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Debate over the Bomb: An Annotated Bibliography

  • Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki

More than seventy years after the end of World War II, the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki  remains controversial . Historians and the public continue to debate if the bombings were justified, the causes of Japan’s surrender, the casualties that would have resulted if the U.S. had invaded Japan, and more. Some historians, often called “traditionalists,” tend to argue that the bombs were necessary in order to save American lives and prevent an invasion of Japan. Other experts, usually called “revisionists,” claim that the bombs were unnecessary and were dropped for other reasons, such as to intimidate the Soviet Union. Many historians have taken positions between these two poles. These books and articles provide a range of perspectives on the atomic bombings. This is not an exhaustive list, but should illustrate some of the different arguments over the decision to use the bombs.

Bibliography on the Debate over the Bomb

  • Alperovitz, Gar.  Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam . New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.

——-.  The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth . New York: Knopf, 1995.

Alperovitz, a prominent revisionist historian, argues that the bombs were unnecessary to force Japan’s surrender. In particular, he posits that the Japanese were already close to surrender and that bombs were primarily intended as a political and diplomatic weapon against the Soviet Union.

  • Bernstein, Barton. “Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory.”  Diplomatic History  19 (Spring 1995): 227-73.

Bernstein challenges the notions that the Japanese were ready to surrender before Hiroshima and that the atomic bombings were primarily intended to intimidate the Soviet Union. He also questions traditionalist claims that the U.S. faced a choice between dropping the bomb and an invasion, and that an invasion would lead to hundreds of thousands of American casualties.

  • Bird, Kai, and Lawrence Lifschultz, eds.  Hiroshima’s Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy . Stony Creek, CT: Pamphleteer’s Press, 1998.

This collection of essays and primary source documents, written primarily from a revisionist perspective, provides numerous critiques of the use of the atomic bombs. It includes a foreword by physicist  Joseph Rotblat , who left the Manhattan Project in 1944 on grounds of conscience.

  • Bix, Herbert P.  Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan . New York: Perennial, 2000.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the Japanese emperor asserts that the Japanese did not decide to surrender until after the bombings and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Bix attributes responsibility for the bombings to Hirohito’s “power, authority, and stubborn personality” and President Truman’s “power, determination, and truculence.”

  • Craig, Campbell and Radchenko, Sergey.  The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War .  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

A provocative study of the entrance of the atomic bomb onto the global stage. It questions the various influences impacting the United States’ decision to drop the bomb, and discusses the Manhattan Project’s role in orchestrating the bipolar conflict of the Cold War.

  • Dower, John W.  Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq . New York: W. W. Norton, 2010.

Dower states that the U.S. used the bombs in order to end the war and save American lives, but asserts that Truman could have waited a few weeks before dropping the bombs to see if the Soviet invasion of Manchuria would compel Japan to surrender. He argues that Truman employed “power politics” in order to keep the Soviet Union in check, and criticizes both Japanese and American leaders for their inability to make peace.

  • Feis, Herbert.  Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference . Princeton, NJ: Princton University Press, 1960.

Feis presents a blow-by-blow account of the proceedings at the Potsdam Conference that sought to plan the postwar world. He gives particular attention to the discussion of atomic weapons that took place at the conference, noting how it impacted the negotiations of Harry Truman and the American delegation.

  • Frank, Richard B.  Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire . New York: Penguin Books, 1999.

Frank contends that the Japanese were not close to surrendering before the bombing of Hiroshima. He also concludes that 33,000-39,000 American soldiers would have been killed in an invasion, much lower than the figures usually given by traditionalists.

  • Fussell, Paul.  Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays . New York: Summit Books, 1988.

In the title essay, Fussell, a World War II veteran, vividly recalls the war’s brutality and defends the bombings as a tragic necessity.

  • Giangreco, D.M.  Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 . Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2009.

Giangreco defends estimates that an invasion of Japan would have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives, and challenges the argument that using the bombs was unjustified.

  • Gordin, Michael D.  Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Gordin argues that Hiroshima and Nagasaki stemmed from American decisionmakers’ belief that the bombs were merely an especially powerful conventional weapon. He claims U.S. leaders did not “clearly understand the atomic bomb’s revolutionary strategic potential.”

