Was the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?
There are many ways to argue the case for and against the USA’s deployment of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite being a major contributor to the ending of the war it can still be debated as to whether this form of warfare was justified.
There were many reasons as to why America would have chosen to drop the bomb and the majority can be seen as fair. Before the utilisation of the atomic bombs, America was nearing the end of the war and had made a declaration regarding Japan’s surrender. At this point Japan was in a very weak position and at the same time, America had completed creating the atomic bomb, however, Japan refused to accept the surrender offered to them. Many people will argue that the US was justified in dropping the atomic bomb because they believed Japan would never surrender. In fact, in response to the declaration, the Japanese Prime Minister prepared everyone to fight until the death as cited in Source 13. Therefore, the US found that using the bomb was the only way to end the war quickly with the fewest American casualties. Dropping the atomic bomb was the only solution that would end the war, force the Japanese to surrender, and save the most American and Japanese lives.
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On the other hand, the Japanese wouldn’t have defeated the US in an attack against them because as the Japanese War Minister states in Source 11,“We [the Japanese] thought we would be able to defeat the Americans on their first landing attack. But if the Americans launched a second or third attack, first our food supply would run out, then our weapons.” Therefore, the Americans would have won without using the atomic bombs, which caused a lot of suffering and extreme damage to Japan. Keeping this in mind, the Japanese still had time to surrender since they were warned fived days prior to the first bombing. Rather than acting on it, they chose not to reply, however, records have been interpreted to suggest that Japan was trying to surrender. This factor is shown as a cartoon in Source 20, which implies that the Americans made excuses as to why they dropped the bomb. It shows that that form of attack was unnecessary but the US utilised it it anyway.
I believe the dropping of the atomic bomb was not justified because the effects it had on Japan were severely cruel and, as stated in Source 5, continued with mysterious deaths a symptoms such as vomiting, purple spots of the skin, bleeding and loss of hair as mentioned in Source 6. I think that the Japanese should never have been put through that and suffered from something so unnecessary. “The use of this barbarous weapon was of no assistance to our war against Japan,” stated President Truman’s advisor in Source 12, “The Japanese were already defeated.” And not only were they with not much chance of winning, they had tried to surrender. This makes me believe that the US only dropped the bomb to “see if it worked”, which is not a valid excuse to take away thousands of lives.