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Hiroshima Sources Question Essay, Research Paper

In August 1945, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and

Nagasaki. Why did the American government decide to carry out these attacks? On 6th August 1945, the first of the two fatal

bombs was dropped on the army base of Hiroshima. Three days later on the 9th

August, the second was dropped on Nagasaki. Both bombs caused widespread damage

to Japan, and the knock on effects of radiation have caused the number of those

killed to increase every year since 1945, totalling nearly 240,000 deaths.

Therefore, those who designed and invented the bomb must have had strong

reasons as to why it should be used, rather than the conventional bombs. The first of these reasons as to why the American

government decided to carry out the attacks is because for the four years prior

to the use of atomic weapons, the Japanese had fought viciously and ferociously

and this amounted in the cost of many American lives, nearly three hundred

thousand deaths during the Second World War. The USA government wanted to

finish the war quickly with minimum casualties, as the cost in human lives of

the war was far too much and they couldn?t afford to waste any more lives.

Advisors in 1945 told president Truman that if the war were not finished quickly,

then it would go on until 1946, maybe even ?47, with the cost of up to another

one million American lives. The day after the first bomb was dropped, president

Truman explained why he did order the attack by stating, ??we have used it (the

atomic bomb) in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young

Americans??. The Japanese army also had a further four million troops, and

4,800 kamikaze aircraft (aircraft filled with high explosives that were flown

by a pilot willing to sacrifice his life by flying the plane into an American

ship). The Japanese had shown that they were prepared to fight in such a

manner, as they thought it was more honourable to die in battle than surrender

and therefore many soldiers volunteered to die by ?suicide?. This was

demonstrated at the battle of Iwo Jima in March 1945, out of 22,000 Japanese

troops, only 200 hundred came out alive. And many of these only surrendered as

they were too injured to commit suicide. At the battle of Okinawa, the Japanese

kamikaze planes sunk 15 US vessels and damaged a further 200. The Americans

knew that invading Japan would be far too costly, and needed a quick and sure

way of ending the war, even if it meant dropping the bombs. ??????????? Another

main reason why they wanted to end the war quickly was because of the Soviet

Union. The Americans were cautious of Stalin?s plans in the East as well as the

West, and knew that if the war was prolonged, then the USSR would surely get

involved, which meant that when it was over they would occupy parts of East

Asia. This theory was proved when in May 1945 when the war in Europe ended, the

USSR was found to be in control of most of Eastern Europe. This would give them

the building blocks to go on and begin the spread of communism, which the West

feared. The Americans didn?t want this happening in the East, and therefore

they needed to end the war convincingly and rapidly, otherwise they faced the

threat of having to deal with the Soviets. ??????????? The cost

of the war was also having a heavy toll on the world economy. A rough estimate

brings the eventual cost globally of the war, up to nearly one trillion

dollars. The Americans themselves had spent millions of dollars on developing

the atomic bombs, as they believed the Germans were on course to develop the

destructive bombs before they did. In June that year, the first atomic bomb was

successfully tested at Los Alamos in New Mexico. Many people believed that

because the Manhattan project (the project which carried out the development of

the bomb) cost so much, they may as well test the bombs out in a military

situation, which they were designed for. Leading members of the Government

backed the decision up to use the bombs, as they had no idea of how much damage

it would causes and therefore it should be tested out on a civilian population,

and quite conveniently they were at war with a Japanese army who weren?t

prepared to surrender and therefore the use of the bombs would bring a swift

end to the war in the East. ??????????? By the

time contemplation of the bombs use was occurring in the USA government, the

war in Europe had ended. Many Americans returned home from Europe only to find

many were still involved with a war with Japan. Therefore, there was great

pressure on the American government to bring about a quick end to the war not

only from the American people, but also from American allies such as Britain. ??????????? The use

of atomic bombs would hopefully bring about an end to the war without invading

Japan. They were designed so that they would give maximum damage in a short

period of time- more damage than a whole fleet of B-29 bombers would do in a

day. Therefore, with the pressure to end the war mounting, the use of the bombs

was becoming more and more of a probable resolve to ending the war. ??????????? And

therefore, on 6th August 1945, the first devastating bomb was

dropped on the military and industrial town of Hiroshima. The plan was that

they hadn?t bombed this town before, and destroying this town would hopefully

cause the army to contemplate a lack of men, and also a lack of weapons due to

the huge devastation that would be caused to the factories in the area.

Therefore, the first of the bombs was dropped. The morning after the attack,

president Truman defended his decision by saying, ?The world will note that the

first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base?we won the race of

discovery against the Germans, we have used it?we shall continue to use it,

until we completely destroy Japans power to make war??. ??????????? However,

the Emperor of Japan did not surrender after the first attack on the 6th

August. Even though this was because they were too busy analysing the

devastation of the bomb, the American government, as Truman said he would do in

his speech, decided the drop the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki until ?Japans

power to make war was destroyed??. However, this time, the Japanese government

decided to make peace and surrender to the Americans. On 2nd? September 1945, the Second World War

officially ended with Japan surrendering to General MacArthur in Tokyo. And so in conclusion to this

essay, I believe that one of the main reasons as to why the American government

decided to carry out the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was because this

would bring about a swift end to the war, and therefore save thousands of

American lives. With mounting pressure on the American government to end the

war, it was vital that this was done with minimum casualties. And therefore,

the first of the bombs was dropped. However, as Japan did not surrender, the

second bomb was dropped finally ending the war. ???????????


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