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

The atomic bombs were necessary to end the Second World War. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

At the end of the Second World War, President Truman decided to use the atomic bombs against Japan in an attempt to end the war. While the use of such force was not technically necessary, it brought an almost immediate end to the war and theoretically saved thousands of lives. Without the atomic bombings, the Japanese leaders might have dragged the war out, refusing to surrender. Moreover, the bombings could be seen as falling in line with the concept of "total war," which was being practiced in the Second World War by both the Allies and the Axis powers. However, the opposite could be argued as well. The second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki, could be seen as an unnecessary follow-through after the first bomb on Hiroshima. One could go as far as saying that both atomic attacks were unnecessary and even immoral. Supporters of the bombings argue that an invasion of Japan by the Allies would have resulted in a much higher death toll. One such person, Winston Churchill, claimed that invading Japan, as opposed to dropping the atomic bombs, would have "sacrificed a million American and a quarter of a million British lives." ...read more.

Middle

Part of Japanese culture is the concept of "bushido" or "the way of the warrior." It involved fighting to the death and refusing to be captured or surrender. It even went so far as to encourage suicide through disembowelment, a ritual called seppuku or harakiri, to prevent oneself from losing one's honor. This was the ideology that made the Japanese resistant to surrender, especially within the military. That proved to be a problem, because the Japanese Supreme War Council would have to reach a unanimous agreement before accepting any peace agreements. As expected, they rejected the demand for an unconditional surrender from the United States. Even after the atomic bombs were dropped, the hard-line militants refused to accept an unconditional surrender; Emperor Hirohito had to intervene to make the necessary peace agreements possible. The idea that the atomic bombings were tied to the total war aspect of the Second World War is also argued by supporters of the bombs. The concept of total war is that the country as a whole is geared toward the military effort. ...read more.

Conclusion

The intent of the second atomic bomb was to indicate to Japan that the United States had the massively destructive ability at its disposal and that the first bomb was not a fluke or a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. This idea was proven when the Japanese militants attempted to minimize the psychological impact of the first atomic bomb, but were prepared to surrender after the second. However, instead of dropping either bomb, the Allies could have simply continued their more orthodox fire-bombing strategy and followed up with a land-based invasion if the Japanese still refused to surrender. This theory could work under the assumption that the Allies continually increased their fire-bombing efforts. The fact Japan was also willing to accept a conditional surrender supports this idea. The Allies could have saved many more lives by giving Japan a few concessions. While the use of atomic bombs against Japan was not technically necessary to end the Second World War, it did cause the war to end much more quickly. Supporters of the attacks often reference the hundreds of thousands of lives that were theoretically saved by ending the war swiftly with the atomic bombs. Opposition to the atomic bombs generally view the moral aspect behind the acts. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. The cold war - the conferences and the start of the cCold War

    In 1961, the Soviets and Americans had a close war encounter when tanks on either side of the wall lined up against each other NATO and the Warsaw Pact - NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization - Ever since the Truman Doctrine there was the question of how this Doctrine could

  2. WW1 Total War

    up with the war's demand, which was impossible in the current production rate. The government decided that there should be some radical change in the way they produced their war goods.. In almost all the participating countries an inside total war began.

  1. Wars frequently begin ten years before the first shot is fired. To what extent ...

    respective alliances and hence started to exploit each crisis for the benefit of their own alliances, thus encouraging the opposing alliances in a "competition". This alliance system also meant that the intervention of powers in an alliance in a dispute was inevitable and this could cause the amplification of small conflicts.

  2. American Response to the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    In an interview, Elaine Tyler May discussed the concept of nuclear numbing: "After the shock and horror of what these bombs had wrought in Japan, Americans gradually just came-became numb to what atomic power could actually do... These are weapons that are out there, but, uh, presumably they're only going to be there for deterrence."

  1. World War I, a Total War

    [5] What resources Britain had went toward the war in effort to win the battle. In Russia, "As the war went on, the example of tsarist Russia made governments alert to the dangers of a hungry population: Women protesting food shortages in the capital city of Petrograd had set off the chain of violence that toppled the monarchy."

  2. What were the intentions of President Harry S. Truman and General Douglas MacArthur regarding ...

    On December 27, 1945, the Three-Power Foreign Ministers' Conference in Moscow reached an agreement regarding the treatment of Korea. Korea was "to become the object of a Four-Power 'International Trusteeship' for five years, paving the way to independence as unified states" (37).

  1. WWI. To what extent can it be argued that the First World War was ...

    One major cause of the First World War was the intense nationalism. Nationalism, "the belief that people who share ethnic origin, language, and history are part of a national group-and should therefore have their own independent state that they should support above other political loyalties-was an increasingly powerful force in nineteenth century Europe."

  2. To what extent were economic conditions the predominant factor in the proliferation and manifestation ...

    Yet such a view must be approached in a highly critical manner, for it fails to accurately consider the realities of the consequences of 1848. After the extensive repression of civil liberties imminently after the revolution, the liberals managed to reconstitute themselves by the beginning of the 1860?s, and attained

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