  • Ham, Paul.  Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath . Basingstoke, UK: Picador, 2015.

Ham demonstrates that misunderstandings and nationalist fury from both Allied and Axis powers led to the use of the atomic bombs. Ham also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from twelve-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced the holocaust alone.

  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi.  Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan . Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005.

In this history of the end of World War II from American, Japanese, and Soviet perspectives, Hasegawa determines that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was the primary factor in compelling the Japanese to surrender.

  • Hersey, John.  Hiroshima . New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946.

Hersey’s book-length article, which appeared in the  New Yorker  one year after the bombing of Hiroshima, profiles six survivors of the attack. It helped give the American public a new picture of the human impact of the bomb and brought about a groundswell of negative opinion against nuclear weapons.

  • Lifton, Robert Jay, and Greg Mitchell.  Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial . New York: Avon Books, 1995.

Written from a revisionist perspective, this book assesses President Truman’s motivations for authorizing the atomic bombings and traces the effects of the bombings on American society.

  • Maddox, Robert James.  Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision Fifty Years Later . Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1995.

This analysis contends that Japan had not decided to surrender before Hiroshima, states that the U.S. did not believe the Soviet invasion would force Japan to surrender, and challenges the idea that American officials greatly exaggerated the costs of a U.S. invasion of mainland Japan.

  • Malloy, Sean.  Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan .  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008. 

Traces the U.S. government’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, using the life of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson as a lens. This biography frames the contested decision as a moral question faced by American policy makers. 

  • Miscamble, Wilson D.  The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan . New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

In this short history, Miscamble critiques various revisionist arguments and posits that the bomb was militarily necessary. He also discusses whether the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justified.

  • Newman, Robert P.  Truman and the Hiroshima Cult . East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1995.

Newman argues that Truman made a legitimate military decision to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible. He claims the bombings ultimately saved lives and assails what he calls a “cult” of victimhood surrounding the attacks.

  • Rotter, Andrew J.  Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

This international history of the race to develop the bomb asserts that Truman was primarily motivated by a desire to end the war as quickly as possible, with a minimal loss of American lives. Rotter states that the shocks caused by the atomic bombings and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria were both pivotal to Japan’s surrender.

  • Stimson, Henry L. “ The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb .”  Harper’s Magazine  194:1167 (February 1947): 97-107.

Writing a year and a half after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, former Secretary of War Stimson defends the U.S. decision. He documents the refusal of the Japanese to surrender and estimates that an Allied invasion would have resulted in one million American casualties and many more Japanese deaths.

  • Walker, J. Samuel.  Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

In a concise critique of both traditionalist and revisionist interpretations of Truman’s decision, Walker concludes that the primary motivation for the use of the bombs was to end World War II as quickly as possible.

  • Zeiler, Thomas W.  Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, and the End of World War II . Wilmington, DE: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

This history chronicles the brutality of the fighting between the U.S. and Japan in the Pacific. Zeiler concludes that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mostly motivated by military, rather than political, reasons.  

If you have suggestions for resources that should be listed here, please  contact us .

Truman announces Japanese surrender.

Hiroshima Atomic Dome Memorial. Photo by Dmitrij Rodionov, Wikimedia Commons.

Nagasaki, October 1945

Paul Tibbets and the Enola Gay. Courtesy of the Joseph Papalia Collection.

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You and the Atom Bomb

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Considering how likely we all are to be blown to pieces by it within the next five years, the atomic bomb has not roused so much discussion as might have been expected. The newspapers have published numerous diagrams, not very helpful to the average man, of protons and neutrons doing their stuff, and there has been much reiteration of the useless statement that the bomb “ought to be put under international control.” But curiously little has been said, at any rate in print, about the question that is of most urgent interest to all of us, namely: “How difficult are these things to manufacture?”

Such information as we – that is, the big public – possess on this subject has come to us in a rather indirect way, apropos of President Truman’s decision not to hand over certain secrets to the USSR. Some months ago, when the bomb was still only a rumour, there was a widespread belief that splitting the atom was merely a problem for the physicists, and that when they had solved it a new and devastating weapon would be within reach of almost everybody. (At any moment, so the rumour went, some lonely lunatic in a laboratory might blow civilisation to smithereens, as easily as touching off a firework.)

