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The Unreasonable Decision to Use Atomic Bombs on Japanese Civilians

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When Actions Spoke for Words:

The Unreasonable Decision to Use Atomic Bombs on Japanese Civilians

Your skin is peeling off your body, and you look around at the charred earth, not a soul in sight, everything and everyone's gone, you look up to the sky as radioactive rain begins to fall and ponder why you were injured, this wasn't your war, was it? World War II raged on on the Pacific front and showed no signs of slowing down. There had been large amounts of Japanese and U.S. casualties during the war. The atomic bombs that were used on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and 9th of August, 1945 changed the art of warfare. The timing of the bombs use, the places where the bombs were used, and many other things have been constantly debated over and over by historians. Although the decision to drop the atomic bombs was a reasonable decision because the use of these highly destructive weapons brought an end to World War II and saved American lives, the use of said bombs was a highly unreasonable choice because of the impending Russian invasion of Japan, and the gruesome civilian atrocities that occurred as a result of these horrific bombings.

The Americans on the home front had had enough of World War II. President Truman needed a way to end WWII and end it fast. The Japanese had an extreme ethic when it came to fighting in the war. They believed that it was highly embarrassing to surrender and they saw suicide as a less embarrassing option. The Japanese pounded this idea into the heads of both boys and girls from a relatively small age (Bodden). At the Potsdam conference, the Japanese rejected the Allied Powers demand for a surrender, which promised great destruction if the Japanese refused to surrender(The Bombing). This shows that the Japanese had no intentions of surrendering to the Allied Powers. The Japanese found the idea of surrendering to be a very shameful one. This proves that the use of the atomic bombs were reasonable because the Japanese refused to surrender and they were hindering the end of a horrible war.

The Japanese seemed like they would never surrender. When faced with the threat of defeat, the Japanese seemed to become even more deadly (The Bombing). This demonstrates that the use of the bombs on the Japanese was reasonable because it brought an end to the vicious acts of war used by the Japanese. Another option that was being thought about was "Operation Downfall," or a large scale American invasion of Japan. However, it was unpopular because it would not end the fighting immediately and the numbers projected for loss of life was high. General Douglas MacArthur advised President Truman that going through with an invasion could result in the loss of up to 1 million American soldiers (Casualty). Also based on their fighting mentality, the estimated casualties for the Japanese was close to 4 million (Casualty). The use of the atomic bomb was a reasonable choice because it resulted in a smaller amount of casualties and death for the Japanese and zero casualties for the U.S. Under circumstance where the Japanese refused to surrender and the U.S. hoped to save lives, the use of the first atom bombs was a reasonable decision; however there were other options that the U.S. could have chosen.

The decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are often debated because of the numerous other options that the U.S. had at their disposal when they chose to drop the bombs. For example, Stalin said his army would invade Japan was made to believe that the U.S. fully supported their invasion of Japan. And furthermore, on April 15, 1945 Stalin explicitly confirmed that his army's intentions to invade Japan two to three months after the defeat of Germany (Alperovitz). Germany was defeated in May and Stalin reaffirmed his proposition that the Red Army would be prepared to invade Japan held Manchuria(Bodden). When Harry Hopkins, a close advisor to the president, met with Stalin, he told Hopkins that the Soviets would be prepared to be deployed by August 8th. Also at the Potsdam conference, Truman reported that, "He'll [Stalin] be in the Jap war on August 15th."(Hillman). This shows that the Russians had clearly presented the fact that they were intending to enter the pacific front of WWII. If the soviets had entered the war there wouldn't have been loss of U.S. soldiers' lives because the U.S. army wouldn't have been fighting. Furthermore, on April 11th there were reports by a courier that about 25,000 men, 150 tanks, 550 vehicles, and 550 planes were being transported eastward(Alperovitz). These reports also matched up with intercepted Japanese intelligence that reported continued Military movements by the soviets to the Far East(The Bombing). This further proves that there was an invasion of Japan being planned and the early stages of these plans were being executed and that the Russian invasion was a legitimate option.

The U.S. Government continued to support an invasion of Japan by the Soviets even thought they were working on the bombs. The U.S. even continued to support a Russian invasion even after the creation of a working a-bomb (Alperovitz). Although the American government would rather have had the Russian's invade Japan then their own men, many of the leaders feared that this would lead to a "communist invasion" of Asia and wanted to avoid ending the war with a Soviet attack (Alperovitz). This



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