The first atomic bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan. Again on August 9 a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people died. With hundreds of thousands more injured. These days of radioactive heat rays of more then 3000 degrees Celsius instantly burning skin, bulldozing houses and even evaporating human existence was not needed to win war over Japan, nor should it have been.
Causing a constant flow of deaths either instantaneously, or through untreatable radiation poison, these bombs were not needed. Creating cancer, leukemia, mental retardation, chromosomal “aberrations” and other lingering abnormalities, these bombs were not needed. Over 50 years later still having an operational 170 bed A-bomb hospital filled with continual suffering, these bombs were not needed.
There is questions about this incident that have been asked around the globe for centuries, “Should the United States had dropped the Atomic bomb on Japan? Was it really necessary? Did they have to drop two? Did they have proper motives?” And more. A constant phrase comes up in all books, documents, and diaries regarding the decision to drop the A-bomb, that is that their main justification for using this weapon was, “to help save American lives in the Japanese war.” However, what the US didn’t consider was how the rest of the world including the American people, would accept use of this deathly device and if in fact their motive would actually be justified. Which most facts point to no.
Japan had officially gone to war shortly after they made their alliance with Germany in June 1941. This action caused the US, England, Netherlands, Philippines, and New Zealand to set an embargo on all goods for Japan leaving them without a drop of oil and other goods. At first this did not have much effect on the Japanese fighting techniques. They still created and used several planes which gave then victory when Japan surprised the US Naval base in Hawaii on December 7th destroying practically everything on the island. Their attack on Pearl Harbour would be the beginning of a true World War and the start of a grudge that would not end until retribution had been redeemed by the United States.
After this battle Japan’s weapons became more and more scare. Though out the rest of the country residents were advised to fight with whatever they had, including bamboo speers which they could make themselves, to protect their home land from defeat against intruders. These speers were used in such battles like Guadalcanal(August 1942), Attu(May 1943), Saipan(July 1944), Guam(August 1944), Okinawa(June 1945), Iwo Jima(March 1945) which they had all brutally lost.
War around this time had rose to a climax between the United States and Japan. The US had been bombing Japan for months from the air and on March 10, 1945 they sent 279 B29’s to bomb it’s capital, Tokyo, leaving 1 160 000 homeless, and 80 000 killed. The Us planes were sent to drop canisters of magnesium and phosphorous as well as jellied gasoline, other wise known as napalm, on the city. Under stiffening wind, flames fanned out rapidly and within minutes the huge fire balls torched everything in it’s site. Emperor Hirohito describe the destruction created at that time by saying,
“After the GreaT Kanto Earthquake, everything was so toatally, cleanly burnt and destroyed that one did not feel such a sense of shock. But this is far more tragic. It pains me deeply. Tokyo has become scorched earth.” Shortly after this time Japan had sent their Prime Minister Konoe to speak with Russians about ending the war. They were not interested in speaking with him and wasted many days informing him to wait to speak with Stalin, which never actually happened. Japan’s urge for peace was finally answered by the United States President Truman who sent word of surrender terms as follows; “We will not deviate from them. There are no alternative. We shall brook no delay. The following are our demands
- the disarmament of Japan’s military;
- the elimnation of the authority and power of militaristic elements;
- the establishment of democratic government;
- the Allied occupation of Japan until such time as a democratic, peaceful, accountable governmant was firmly established;
- the limitation of Japan’s territory to the four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and the various small islands in their immediate vicinity;
- the punishment of war criminals.
Problems with these terms was that it did not even touch upon in the questions of the Emperor’s status or of sovereignty. The Japanese fighting man believed he was fighting in the proud tradition of ancient samurai and would do whatever was needed to protect their ruler. Due to that main reason, the above Potsdam declaration, outlining what the United States, England and China intended to do with Japan after the war was denied. Although the Emperor had stated on several occasions that it did not matter what happened to him as long as the people were safe, it was ignored and Japan said they would fight to end.
However, Japanese fighting had become more of a “duck and cover” method. World leaders knew that Japan didn’t have the equipment and resources they had a few years ago. They could not fight much longer and after being torched and bombed Japan’s enemies knew it was a successful method to defeat them.
Although the Soviets had not officially gone into the war but after shafting Japan’s Prime Minister earlier on it was clear that they weren’t on Japan’s side. Talks with Truman proved to be right. Russians had decided to go into war against Japan in early August 1945 with estimates of the war ending about a year later. So why didn’t Americans follow this plan? Because they had a new “secret” toy and wanted to show it off.