Had that been true, the whole trend of history would have been abruptly altered. The distinction between great states and small states would have been wiped out, and the power of the State over the individual would have been greatly weakened. However, it appears from President Truman’s remarks, and various comments that have been made on them, that the bomb is fantastically expensive and that its manufacture demands an enormous industrial effort, such as only three or four countries in the world are capable of making. This point is of cardinal importance, because it may mean that the discovery of the atomic bomb, so far from reversing history, will simply intensify the trends which have been apparent for a dozen years past.

It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon – so long as there is no answer to it – gives claws to the weak.

The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination of qualities made possible the success of the American and French revolutions, and made a popular insurrection a more serious business than it could be in our own day. After the musket came the breech-loading rifle . This was a comparatively complex thing, but it could still be produced in scores of countries, and it was cheap, easily smuggled and economical of ammunition. Even the most backward nation could always get hold of rifles from one source or another, so that Boers, Bulgars, Abyssinians, Moroccans – even Tibetans – could put up a fight for their independence, sometimes with success. But thereafter every development in military technique has favoured the State as against the individual, and the industrialised country as against the backward one. There are fewer and fewer foci of power. Already, in 1939, there were only five states capable of waging war on the grand scale, and now there are only three – ultimately, perhaps, only two. This trend has been obvious for years, and was pointed out by a few observers even before 1914. The one thing that might reverse it is the discovery of a weapon – or, to put it more broadly, of a method of fighting – not dependent on huge concentrations of industrial plant.

From various symptoms one can infer that the Russians do not yet possess the secret of making the atomic bomb; on the other hand, the consensus of opinion seems to be that they will possess it within a few years. So we have before us the prospect of two or three monstrous super-states, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be wiped out in a few seconds, dividing the world between them. It has been rather hastily assumed that this means bigger and bloodier wars, and perhaps an actual end to the machine civilisation. But suppose – and really this the likeliest development – that the surviving great nations make a tacit agreement never to use the atomic bomb against one another? Suppose they only use it, or the threat of it, against people who are unable to retaliate? In that case we are back where we were before, the only difference being that power is concentrated in still fewer hands and that the outlook for subject peoples and oppressed classes is still more hopeless.

When James Burnham wrote The Managerial Revolution it seemed probable to many Americans that the Germans would win the European end of the war, and it was therefore natural to assume that Germany and not Russia would dominate the Eurasian land mass, while Japan would remain master of East Asia. This was a miscalculation, but it does not affect the main argument. For Burnham’s geographical picture of the new world has turned out to be correct. More and more obviously the surface of the earth is being parcelled off into three great empires, each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each ruled, under one disguise or another, by a self-elected oligarchy. The haggling as to where the frontiers are to be drawn is still going on, and will continue for some years, and the third of the three super-states – East Asia, dominated by China – is still potential rather than actual. But the general drift is unmistakable, and every scientific discovery of recent years has accelerated it.

We were once told that the aeroplane had “abolished frontiers”; actually it is only since the aeroplane became a serious weapon that frontiers have become definitely impassable. The radio was once expected to promote international understanding and co-operation; it has turned out to be a means of insulating one nation from another. The atomic bomb may complete the process by robbing the exploited classes and peoples of all power to revolt, and at the same time putting the possessors of the bomb on a basis of military equality. Unable to conquer one another, they are likely to continue ruling the world between them, and it is difficult to see how the balance can be upset except by slow and unpredictable demographic changes.

For forty or fifty years past, Mr. H. G. Wells and others have been warning us that man is in danger of destroying himself with his own weapons, leaving the ants or some other gregarious species to take over. Anyone who has seen the ruined cities of Germany will find this notion at least thinkable. Nevertheless, looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery. We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham’s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications – that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of “cold war” with its neighbours.

Had the atomic bomb turned out to be something as cheap and easily manufactured as a bicycle or an alarm clock, it might well have plunged us back into barbarism, but it might, on the other hand, have meant the end of national sovereignty and of the highly-centralised police State. If, as seems to be the case, it is a rare and costly object as difficult to produce as a battleship, it is likelier to put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a “peace that is no peace”.

