, another Japanese city. "Fat Man," as this bomb was nicknamed, was estimated to have killed over forty thousand people. Japan agreed to surrender on August fourteenth, 1945. This development of these bombs brought with it the fear of devastating whole civilizations. Even though the United States of America maintained a monopoly on nuclear weapons, it made proposals in the United Nations for the control and elimination of atomic energy for military purposes. In June of 1946, an American representative named Bernard Baruch presented a plan to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission. Within in this, he called for international control over the processing of nuclear materials, safeguards to ensure the atomic energy would be used only for civilian purposes, and the complete abolition of all nuclear weapons. The former USSR vetoed this plan in the Security Council, objecting to the United Nation's authority over disarmament, and citing the domination of that body by Western Europe and the United States.

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have justified in many ways, according to the United States government. It was stated that it was obvious that Japan would never surrender without such an act. The United States economy was suffering. The President believed that there would be a tremendous loss of American life if the war continued. The former Soviet Union was advancing. The United States couldn't allow it to reach Japan first. Scientific justifications were also made - the United States wanted to test the bombs to see which would be better made in actual conditions.

As a result of this, the United States was established as a world military power. Japan was horrified, and adopts a pacifist manner, avoiding war no matter what. The world was shocked at such a method of brutality. This event also marked the first time in history that Japan was defeated. The United States continued to occupy Japan, under the command of commander Macarthur.

The United States felt that there was justification in using these bombs to end World War II in the Pacific. President Truman felt that it was necessary to use, for that reason. I feel that the United States was not justified in using the bomb to end the war because of the massive destruction that they knew it would cause. Unless the United States knew that the Soviet Union was a direct threat to the United States itself, I feel that they should not have acted in the manner that they did.
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