• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evidence and Source Questions on Atomic raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Robert Flack History Coursework 2002 0072 Evidence and Source Questions on Atomic raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945 Question One Source A is a propaganda leaflet. Therefore, it is of little value as evidence about America's use of the atomic bomb in August 1945." Do you agree or disagree? I feel that this leaflet is very useful to historians, although it is admittedly very biased towards America and written from a desperate American perspective, we can look at this source and gather essential information about their aims behind this leaflet, the overall perception of America as a leading force and the mentality of the Japanese. The leaflet was dropped the day after the raid on Hiroshima. The main and clear purpose of the leaflet was to scare the Japanese people, it needed to hit them hard and make clear that the aftermath of flotsam that lay in Hiroshima was likely to be repeated should the Japanese not surrender unconditionally. America knew the mentality of the Japanese and the calibre of civilians they were dealing with. Their loyalties to the country were epitomised at Iwo Jima and Okinawa where thousands of Japan's troops lost their lives while only a minority surrendered. America knew that this mentality was a hard one to combat, they feared that invading the country conventionally would mean great loss of American life, and, for that matter Japanese life. Before the bomb had been dropped both US and Japanese forces were preparing for a conventional onslaught of troops, the Japanese even going to the extent of using 'Sherman Carpets' (children strapped with dynamite who threw themselves under tanks). Such horrendous events were probably against the US principles. It is clear to see that the primary purpose of this leaflet, therefore was to intimidate the Japanese and overpower their great sense of pride without having to drop the second bomb. I understand that America only had only 1 bomb left after having constructed 3 bombs and actually detonating 2 of them. ...read more.

Middle

Nuclear warfare loomed large at this time and international fear of the plutonium and uranium bombs which had been dropped in Japan were escalated, this historians' clear aim here was to give the impression that America was instigating this sort of warfare and as such is clearly writing to turn popular opinion and weaken American support worldwide. In understandable contrast James Byrnes shares a completely different view. He demonstrates condolence towards the usage of the bomb. We first have to establish who relayed this source, the then, US Secretary of State, Byrnes. He would have wanted his beliefs at the time of the droppings to appear in a positive light and be seen as fairly thought out strategic move. Patriotism will have played a part in this, Byrnes re-enforces Truman's final word to go ahead with the raids. In a similar fashion to Nekrasov, Byrnes attempts to provoke dislike for the opposition by stating 'And we are talking about people who hadn't hesitated at Pearl Harbor to make a sneak attack'. Comments such as this almost morally justify the actions of America in the minds of its citizens who had lost loved ones in the Pearl Harbor attack but, frankly the 2,403 military people's lives sacrificed at pearl harbor doesn't compare with the hundreds of thousands lost in Japan due to the bombs. Byrnes' comparison is hyperbolic and his obvious reckoning is that Japan deserved the attack and got what was coming to them. His exaggeration is heightened when he refers to the soldiers as 'boys' who would be losing their lives, where in actual fact they were mentally formidable, highly skilled and trained killing machines, just as desperate for their lives as the Japanese were for their. Byrnes would have had to have upheld this point of view and couldn't possibly condemn these attacks as he had played a major part in them and the Japanese sacrifices were so hard to comprehend he had to maintain the attacks were full justified. ...read more.

Conclusion

Subjective opinions are hard to use when questioning such issues. We can take something quite significant from this though and that is the fact that this was written by the Secretary of State at the time. He would have had the advantage of considerably more knowledge than the general public and perhaps his view that the raid was a necessity is completely justified. While the previous source was only written by a Russian historian with limited access to information, only relying on public resources. Therefore, I feel the benefit of the doubt should be given to Byrnes, and his account to be considered more reliable. In turn the dropping of the bomb was a necessity. The 'World at War' video is probably the most objective source out of all of them, it is the only one which allows several people from different backgrounds to contribute to the source. I feel it demonstrates that the dropping of the bombs was a necessary action to end the war immediately, it depicts how harsh the fighting had been in other confrontation areas between US and Japan and the sheer determination shown by Japan. From this the video demonstrates the amount of time it would have taken to prepare and implement conventional invasion and traditional air raids. The interviews give detailed reasoning from both sides of the spectrum which point to the might and ferocity of the Japanese and the pressures being put on America. It can be argued that as Source H includes the views of many different people, combined with cinematic hard evidence to prove several points. My interpretation of the video is that it proves the atomic raids were necessary to end the war and should be trusted due to its reliable producers and broadness of views. Each source has different factors to consider about whether it disproves or proves the statement "Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was necessary to end the war quickly" and these have to be taken in the context in which they were written. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Vietnam Coursework Sources Questions

    Source D is written by the leader of the communist movement, Ho chi Min. He describes the kind of methods the Viet Cong used that the US troops were not used to. These tactics, known as Guerrilla tactics, were hit and run and surprise tactics used by the Viet Cong.

  2. Was The Dropping Of The Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima And Nagasaki Justified?

    Even if they had shown a demonstration the Americans thought it very unlikely that the Japanese would surrender. From an interview with James Byrnes, American Secretary of state, twenty years later 'we were talking about the people who hadn't hesitated at Pearl Harbor to make a sneak attack, destroying not only ships but the lives of many American sailors'.

  1. Truman had several reasons for dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works (Torpedo Works), in the north, the two principal targets of the city. According to most estimates, 75,000 of its residents were killed. Truman tried to justify the dropping of the atomic bombs by convincing the people of America that it was revenge for Japan's "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor.

  2. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    Moreover, the enemy was the same nation that had unleashed a wanton and brutal attack on Pearl Harbor. As Truman later explained to a journalist, "When you deal with a beast, you have to treat him as a beast." Although many of the scientists who had seen the first explosion

  1. An evaluation of the United States decision to use atomic bombs against Hiroshima and ...

    Other officials mentioned the same or even higher figures." (Maddox 4) Here lays the primary reason given by American officials to justify the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The gross overestimation of these figures will be evaluated but presently it is more noteworthy that this is the only justification that was readily available from American officials in 1945.

  2. Vietnam source based work

    The American man is smiling whereas the Vietnamese is very unhappy wearing something, which isn't right for him. This cartoon went out to a wide audience of American people. It changed opinions about the war because the Americans realised that they couldn't force themselves onto the Vietnamese.

  1. Free essay

    Did America drop the bomb in revenge, to prevent the USSR spreading, so Truman ...

    Also, Truman in his memoirs wrote "It was their (the committee) recommendation that the bomb be used against the enemy...'We can see no acceptable alternative to direct military use...It was their conclusion that no technical demonstration...would be likely to bring the war to an end".

  2. How far do you agree that the development of the Cold War between 1945 ...

    This shows the ideological differences between capitalist and communist and also implies a willingness of Stalin to let other countries suffer in order to spread his regime and ideas, hence resulting in more tensions between the two countries. Source 1 also supports the view that ideological divisions were to blame,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work