Tribune , 19 October 1945

This material remains under copyright in some jurisdictions, including the US, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Orwell Estate .

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Essay on Atomic Bomb

Students are often asked to write an essay on Atomic Bomb in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Atomic Bomb

What is an atomic bomb.

An atomic bomb is a powerful weapon. It uses nuclear reactions to release a lot of energy. This energy comes from the splitting of atoms, tiny particles that make up everything around us. This process is called nuclear fission.

History of the Atomic Bomb

The first atomic bomb was made during World War II, in a secret project called the Manhattan Project. The United States made it to end the war quickly. They dropped two bombs on Japan in 1945. These bombings ended the war, but also caused much destruction.

Effects of an Atomic Bomb

When an atomic bomb explodes, it creates a huge fireball and a shock wave. These can destroy buildings and harm people. It also releases harmful radiation. This can make people sick, or even cause death. It can also harm the environment.

Atomic Bomb Today

Today, many countries have atomic bombs. They are often seen as a way to prevent war, because no one wants to face their destructive power. But, there are also many people who want to get rid of these weapons, because of the danger they pose to the world.

250 Words Essay on Atomic Bomb

An atomic bomb is a powerful weapon that uses nuclear reactions to create a big explosion. It was first made during World War II. This bomb uses the energy stored in atoms, the tiny particles that make up everything around us.

How Does it Work?

The atomic bomb works on the principle of nuclear fission. In simple words, it’s like splitting an atom into two smaller atoms. When this split happens, a lot of energy is released. This energy is what causes the big explosion. The atoms used in these bombs are usually uranium or plutonium.

The First Atomic Bomb

The first atomic bomb was made by the United States during World War II. This project was called the Manhattan Project. The first bomb was tested in July 1945 in New Mexico. Soon after, two more bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Effects of Atomic Bomb

The effects of an atomic bomb are very harmful. The explosion can destroy buildings and kill many people. It also releases radiation, which can cause sickness and even death. The radiation can stay in the area for many years, making it dangerous for people to live there.

Today, many countries have atomic bombs. There are rules to stop countries from using these bombs because of the damage they can cause. These rules are part of treaties or agreements between countries. Still, the existence of these bombs is a big concern for world peace.

In conclusion, an atomic bomb is a powerful and dangerous weapon. It has had a big impact on our world history and continues to be a concern today.

500 Words Essay on Atomic Bomb

Introduction to atomic bomb.

An atomic bomb is a powerful weapon that uses nuclear reactions to create a big explosion. The energy comes from splitting atoms, a process called nuclear fission. The first atomic bomb was made during World War II.

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The United States made the first atomic bomb during a project called the Manhattan Project. Many scientists worked together to create this weapon. They used uranium and plutonium, two types of elements, to make the bomb. These elements were chosen because they can start a chain reaction. This chain reaction releases a lot of energy quickly, causing a big explosion.

The Use of Atomic Bomb

The first time an atomic bomb was used was in 1945, during World War II. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These bombings caused a lot of damage and killed many people. The bombs ended the war, but they also caused a lot of suffering.

The Impact of Atomic Bomb

The atomic bomb has a big impact. The explosion can destroy buildings and kill people. The heat from the explosion can cause fires. The radiation from the bomb can also make people sick. This sickness, called radiation sickness, can cause death. Even years after the bomb, people can still get sick from the radiation.

The Future of Atomic Bomb

Today, many countries have atomic bombs. There are rules to control who can have these weapons and how they can be used. These rules are important to prevent wars and protect people. But, there is still a risk. If these weapons are used again, it could cause a lot of damage and suffering.

The atomic bomb is a powerful weapon. It has changed the world in many ways. It ended a war, but it also caused a lot of harm. Today, it is important to remember the effects of the atomic bomb and work to prevent its use in the future.

