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Was It Justified? Essay

1661 words - 7 pages

Many questions lie within the history of the United States of America. Was there a second gunman involved in the assassination of JFK? Did we really go to the moon? Who really framed Roger Rabbit? All of these questions, valid or not, can be proven by facts and logistics. One of the harder, philosophical questions we must ask, however, is the use of the Atomic Bomb during World War II. True, there are many facts to bolster each side of this debate, but the true quandary lies in the morality of the situation. Was the use of an Atomic weapon morally justified? Was the use of this weapon even necessary to complete any objectives behind using it? It is easy to look back and say that Japan was ...view middle of the document...

Robert Oppenheimer.Roughly two months later, the first Atomic Bomb was detonated in New Mexico on July 16th. It was reported as a spectacular success. Would Truman use this weapon of mass destruction to end the war in the Pacific? Roosevelt's last known words about the Atomic Bomb were that, "the bomb would be used against both Germany and Japan if necessary. But first the weapon would be demonstrated, and an ultimatum issued"(Boorstin,2).The Potsdam Proclamation, which demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, was rejected by the Japanese because it made no mention of Japan's central surrender condition: the status of the emperor. In Japan, the Emperor was viewed as a God. The Japanese were not going to let anything happen to the Emperor, even if it meant that they would fight to the death. "Millions of Japanese, including civilians, still could not conceive of any end to the war other than victory or death. Just before the Emperor's speech telling his people to accept defeat, Tokyo shop keepers sharpened knives, expecting an order for the entire nation to commit suicide"(Hansen,105).Truman's decision to drop the bomb relied on his willingness to end the war at all costs. After the rejection of the Potsdam Proclamation, Truman authorized the use of the Atomic Bomb on July 26th. Hiroshima was an ideal target because it fit most of the guidelines given by General Groves. "To enable us to assess accurately the effects of the bomb, the targets should not have been previously damaged by air raids. It was also desirable that the first target be of such size that the damage would be confined within it"(John,10).With that being said, was the use of the Atomic Bomb justified? The negative side vehemently proclaims no while the affirmative side patriotically declares yes. Each side's argument centers on how Japan was a beaten nation.Japan, because of its military, refused to surrender during World War II, even though they were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. General Curtis LeMay expressed a belief that, "the war could be ended by September or October without an invasion"(McDougal,78). Why then was it absolutely necessary to drop two Atomic Bombs on heavily populated, civilian areas?It was necessary to drop the bombs for their refusal to surrender during World War II. Japan would not have surrendered because failure would make the race look enfeebled and weak. You must realize that the Japanese thought that they were the perfect race. By dropping the Atomic Bomb, the Japanese were also given a way out of the war "with a minimum loss of 'face'"(John,64). Furthermore, how can you cite a difference between conventional weaponry and the Atomic Bomb? "Those who deplored the use of the atomic bombs would have stood on firmer moral ground if they had protested the fire bombings of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka and Kawasaki. Their horror at the barbarity of...

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