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Were the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary to save allied livesand to end Japan s threat to world peace? Did the resulting loss of life cost more than a deadlyinvasion of the Japanese mainland? In August 1945, the first dropping of atomic bombs incivilian areas of Japan killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Immediately followingthose bombings, Japan surrendered to the United States. The following essay summarizes thedefense of the atomic bomb, its use, and my arguments against the use of atomic weapons. As the war with Germany grew closer to the end, the United States had their hands fullwith an increasingly effective war with Japan. The defeat of Japan became more apparent tomany allied and Japanese leaders after the fall of the Mariana Islands and Saipan in July of1944. The Mariana Islands had been a key defense point for Japan, but after they werecaptured, Japan was in range of bombing. From November 1944 to the dropping of the atomicbomb, Japan was subjected to numerous B-29 bomb raids using conventional bombs. GeneralCurtis LeMay predicted the war to end in September or October of 1945 because the UnitedStates would have run out of industrial targets to destroy. While Japan was being severelybombed, there was also a naval blockade to stop Japan s ability to import such necessities suchas oil and vital materials. This would have interfered with Japans ability to make war items andrepair essential services. Admiral William Leahy wrote to President Truman, By the beginningof September, 1944, Japan will almost be completely defeated through a practically completesea and air blockade. Also, in May of 1945 the surrender of Germany freed the allies to focustheir troops and resources to defeat Japan. In July 1945 a message from the allies known as the Potsdam Proclamation was broadcast in Japan. The proclamation demanded theunconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces. There was no mention of theEmperor s position, which was crucial because the Japanese believed their Emperor to be a

God and the heart of Japanese culture. Because there was no assurance of the Emperor s fatethe Japanese objected to the Potsdam Proclamation. The positive argument for the use of theatomic bomb was a speedy end to the Second World War, and perhaps to much elsebesides. The atomic bomb was a quick end to the war but it was a mistake. The peoplewhom lost their lived to the blasts were not soldiers and leaders, they were average hardworking people who wanted nothing to do with the war. Was the dropping of the atomic bombnecessary to end the World War? I believe we could have ended the war without the bomb. After the bombings previous to the atomic bombing, we had destroyed most of their industriesand crippled their country so badly that they wouldn t have been able to put up another fight. On the other side of the battle the Soviets were about to declare war on Japan. Japan wouldn thave any hope of negotiating peace terms through the Soviets. The nearing two war frontswould have disabused Japan s military forces. Japan s plan to piece together remaining forcesagainst the predicted U.S. invasion was threatened. While it cannot be proven, officially allies ofthe U.S. had made sanctioned communication between Konoye, saying that Japan s time hadcompletely run out due to the approaching threats of nuclear destruction and Soviet invasion.These allies believed that immediate surrender might mean the opportunity for the Emperor toretain his throne. There was a chance the Japanese people would have enlisted the Emperor tobring Japan to surrender by late July or early August of 1945. This essay gave my arguments and the arguments of other sides of the reason forbombing Japan. I believed the atomic bomb wasn t necessary because we had alreadydefeated Japan. The lesson to be learned may be that an extreme use of force should only bethe last choice to end conflict. Since the end of World War II, governments have in fact usedcombinations of all other types of persuasion, but have avoided using nuclear bombs.


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