This is a simple overview of the atomic bomb. There is a lot more to learn about this topic. But, hopefully, this gives you a good starting point. Remember, understanding our past can help us make better decisions in the future.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

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The Atomic Bomb, Essay Example

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The debate over the cold war and America’s actions against Japan have been a long-term debate over necessity and extreme. The lives lost were excessive and what was once highly acceptable has grown into a series of studies and justifications. The controversy and alternate reasons have surfaced leading many to wonder if the atomic bomb was used for bigger reasons than ending the war with Japan. Whereas we may never know the true details behind the decision to use the atomic bomb, there are many controversial beliefs as far as its use. The determination to launch such a devastating attack was based on far more than the desire to end the war with Japan, whereas the speculations are numerous, the United States utilized this option to take back the control that Japan had refused them.

During the time of the war, Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not questioned. However, long after the dust had settled, the purpose and necessity has been reviewed and debated for the true need of such extensive force. The atomic bomb resulted in 70,000-80,000 Hiroshima citizens losing their lives.[1] This was not necessarily an instant casualty count, this occurred over days as the radiation set in, many suffered for days before dying. Truman’s decision to launch the bombs was not done carelessly or void of deep consideration. However, there has been a debate for decades as far as the legitimacy or even need for nuclear attacks. Studying the details and determining the premise that the U.S. based their decision on judgment instead of facts creates the need to rethink the nuclear weapons policies.[2] It really does dictate individuals to study the details of the war to determine whether it was the best course of action or whether it was avoidable. At this point in the war, it was believed that taking such force was the best way to force Japan to relinquish their powers that they were misusing.

The bombing of Japan was not based solely on the war, it was an economic consideration as well. Japan refused to back down, fighting the United States demands. There are some who felt that as détente deepened on an economic levelthe Soviet alliance would shift away from planning towards the market, and from a location of isolation into a fully integrated world economy.[3]The concern was that the necessary resources for economic success was been smothered by the Soviet’s involvement. Because the United States wanted to restore stability, it was necessary for them to learn an important historical lesson that only when the United States was resilient could there be world order. [4]On an economic level, the United States had to take back what they classified as theirs in hopes of remaining dominate in economic, political, and social standing worldwide. This was one of the many reasons that the bombing was felt to be necessary. The entire nation was dependent upon the resources that Japan was denying them. Years of fighting a back and forth battle void of bombing would have withheld the necessary resources from Americans for too long.

In a study done on the Cold War and dropping the bomb on Japan, many students were asked their opinion as to whether this action was justified and necessary. They were presented the facts and thenallowed to discuss the details in order to work through some of the controversies that linger around the dropping of the Atomic bomb. One group supported Truman’s decision basing as the probably the most difficult decision that he ever had to make and he did it based solely upon the well-being of his country. He also carried the guilt of the lives lost as a result of this bomb. [5] Another group was not as open to the idea of this action as the first group. They were not certain on their standing of right or wrong because they felt that the facts were not presented correctly and they still held a certain amount of controversy. The details of the war in general were still in question and the casualties for both sides were not laid out. But in the end they majority determined, “The bomb was a good thing because now all the world knows how much desolation and destruction it causes and hopefully we will have enough sense not to drop it ever again.”[6] The decision was supported for the well-being of America and the prevention of future attacks based on the worldwide knowledge of their powers. Meaning that Truman’s decision to utilize the atomic bomb was for the overall well-being of Americans as well as a means to take back the economic power from Japan while ending the cold war.

Many scholars have spent decades studying the events and relevance of the cold war. The division as far as relevance, avoidance, or alternate solutions have created heavy debates. John Lukas determined that “This symbolic event, marks the supreme condition of contemporary history …. That supreme condition is not the Atomic Bomb and not Communism; it is the division of Germany and of most of Europe not American and Russian spheres of influence. The so-called cold war grew out of this division.”[7] There is still a significant amount of evidence missing with both the American and Russian actions, the final judgment of the Cold War origins will remain elusive.[8] However, there are many different publications that have shown that the Soviet’s behavior was the opposition, being both inflexible and an illusion that the Soviet could have been dissolved without the extensive cost of the war. This is clearly speculation because there is no way to know if the other methods or resolution would have been effective or merely prolonged the war unnecessarily.