Financing for the Atomic bombs at first come from President Roosevelt’s emergency fund, but it was President Truman who initially made the decision to drop the bomb after sudden FDR’s death just a couple months before the choice of destruction was made. The United states had been doing extensive research to trying to better understand these bombs they had created. There are a lot of people who stand by the excuse that the United States did not know the actual power of the bomb, but truth is they did.
The second bombs test was called the “Trinity test,” which happened on Campania Hill at Alamogordo Air Base 210 miles South of the of Los Alamos(one the research plants). “The Fat Man”(A-Bomb #2) had shocked all its observers with his high power reactions. These scientists had expected a radio active cloud to last only a couple hours(which it ended up lasting an entire day) and have radiation levels to be harmless about 3miles away from ground zero. The yellow-reddish fireball of the bomb, infinitely brighter than the sun, it’s temperature 10, 000 times greater, and it’s destruction of in towns over 112miles away was a sure sign of the power the bomb possessed. The blast had destroyed a tower a ground zero and 25miles away and further they found paralysed animals. All tests proved to be successful in the way of destruction but also proved to be more deadly too.
Due to the fact that the test on the Atomic bombs was not at it’s fullest capacity, scientists knew the blast would areas to unimaginable lengths but they weren’t sure how great. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were used as test sites for the United States to use their “nuclear bombs.” These cities only ended up in ruins because the US wanted to prove to the world that they could create something better then Germany’s missals. The selfishness of the country also reflected the chose of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
These cities A-bombed were chosen not because they were dangerous military sites, but because it was land without destruction. The fact is theses cities were filled with more civilians then Japanese army men so therefore they had been left untouched from bombings. Originally, Tokyo was suppose to be the target for the first A-bomb but due to it’s previous devastation, the United States Target Committee because they agreed with Paul W. Tibbets, the man selected to drop the Atomic bombs, who suggested that, “the bomb be used on a smaller target that has not been previously damaged as to assess accurately the effects of the bomb.”
President Truman did not have to use such a weapon against the Japanese. He could have ended the war simply by negotiating with the Japanese about the position the Emperor would have in the democratic society he wanted to create. All it would have taken was a talk between, but truth is, Truman wanted to see the amount of power these new A-bombs held within. Plus he wanted revenge for Pearl Harbour attack and prove that the United States still was the dominate country in the world.
Other things the United States could have done to end the war in a less fatal manner was to give the Japanese an ultimatum that included the use of a nuclear weapon. Or at least describe the destruction their “new toy” could create. Japan should have been warned. They had no idea such disaster like the Atomic bombs were being created, or for that matter could be created. President Truman didn’t give Japan an ultimatum about nuclear warfare because he had a talk with former President Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, “Judge” Cordell Hull, who told him, “An ultimatum for Japan would sound too much like appeasement and if it failed their would be terrible political repercussions in Congress and the press.” He shared these feeling as well and wanted to keep the United States looking good at all costs. Unfortunately, it cost 140, 000 people in Hiroshima and 70, 000 people in Nagasaki their lives.
War is a tragedy all of its own which usually ends more in tears then deaths. The Atomic bombs proved to create mass destruction for years after it was detonated. The Atomic bombs showed the world that in power struggles between nations there is usually a less time consuming, more murderous way to end fighting.
The Atomic Bombs confirmed to the world that the United States could create a nuclear weapon faster then any other country and test it on helpless innocent children. The Atomic Bomb demonstrated to the world that peace does come through extinction. Yet with something like the A-bomb that has established so much for its self, it is amazing how the Atomic bomb has never been used again. It is fascinating how all other Atomic bombs have and are being disarmed. It is incredible how nuclear war is now a last resort, and it is comforting to know that there’s a constant quest for World Peace, not destruction.
The following best describes the ways in which the world should run and demonstrates the true fights that are fought during a war as well as the easiest solutions. Mothers should negotiate between nations. The mothers of the fighting countries would agree: Stop this killing now. Stop it now.
- Kawahara, Toshiaki, Hirohtito & his times, a Japanese perspective, (Tokyo/New York; Kodansha International Ltd. 1990)page 109
- Wyden, Peter, Day On – Before Hiroshima & After, (New York; Simon & Schuster Inc. 1984)page 19
- Dannen, Gene, Atomic Bomb:Decision, URL: http://www.dannen.com/decision/index.html
- Kawahara, op cit p.114
- Ibid. page 116
- Ibid. page 119
- Wyden, op cit p. 184
- Kawahara, op cit p. 105
- Ibid. page 126
- Bradley, James, Flags of Our Fathers, (US&Canada;A Batam Book 2000) page 66
- Wyden, op cit p. 212-214