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Why did President Truman Decide to Drop the Two Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945?

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Why did President Truman Decide to Drop the Two Atomic Bombs On Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945? At 02:45 August 6th 1945, the B-29 Superfortress the Enola Gay took off from the specially lengthened North Field on the Island of Tinian in the Marianas. The plane piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets was 7 tons. At 0815 hours the bomb doors of the B-29 opened and flying at approximately 32,000 ft the uranium based atom bomb code-named "Little Boy" was unleashed upon the city of Hiroshima. Over 70,000 men women and children were killed by blast alone. And over the next half century approximately another 40,000 would die from related illnesses. With this 70,000 were wounded at Hiroshima. The co-pilot of the Enola Gay could see, "smoke and fires creeping up the side of the mountain". Then again on August 9th a second holocaust was unleashed on Nagasaki. "...a giant ball of fire rose as though from the bowels and a giant pillar of purple fire...shooting skyward and with enormous speed" The effects of the bomb here were much less spectacular than at Hiroshima. There were only 80,000 initial casualties of which 40,000 were dead. Japan surrendered to the allied forces on August 14th, 1945. Emperor Hirohito made the announcement to a stunned nation, "I can not endure the thought of letting my people suffer any longer. A continuation of the war would bring death to tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of persons, the whole nation would be reduced to ashes". Who had ordered this barbaric act, and for what purpose? To find the answer we examine the military situation surrounding the final stages of the war on Japan, Americas diplomatic rivalry with Russia, the need to appease American public opinion and justifying the enormous cost of the development of the weapon which was invested into by the American people and they wanted to see it in action. ...read more.


and Korea, and thus hopefully be able to expand the Communist spheres of influence just as they had done a few months previously in Eastern Europe. In July 1944 the "Big Three" had met a Yalta in the Crimea, this has now been marked as the high point in the relations between the three countries, UK, the USSR and US. One topic which had been deliberately brought up at Yalta by the US and the UK was the situation regarding Poland. The USSR wanted to take control of it just as it had done with other countries that the Red Army had conquered. However the US wanted it to become a free state with a freely elected government. After Yalta, to the US there was no longer a major issue with Poland, it had been agreed that it would hold free elections after the war. However when these did not materialise at the wars end Truman complained to the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov of Russian action in Poland and of a general failure to implement the Yalta agreements, Molotovs response was: "I have never been spoken to like that in my life". The news of the successful development of the atomic bomb tightened Trumans response to Russian diplomacy. He was wary of the possibility of Russia occupying Manchuria and Japanese territory in the east as this would spread communism, the US wanted to contain it as best they could. With the European war over, there was now no need to appease Stalin. The only other area in which the US needed his help was the Far East. But now whether or not the USSR became involved or not would make little difference from a military point of view. But of course a Russian declaration of war would have a devastating physiological effects upon the Japanese people. At the time though. US polititions were beginning to wonder whether it might not be better the halt any Soviet expansion and influence into South East Asia by ending the war while Russian troops were still on the other side of the Manchurian Border. ...read more.


Also dropping the two bombs would have avenged the American casualties suffered in the war and for the cruel treatment of allied POW's. Truman wanted to use the bomb on the pretence of saving US lives, but his more likely motive was to gain an upper hand over Stalin during the peace negotiations by showing off the capabilities the US had. But did the dropping of the bomb achieve what had been intended? On the positive side it had brought a more rapid conclusion to the war with Japan. Emperor Hirohito had announced their surrender on August 14th and the peace terms were officially signed by Japanese delegates aboard the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd 1945. If Japan was to be invaded then there is no doubt that many lives have been saved. Did the bombing have the desired effect on Russia and Stalin though? The USSR invaded Japanese held Manchuria on August 9th coincidentally the same day that the plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The USSR still held onto large areas of Eastern Europe and forced communism onto the held territories. The bombing showed the Russians what incredible power the new weapon had. If the USSR were to keep up the balance with America then they too must have one. This set the scene for the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR, it was democracy against communism, an "iron curtain" descended across Europe and already the Cold War had begun. If the Cold War prevented a more conventional war between the two superpowers then the fact that they both had weapons of mass destruction acted as each others deterrent. And so if this is the case then the use of the bomb although unknown at the time has been justified, as it is the only time that a weapon of its kind has ever been used in anger. ...read more.

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