The cold war was referred to as an overkill. A Washington legislative assistant, Alperovitz, has examined the role of the atomic bomb in the forming America’s position for the Soviet Union. His findings, tentative and equally frightening, is that the United States used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in order show that their weapon capability to the Russians in order to scare them into disgorging part of their Eastern European conquests.[9] Clearly this adds additional dimensions as to the need for the atomic bomb. The previous approach in history to the Cold War is laid out in a systematic and trivialize manner in order to dictate necessity. However, the event from the Potsdam to the Doctrine of Truman has been extremely underplayed. Textbooks support Truman’s actions to being a great president and handling the crises of NATO, the Marshal Plan, and the Doctrine. The attention rarely has been centered on Truman’ actual participation in these situations.[10]This leads individuals to question if other approaches would have led to an early détente as well.

From the American point of view, the initiation of nuclear weapons gave us an alternative to creating European peace in assistance with the Soviet Union. This also was a ploy to neutralize Germany and any potential Nazi aftermath. Having an atomic monopoly permitted that a small fear of German resurgence and void of concern of the interest of Soviet security.[11]The Soviet foreign policy after the World War II occasionally supported the security of American interest. Therefore it is determined that the monolithic true enemy of the Cold War was largely in the imagination of America’s ardent anticommunist cold fighters.[12] The events even suggest that Stalin was willing to cut a deal during the postwar years. There is not a significant amount of evidence showing how the American-Soviet relations was in terms of cooperation, but there was potential.

Contrary to popular belief, based on the historical presentations, Truman knew that the atomic bomb was no longer needed in order to avoid an invasion. The manuscripts and records presented to scholars over the past few years has led them to a better understanding of the events of the cold war. The overall consensus of the war was that the bomb was not necessary nor needed to avoid Japanese invasion, it is clear that there were alternatives to such drastic measures and Truman knew it.[13]Due to the devastation of the bomb, it raised the question of why it was utilized. The end result of analyzing the 1945 attack, it is questioned how American leaders could willingly kill over 100,000 innocent Japanese people if it was avoidable. The American leaders of this time have opened the doors for their values and scruples to be questioned. [14] The evolution of attitude and America in general are under attack as a result.  However this attack is not valid or necessary. The act of bombing Japan took back all necessary controls in Japan and outside of Japan, ensuring America’s safety and economic security. If this action did not occur, it is highly unlikely that the same favorable outcomes would have occurred.

Beyond Truman, the question of the Henry L. Stimson, secretary of war, had his motives in the line of fire as well. He was a deeply religious man with strong moral convictions, who grieved the passing the comforting traditions of the nineteenth century.[15] He is referred to, at best, as being confused morally, and at worst a hypocrite. The Japanese concessions were not significant enough and Stimson stated: The whole situation is beginning to shake me up and get me back to a little bit nearer my old view that we haven’t yet reached the stage where we can dispense with police force; and the only police force I have got to depend on today is the American Navy. Pretty soon I am going to tell the President to so.[16] It believed that his moral stand was bypassed in order to support the attack on Japan. Knowing the casualties and ultimate demise, he supported and encouraged the process, despite the visible surfacing alternative routes.

Barton argued that the former governmental officials willing and knowingly constructed the history of the atomic bomb. He found that James B Co-nant, in effort to chase off the growing criticism encouraged the secretary of state, Henry l. Stimson to create an article to justify and explain the bomb.[17]In this publication he defended the actions by saying that it saved millions of American’s lives. Truman utilized his publication by proceeding to add validity to it by saying the bomb had saved a half a million lives of Americans. This presentation of lives saved, increased the support of Truman actions and influenced the memories that individual’s had for his decision to proceed with the bombings.[18] This laid to rest the initial speculations and allowed Americans to believe their claims for a while. The best interest of America was carried out by utilizing the power encompassed in that bomb. Regardless of the true purpose behind the bombing, it still provided the safety that we know today. It was not an easy decision, and it was not done in vain.

