Was America justified in dropping the horrific atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Should the bombs have been used? The answer to that is undoubtedly clear: no. The bombs did more harm than good. The US had conducted “the world’s most devastating military mission”1, effects of which are still evident today. World War II was primarily caused by Germany, Italy and Japan, influenced by fascist revolutions. While Germany and Italy dealt with matters in Europe, Japan had plunged itself in a Pacific War with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and China, only to name a few. After the events of Pearl Harbor (a surprise military attack by the Japanese on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii) US had involved itself in the war as an Allie (countries opposing Germany and its ideologies).
This meant that the US needed to defeat Japan in order for the Allies to succeed which they did so on the 15th of August 1945, when Japan announced its surrender after the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two towns in southern Japan. Nagasaki, at the time, had the largest seaport in southern Japan and it had a reputation for its industrial activity. Hiroshima, however, had military significance with defense camps and army headquarters situated there. To American officials these two towns were perfect for weakening a country’s military system and morale. The ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on the 6th of august 1945. The second bomb, ‘Fat Man’, was released on Nagasaki on the 9th of August 1945. The attack on the city of Nagasaki was a surprise because US officials had actually wanted ‘Fat Man’ to drop on the city of Kokura. Nagasaki was the second option for the aircrew who were forced to drop the bomb on another city2. So what is an atomic bomb and why are its effects so devastating? An atomic bomb is a nuclear weapon which uses chain fission reactions.
A nuclear fission is a chain reaction of neutrons bombarding an atom of uranium3. This releases immense amounts of energy as more and more neutrons are released. Because so much energy is released, it is vital that the chain reaction is managed carefully. In the event of the dropping of the bombs, no one knew as to what effects it will have as it was the first and only ever atomic bomb used in warfare. There are four categories of destruction that an atomic bomb can cause: the initial blast, thermal radiation, ionizing radiation and residual radiation4. The death toll of the Nagasaki bomb was 60,000-80,000+ people along with 90,000-166,000+ people dying due to the Hiroshima disaster. On the day of the explosions sixty percent of the deceased died from flash or flame burns, as a result of thermal radiation (burns causing the death of skin cells and tissue cells and charring5). Thirty percent died from falling debris, as a result of the initial blast, and 10% dies from other causes6. Out of the sixty percent that died due to burns, 15-20% died from radiation sickness7 due to the immediate and short-term effects of the atomic bomb. In the long term, the radiation ‘left-behind’ affected the river-systems and also found its way into seas and oceans causing radiation sickness leaving tissue cells damaged.
Food supplies were affected too however the most serious of changes were the consequences the bombs had on human development. The delayed effects surfaced months and years after the inexcusable bombing. Those exposed to the radiation experienced problems such as life shortening, decreased fertility, genetic mutations and cataract formation8 (a disease in the eye which clouds the lens resulting in decreased vision); women who conceived after the bombing produced children with more abnormalities than average. These statistics prove why the bombings should have never taken place. They ruined and scarred many lives and further generations were affected significantly. The bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of pure evil by the American military force. Some may argue that the bombs forced Japan to surrender thus ending the war. However, bearing in mind the situation Japan was in the time of the bombings, the Emperor would still have surrendered because Russia had invaded the country from the west, catching all the troops by surprise.
Japan, knowing that Germany and Italy had fallen, wouldn’t have been keen on taking all the Allies single-handedly hence surrendering. The need for two deadly atomic bombs was never needed. America was responsible of the death of hundreds and thousands of humans which had no part at all in the war. Majority of those who died were innocent civilians including women, children and the elders. These children hadn’t even learnt the basics of life when their lives had been taken away so mercilessly. The need of an atomic bomb on everyday civilians was not necessary. The Japanese citizens did not deserve this distressing punishment. The acts of a few merciless Japanese officials and soldiers in attacking Pearl Harbor did not need to affect the lives of so many nationals. America could have easily targeted those responsible for the war but instead it chose to kill more than 250,000+ humans. So again should the atomic bomb have been used? Obviously the answer is no. How can someone order such a destructive weapon to fall on innocent civilians?! These people were ordinary Japanese citizens who had no idea that two bombs were being dropped on them. Furthermore, what makes this act even more appalling is that the aftermath of this devilish act still remains. After all these years, the fallout from the radiation is still a major factor in the areas. The 6th and 9th of August, 1945 were two days which shook Japan forever and after sixty-seven years, people are still reminded of the effects of two unnecessary mass destructive atomic bombs.