Truman's Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

In: Historical Events

Submitted By bmilstone4
Words 480
Pages 2
Justified or Not?
When Harry Truman learned of the success of the Manhattan Project, he knew he would be faced with a tough controversial decision. The ability to end the war with Japan was in his hands, but it would involve unleashing the worst weapon ever known to man. American soldiers and civilians were weary from four years of war, and the Japanese military was refusing to give up their fight. The atomic bomb was key to ending the war, without too many Allied and Japanese casualties.
American forces occupied Okinawa and Iwo Jima and were intensely firebombing Japanese cities. But Japan had an army of 2 million strong stationed in the home islands guarding against invasion. For Truman, the choice whether or not to use the atomic bomb was the most difficult decision of his life. First, an Allied demand for an unconditional surrender was made to the leadership in Japan. The Japanese military command rejected the request for unconditional surrender. So on August 6, 1945, a plane named the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. 70,000 Japanese citizens were vaporized. In the time that followed, an additional 100,000 died from burns and radiation sickness. On August 9, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, where 80,000 Japanese people died. On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered. Critics have charged that Truman's decision was “a barbaric act that brought negative long-term consequences to the United States”. Some military analysts insist that Japan was on its knees and the bombings were simply unnecessary. The American government was accused of racism on the grounds that such a device would never have been used against white civilians. Other critics argued that American diplomats had concealed motives. The atomic bomb could be read as a strong message for the Soviets to tread lightly. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have…...

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