When asking a collection of journalist the top one-hundred stories of the twentieth century, the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan was the top.[19] This is based on the controversy that has been raised over the past decades from scholars who have delved deeper into the details of the bombing. The acrimony and polarization over Truman’s choice to drop the bomb disrupted the efforts to determine the weaknesses and strengths of the competing positions and to elevate to a defensible middle ground.[20] With the debate over the atomic bomb and the new surfacing documentations, there are very strong arguments on both sides of the spectrum that provides strong evidence that there is more to the bombing than saving the American lives as originally believed. This allows individuals to question the motives behind the decision, but not the true reason. There is no question that the actions of Truman were in the best interest of Americans, past and present.

The determination to launch such a devastating attack was based on far more than the desire to end the war with Japan, whereas the speculations are numerous, the United States utilized this option to take back the control that Japan had refused them. Perhaps we may never know the true details behind this attack, it is important to realize that there are alternative beliefs based on the scholarly findings. The loss of life was excessive and it is hard to imagine that was in vain. However, for history sake it is a significant turning point for the stability and strength of America. Unleashing the potential power left America a country not to be messed with and allowed them to take the opportunity to establish themselves economically. Regardless of the side one takes on the atomic bomb, it was a significant factor for America being where it is today. Had the bomb not been utilized, it is inevitable that America would have been challenged at some point, and as Truman believed, the millions of lives could have been lost.

Bibliography

Alperovitz, Gar; Robert L. Messer; & Barton J. Bernstien. Marshall, Truman, and the Decision to Drop the Bomb. International Security, Vol. 16 Number 3 (1992) pp. 204-221.

Barton J Bernstein, Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed          Opportunities, Little- Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory. Diplomatic History (1995) 19 (2): 227-273

Bonnett, John. Jekyll and Hyde:Henry L. Stimson, Mentalite and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb on Japan . War in History (1997) 4: 174.

Cox, Michael. From the Truman Doctrine to the Second Superpower Détente: The Rise and Fall of the Cold War . Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No.1 (1990) p. 25-41.

Doppen, Frans H. Teaching and Learning Multiple Perspectives: The Atomic Bomb . The Social Studies: ProQuest Central. (2000) p.159-168.

Graebner, Norman A. Cold War Origins and the Continuing Debate: A Review of Recent Literature. Journal of Conflict Resolution. (1969) 12: 123.

Miles, Rufus E. Jr. Hiroshima: The Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved.  International Security Vol. 10 Number 2, (1985) pp. 121-140.

Nuclear Weapons . ProQuest Central. (1994) pp.2-10.

Smalls, Melvin. Discussion and Reviews: Reexamining the Classic Cold War: A Review. Journal of Conflict Resolution. (1966) 10:516.

Walker, Samuel J. Historiographical Essay: Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground . Diplomatic History (2005) 29 (2): 311-334

[1]Miles, Rufus E. Jr. Hiroshima: The Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved. International Security Vol. 10 Number 2, (1985) pp. 121-140.

[2]Miles, Rufus E. Jr. Hiroshima: The Strange Myth of Half a Million American Lives Saved. International Security Vol. 10 Number 2, (1985) pp. 121-140.

[3]Cox, Michael. From the Truman Doctrine to the Second Superpower Détente: The Rise and Fall of the Cold War . Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No.1 (1990) p. 25-41.

[4]Cox, Michael. From the Truman Doctrine to the Second Superpower Détente: The Rise and Fall of the Cold War . Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No.1 (1990) p. 25-41.

[5]Doppen, Frans H. Teaching and Learning Multiple Perspectives: The Atomic Bomb . The Social Studies: ProQuest Central. (2000) p.159-168.

[6]Doppen, Frans H. Teaching and Learning Multiple Perspectives: The Atomic Bomb . The Social Studies: ProQuest Central. (2000) p.159-168.

[7]Graebner, Norman A. Cold War Origins and the Continuing Debate: A Review of Recent  Literature. Journal of Conflict Resolution. (1969) 12: 123.

[8]Graebner, Norman A. Cold War Origins and the Continuing Debate: A Review of Recent  Literature. Journal of Conflict Resolution. (1969) 12: 123.

[9]Alperovitz, Gar; Robert L. Messer; & Barton J. Bernstien. Marshall, Truman, and the Decision to Drop the Bomb. International Security, Vol. 16 Number 3 (1992) pp. 204-221.

