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History Research Paper

Introduction

Many years later, after the US used the atomic bomb on Japan, the decision is still among the most significant and controversial operations recorded. To begin with, the move of the US using the atomic bomb has been questioned on whether it was the only viable option to end World War II. The judgments of historians and researchers based on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be categorized into two contradicting groups; those who claim that the move was not viable and the ones who say it was viable in ending the Second World War. The evidence provided by historians justifies as well as contradicts the use of the atomic bomb on Japan. In this paper, I will use evidence from historians to support the fact that the US use of atomic bomb on Japan was the only viable option.

Critical arguments from historians

The judgments of historians based on Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks can be categorized into two conflicting groups. First, those who support the fact that atomic bombing on Japan was the only viable option for ending World War II. Second, those who believe that other aspects were present for ending the war. In regards to the first option, Truman understood his responsibility to protect the Americans in such a situation[1]. The ability to end the war through Japan was all glaring at him, and it required using the most terrible weaponry that would accelerate the process. Therefore, it was important to use a weapon that would speed up the process as well as introduce a new regime.

Historians determined that during the period of World War II, the American army and other citizens were tired after several years of war, but the Japanese army refused to surrender their fight. The US military force were few and occupied only Okinawa as well as Iwo Jima whereas Japan had a military force of more 2 million strong positioned in the Home Island protecting against any invasion. According to Feis (2015)[2], Japan refusing to surrender was a threat to the US because the Japanese military was enforcing a strong defense mechanism. In light of this, the US pushing on through a direct fight would have resulted to more casualties from both sides progressing the war.  

The US just like other countries, had hoped for the end of a dark period in human history. It was a period that was challenging for every country since it was attributed by fear and panic. As a result of this, every country was in the move of using the best weaponry of minimizing casualties on their side and having a great impact on the enemy. For the US, they had lost more than 418,000 people, both civilian and military, from an attack by Japan. Therefore, they wanted to go for an option that would not add the death toll on its citizens and soldiers. Because confrontation was going to add the number of casualties on the US soldiers, the atomic bomb was the only viable option.

On the other hand, some critiques have claimed that the US use of atomic bombs on Japan to end the war. Walker (2016) claims that there were reasonable men among the Japanese military and politicians. For instance, some of them had proposed for a strategy to involve their ambassador and emperors special envoy in Moscow to persuade the Soviet in planning negotiation for ending the war[3]. However, before the strategy was enacted, the US hurriedly took to terms by sending the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima anticipating that they will surrender. It was then followed by a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki that pushed them to quit. Therefore, despite the use of the atomic bomb to force Japan to surrender, the strategy for surrender was underway. 

Historians criticizing the decision of the US to end the war was not viable claimed that there were other options that the US would have used to push Japan to surrender and to end the war. For instance, according to Walter the US would have used a display of how the bomb would affect Japan. The display of the impact of the atomic bomb on Japan would have painted a picture of the possible mass destructions if they proceeded with the war. In regards to this, leaders and politicians in Japan would have decided to surrender through the terms and conditions provided by the US. Therefore, using a strong weapon such as the atomic bomb without any warning was a good or viable option for ending the war.

Historical evidence

There are various historical evidence that shows the use of atomic bombs by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a viable option to end World War II. The use of the atomic bomb was the only option to end the war faster and with no casualty from the US. The first evidence was the incident of Japan surrender. According to Brick, Howard, and Christopher 2015, August 6th and 9th, the US forces dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. The two bombs killed more than 300,000 people together with instant deaths as well as those who suffered from radiation and other devastating impacts of the explosions[4]. Following the incident, on August 15th, the emperor declared Japan’s surrender over the radio brought the Second World War to a close. Japan surrendered to the US through the previously provided terms and condition. 

The other evidence is based on the Soviet Union’s decision to play in a level ground for fear of the atomic bomb. According to Selden, Kyoko, and Mark 2015, regardless of the reasons for using the atomic bomb on Japan, it was a threat to other countries at that time[5]. For instance, Stalin perceived that the US having the atomic bomb was a significant threat to the Soviet Union and anyone who would continue with the war. As a result of this, Stalin decided to level the playing field with Soviet scientist on their way to make their atomic bomb. The Soviet Union, among the players in World War II, was afraid of the impact of the atomic bomb, especially in the hands of the US.

The third evidence is based on the fact that the US started conventional bombing on Japan in 1942 but failed to make Japan surrender. According to Craig 2015, in this raid, carried out in 1944, led to the death of about 333,000 Japanese and 473,000 were wounded. Also, it is recorded that one fire-bombing attack on Tokyo led to the death of more than 80,000 people. According to Truman, “despite their heavy losses at Okinawa and fire-bombing of Tokyo, the Japanese refused to surrender.”[6] The massive destructions from conventional bombing could not make the Japanese relent. The Japanese promised to go on with the fight despite the increasing casualties from their side. Therefore, it is apparent that the Japanese were not ready to surrender when the US used conventional bombing that affected many people compared to the atomic bombs.

