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Thank God for the Atom Bomb

Essay by   •  February 22, 2017  •  Term Paper  •  1,168 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,369 Views

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Thank God for the Atom Bomb

In “Thank God for the Atom Bomb” Paul Fussell justifies President Truman’s decision to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. He also claims that those people who condemn Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan are people who have never been in a combat situation. In my opinion, the atomic bomb was uncalled for because, its repercussions are still felt today.

Fussell painted a picture about the heinous things that took place during war that only a person who had experienced combat would know. Similarly, in the title of the book, the author thanks God for the Atomic Bomb. It is an appeal to ethos. Ethos seeks to inspire trust, in this case trust is achieved through the involvement of a supernatural being. Fussell described an advert he had seen on a bus and it read that, “In life, experience is the great teacher”. This statement means that a person who has experienced a particular phenomenon in the past is more likely to know its effects and how to deal with it. The author of the book wrote it on the forty second anniversary of the atom bombings that took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He felt the need to write the book in order to clarify some ethical issues and give his opinion about the bombing.

The author, highlights the importance of experience in the determination of one's views regarding the use of the atomic bomb. It does not matter if this experience is sheer or vulgar. A person’s opinion is bound to be different if he was in the battlefield and he came face to face with the enemy who in this case refers to the Japanese soldiers who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the emperor. In war, the soldiers objective was to destroy the enemy and not to necessarily to hurt, frighten or drive them away. This depicts combat to be merciless and you were either to destroy the enemy or be destroyed.

Fussell reiterates Arthur T. Hardley’s premise regarding those who claim that use of the Atomic bomb was wrong. Arthur claims that the people who continue to claim that the use of the atomic bomb was wrong, tend to imply that “it would have been better to let thousands of thousands of people die in honest hand to hand combat on the beaches instead of dropping those two bombs.”

The author further argues that the people who hold the opinion that the atomic bomb was wrong are not in touch with the afflictions of the infantrymen and the pilots who are deployed during war. Most of these people do not come from the ranks in the society that are supposed to produce the infantrymen or the pilots who were supposed to go to war. The people who have first-hand experience of being in the battleground at its worst are not the nobility or educated people. Many people were blown up into pieces in the Japanese islands and the war could have gone on.

In my opinion, the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were uncalled for. Even though Fussell claimed that the use of the atomic bomb caused the Japanese to surrender and minimize the casualties on either side during the Operation Downfall. The fact that people who were not in the war or who have never experienced a combat situation are able to say that

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