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Hiroshima Essay, Research Paper

Question: What did you learn about Nuclear Weapons from reading this book? On August 6, 1945, approximately 70,000 Japanese lives were ended within a matter of seconds. The United States, under command of President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. After reading author John Hersey s book entitled Hiroshima, it made me ponder about what would go through my head if I were on Hiroshima soil. What actions might I take? What would I do to survive? What could I do to help or fight back? Unfortunately, many Japanese never had a chance to consider these questions. Something was dropped on their mainland containing energy equivalent to approximately 15,000 tons of TNT and a potency that calculated immediate death. The Atomic Bomb is classified as a Nuclear weapon. Development of the first atomic bomb began in several countries, including Germany. In the United Sates, the actual building of an atomic bomb was already underway by 1942 under the code name Manhattan Project (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). Production of the atomic bomb in itself is an extremely difficult and complex creation. It involves relative chemistry and outstanding scientists to construct such an explosive. Realizing what a complicated device this could be, I went further in my research and discovered what it takes to produce an atomic bomb. I studied its manufacturing, autonomy, and effects. When the atomic nuclei in the center of an atomic bomb, which is composed of fissile materials, are split, an enormous amount of energy is released as dangerously high levels of heat and radiation (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). Atomic bombs use this energy as a weapon for killing. The splitting of the atomic nuclei is called fission. When a single neutron strikes the nucleus of a fissile material such as uranium 235 (or plutonium 239), two or three more neutrons are released (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). When those neutrons are ejected; enormous energy is released. The flying neutrons then hit other nuclei of the uranium and cause them to split in a similar manner, releasing more energy and neutrons (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). This is the principle to an atomic bomb. To achieve chain-reaction fission, a certain amount of fissile material, called critical mass, is necessary. The fissile material used in Hiroshima was uranium 235 (Tsuroya, 1995). In this bomb, the uranium was divided into two parts, both of which were below critical mass (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). The bomb was designed so that one part would be slammed into the other by an explosive device to achieve critical mass instantaneously (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). A gun-barrel-type atomic bomb is an example of the Hiroshima nuclear weapon. It had a long narrow shape to it; therefore it was called the Thin Man. Finally, the Hiroshima model became to be known as the Little Boy due to the shortening of its length modifying the original plans of its development (Tsuroya, 1995).

Consequently, no human kind would be able to survive if in the path of this destructive power. At first what was thought to be 20,000 tons of TNT, later came to be energy equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, based on the damage done to buildings and research on the bombs composition (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 1995). With this much power and destruction, I question whether the United States should have taken such drastic measures. Was it immoral of the U.S. to drop such a nuclear threat on Hiroshima? Was an atomic bomb the answer? This is what I hope to answer in further investigation of nuclear weapons. Ever since the dawn of time man has found new ways of killing each other. The most destructive way of killing people known to man is the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb is so destructive because when it is released, it has multiple effects. The effects of an atomic bomb are so severe that the survivors of the bomb probably envy the dead. The blast from an atomic bomb s explosion lasts for only one-half to one second, but in this amount of time a great deal of damage is done. In Hiroshima the blast from the atomic bomb was measured to be about four and a half to six and seven-tenths tons of pressure per square meter (Long, 1995). That is why most cities and buildings were destroyed. If the explosion doesn t kill a person, the thermal radiation produced by the bomb s explosion accounts for most deaths and injuries. Thermal radiation can come in three forms: ultraviolet radiation, visible radiation, or infrared radiation (Tsuroya, 1995). In Hiroshima, the initial nuclear radiation was spread over a distance of approximately fifty-three hundredths of a kilometer (Tsuroya, 1995). Without causing many deaths, the nuclear radiation caused the most serious effects. Definite proof is there were increased rates of cataracts, leukemia, cancer of the thyroid, cancer of the breast, cancer of the lungs, cancer of the stomach, and mental retardation on babies in utero (Tsuroya, 1995). Substantial, but not definite proof is evidence of increased tumors of the esophagus, tumors of the colon, tumors of the salivary glands, and tumors of the urinary tract organs (Tsuroya, 1995). Unsubstantiated, but hypothesized effects are increased rates of birth mortality, birth defects, infertility, and susceptibility towards illnesses (Tsuroya, 1995). The total number of people affected by the nuclear radiation is estimated to be thirty-five thousand people in Hiroshima. Despite other arguments, the atomic bomb was a necessity. Without it, the number of men that would have died on both sides far surpasses that of the number that were killed in the droppings of both atomic bombs (Long, 1995). The goal of waging war is victory, with minimum losses on one s own side, and if possible a minimum amount of losses on the enemy s side (Long, 1995). The atomic bomb cut losses to a minimum and drew war to an end quickly. It was a military necessity.


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