The other evidence is Japan unwilling surrender despite the news from the fall of Hitler and Germany unconditional surrender. According to Feis 2015, after the passing of President Roosevelt, Truman reinforced the American’s position that the focus of the war is the unconditional surrender from all countries such as Japan and Germany. After a heavy confrontation, Germany surrendered, allowing the US and Great Britain to concentrate on Japan. However, while responding to the reports of Hitler’s death, Japanese Prime minister Suzuki encouraged his people through radio to go on with the fight, and Togo Japan minister added that German’s surrender would not interfere with their determination to pursue the war against the US.

Analysis of historical evidence

The historical evidence provided above supports the fact that the US using the atomic bombs on Japan was viable in ending the Second World War. To begin with, nothing can exist in a vacuum. All the decisions that people make daily are normally carried out for various reasons. In most cases, when asked, people tend to respond by using situations they experience and the reasons for their actions. That said, the context is similar for our leaders who experience heavy tasks and are required to decide on matters that alters the course of time.

In regards to this, leaders usually decide based on the situations they experience, all the factors close, options that exist and impacts either good or bad that could come from their decisions. It is apparent that everybody is a creature of a given situation that he or she encounters. Thus, understanding the situation presented by war is important in explaining why Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing occur. For instance, the Japanese were not willing to surrender, which means that they wanted the war to continue.

Historical writings immediately after Japan surrender claimed that the atomic bombing was the main contributor to the end of the war, and there were no other options available; hence, its use was viable. At that time, the Americans were tired of the war that stayed for about three years on varying fronts. For instance, the US had many casualties at that time, which means having a confrontation would have increased the number. Therefore, considering the lives of the Americans that would have been lost using a direct confrontation, President Truman wanted a strategy that would limit casualties on their side hence the use of the atomic bomb.

From historical evidence provided, it is Japan who insisted on continuing with the war despite several calls to surrender. The leaders of Japan refused the call to surrender even after a report that Hitler was killed and Germany surrendered unconditionally. With the war on, President Truman in such a challenging situation considered a strategy that would eliminate more casualties and make Japan surrender. In light of this, it was time to try some new strategy that would instill fear and make Japan go on its knee.  After dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, they surrendered, and the Second World War ended.

The conventional bombing and the call for peace had failed to make Japan surrender despite the high number of loss they experienced. It seems that Japan wanted to display their superiority to the US and other countries. Japanese leaders swore that they will not surrender unconditionally and that they will continue to fight. The Japanese zeal to keep fighting would have elongated the period of war, resulting in more casualties. That said, the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a new strategy to Japan and other countries because of its impact on the opponent. As opposed to the conventional bombing, the atomic bombing was a sure mean to have a massive impact on the enemy with zero casualties in the US.

Conclusion

The use of atomic bombs to hit Japan by the US to the end of World War II was a viable option for ending the war. To answer the research question, I used historical records that supported the move as well as the one that claimed the move was not viable. According to historians, Japan was not ready to surrender, and the US troops were weary of the fight pushing President Truman to instruct on the use of atomic bombs as a means to lower the number of casualties in the US. Thus, as it was planned, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the US, which culminated to the end of the Second World War. On the other hand, critics were unable to point what led to the end of the war. Therefore, based on this research, it is apparent that the use of atomic bombs by the US to hit Japan to end the war was a viable option.

Bibliographies

Brau, Monica. The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Occupied Japan: American Censorship in Occupied Japan. Routledge, 2017.

Brick, Howard, and Christopher Phelps. Radicals in America: The US left since the Second World War. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Craig, William. The fall of Japan: The Final Weeks of World War II in the Pacific. Open Road Media, 2015.

Feis, Herbert. The atomic bomb and the end of World War II. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Selden, Kyoko Iriye, and Mark Selden. The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Routledge, 2015.

Walker, J. S., (2016). Prompt and utter destruction: Truman and the use of atomic bombs against Japan. UNC Press Books.


[1] Brau, Monica. The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Occupied Japan: American Censorship in Occupied Japan. Routledge, 2017.

[2] Feis, Herbert. The atomic bomb and the end of World War II. Princeton University Press, 2015.

[3] Walker, J. S., (2016). Prompt and utter destruction: Truman and the use of atomic bombs against Japan. UNC Press Books.

[4] Brick, Howard, and Christopher Phelps. Radicals in America: The US left since the Second World War. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

[5] Selden, Kyoko Iriye, and Mark Selden. The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Routledge, 2015.

[6] Craig, William. The fall of Japan: The Final Weeks of World War II in the Pacific. Open Road Media, 2015.

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