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

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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.


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.


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.

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