Bombing Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki Essay

The Potsdam Proclamation issued on July 26, 1945, made no mention of what would happen to the Japanese emperor.With no promise from the Allies that the emperor would remain in power, Japan rejected the demands of the Proclamation, even though the Allies made clear the consequences if Japan did not accept the ultimatum: We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action.

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This seemed obvious to me because of the short span of time between the first atomic bomb on August 6 and Emperor Hirohito's surrender radio broadcast on August 15.

After examining the evidence provided in the readings cited at the end of this essay, I now believe no justification exists for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.

(Potsdam Proclamation 1945) The American people also seemed to dismiss the idea of diplomatic discussions with the Japanese and to overwhelmingly support the American policy of the "unconditional surrender" of Japan, as shown by about 90 percent of the respondents to a June 1945 poll supporting "an uncompromising stance on war aims even if it meant invasion of the Japanese homeland" (Pyle 1996, 212).

The dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which caused untold human suffering and brought about profound implications for the entire human race, represents one of the key events of the twentieth century.

By examining the historical background and the motivations of the American leaders at the time, the first three sections of this essay evaluate whether the decision to drop the atomic bomb was justified by the circumstances.

With polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly supported the "unconditional surrender" of Japan and with his knowing the strong anti-Japanese sentiments of the American people, President Truman must have felt that he had little political risk in dropping an atomic bomb on Japan.

Moreover, President Truman must have also considered his difficulty in explaining to American voters why the government spent two billion dollars to develop a superior weapon if he personally decided not to deploy it, especially if the war had dragged on with additional American casualties.

Although some hard-core militants in the Japanese government vehemently opposed surrender until the very end, for the most part Japan had been willing for some time to accept the other demands of the Allies, such as complete disarmament, relinquishment of territory seized during the war, limitation of Japanese sovereignty to the four main islands and a few minor islands, temporary occupation of Japan by Allied troops, and justice for designated war criminals.

How ironic it is that the Americans decided soon after the end of the war to retain the Japanese emperor as a symbol of continuity to maintain political stability.


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