The Morality Of Us Bombing Of Hiroshima

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The Morality Of Us Bombing Of Hiroshima Essay, Research Paper THE ATOMIC BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI WAS IT NECESSARY? Christopher Philippi HS-102 May 3, 1999 On August 6 and 9, 1945, the only atomic bombs ever used in warfare were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mass destruction and numerous deaths caused by those bombs ultimately put an end to World War II. Was this the only way to end the war, however? Could this killing of innocent Japanese citizens had been avoided and the war still ended quickly. This paper will go into this controversial topic. First, a summary of the events leading up to the bombing and the events that followed: With the end of the European war, the Allies focused their efforts on Japan. Though they were losing

miserably, the Japanese continued to fight back. The Potsdam Proclamation was issued to the Japanese. It made no mention of Japan’s central surrender condition, the status of the Emperor. In Japan, the Emperor was viewed as a god. Therefore, Japan rejected the Potsdam Proclamation. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia declared war against Japan. Japan, because of its military, still refused to surrender. The Japanese government voted against surrender. Japanese believe in “death before dishonor.” Japanese peace advocates feared for the safety of the Emperor. They begged him to break with tradition and make government policy by 2 calling for peace now. As a result of the Emperor’s call to surrender, the entire Japanese cabinet, including

the military, agreed to surrender. The cabinet saw that this would allow the Emperor to be retained. The Japanese would have fought to the death if they did not feel the Emperor would have been spared. They may have been fighting a losing battle, but they saw unconditional surrender as a threat to the Emperor. President Truman had been advised of the importance of the Emperor to the Japanese. Japan was seeking Russia’s help to end the war in July 1945. The U.S. was aware of this at the time through intercepted Japanese cables. But, the U.S. did not keep up with this change in Japan’s position. Instead the U.S. chose military methods of ending the war rather than diplomatic methods. The desire for revenge helped make military methods more attractive. After the creation of the

atomic bomb was complete and before it was dropped there was uncertainty to whether or not it should be used. Many scientists argued that it should not be used. Truman had a difficult decision to make. He had much advice given to him towards making a decision. Leo Szilard’s first version of his petition was more strongly worded than the final version. Regardless, on July 3, 1945, he presented to President Truman his reasoning for not using the atomic bomb on Japanese cities. It was signed by 58 other scientists. 3 Rejecting the pretense that the targets would be military, the petition called atomic bombs a ruthless annihilation of cities. The bombing of cities had been condemned by the American public only a few years earlier when done by the Germans to England. Previously it

had been feared that the U.S. might be attacked by atomic bombs. The only defense then would be a counterattack by the same means. However, with that danger gone such an attack on Japan would be unjustified (Alperovitz 132.) A memorandum by Ralph A. Bard, Undersecretary of the Navy, to Secretary of War Stimson on June 27, 1945 stated that before the bomb is ever used Japan should be given a few days notice. This position was based on the humanitarian feelings of our nation. In addition, Bard sensed Japan was searching for an opportunity to surrender. Bard proposed a meeting with the other superpowers, including Japan, before ever using the bomb. On July 16, 1945, the atomic bomb was tested over the New Mexico desert. The Trinity Test was a spectacular success. A 6 kilogram sphere