[10]Smalls, Melvin. Discussion and Reviews: Reexamining the Classic Cold War: A Review. Journal  of Conflict Resolution. (1966) 10:516

[11] Nuclear Weapons . ProQuest Central. (1994) pp.2-10.

[12] Nuclear Weapons . ProQuest Central. (1994) pp.2-10.

[13]Alperovitz, Gar; Robert L. Messer; & Barton J. Bernstien. Marshall, Truman, and the Decision to Drop the Bomb. International Security, Vol. 16 Number 3 (1992) pp. 204-221.

[14]Alperovitz, Gar; Robert L. Messer; & Barton J. Bernstien. Marshall, Truman, and the Decision to Drop the Bomb. International Security, Vol. 16 Number 3 (1992) pp. 204-221.

[15]Bonnett, John. Jekyll and Hyde: Henry L. Stimson, Mentalite and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb on Japan . War in History (1997) 4: 174.

[16]Bonnett, John. Jekyll and Hyde: Henry L. Stimson, Mentalite and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb on Japan . War in History (1997) 4: 174.

[17]Barton J Bernstein, Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little- Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory, Diplomatic History (1995) 19 (2): 227-273.

[18]Barton J Bernstein, Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little- Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory, Diplomatic History (1995) 19 (2): 227-273.

[19]Walker, Samuel J. Historiographical Essay: Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground . Diplomatic History (2005) 29 (2): 311-334

[20]Walker, Samuel J. Historiographical Essay: Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground . Diplomatic History (2005) 29 (2): 311-334

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The Atomic Bomb Essay

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The atomic bomb was the only nuclear weapon used for war. It has only ever been used twice in warfare, and has not been used since. The invention of the atomic bomb caused catastrophic events and wiped out tens of thousands of people. But who decided this was necessary and why?

The invention of the atomic bomb is said to have started in Berlin, one year before World War II commenced. A group of chemists or physicists, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, and Fritz Strassman discovered nuclear fission, this is said to be the dawn of a new era: the atomic age. The main Allied and Axis countries raced to begin the development of new and superior weapons.

The Manhattan Project was launched soon after the discovery of nuclear fission. It was authorised by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American president at the time, his main objective was to end the war in the pacific, that being between the United States and Japan. Most of the developmental and experimental work was performed by J. Robert Openheimer, a theoretical physicist and one of the major contributors to the invention of the atomic bomb. The Government managed to persuade Albert Einstein to help them create the bomb, he was very concerned that Germany may develop the nuclear technology first and feared the potential outcome. Even though Einstein helped the government create and develop nuclear technology he regretted doing so after the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

There were risks taken with the development of the atomic bomb. After Japan bombings, countries were racing to get their hands on the new nuclear technology in order to arm themselves and improve their military weapons.

Espionage was a very big issue at the time, especially in the Soviet Union. The Russians were using spies in the United States to get blueprints for the atomic bomb in order to improve on their weaponry.

When two bombs were dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the two major cities of Japan were severely affected. At the hypocentre, the area in which the bomb dropped directly, people and buildings were immediately disintegrated. Around 60 000- 80 000 people died immediately due to the distance from the atomic bomb, and more than 200 000 people died soon after because of effects of the bomb, such as cancer and radiation poisoning. The dropping of the atomic bomb also caused anarchy in Japan, because civilians were so frightened that an additional bombing would occur. The United States were very much aware of these risks because they had deployed an atomic bomb prior to the Japan bombings and were able to see how extreme the bomb was. They could tell by research that the bomb gave off tremendous amounts of radiation and could cause much harm to people.

The President of the United States at the time of the bombings was President Harry S. Truman, who made the official decision of the deployment of the atomic bombs. President Truman’s main objective was to end the war with the least amount of deaths. He believed that the only option that would result in the least amount of deaths was to bomb a populated area in Japan. Truman weighed in the odds and noted that a conventional air raid would result in approximately 5 times the amount of deaths than the atomic bomb did, and a normal ground invasion would cause the death of many soldiers in combat.

To deploy the atomic bomb in an unpopulated area as a demonstration of the United State’s power and to threaten Japan, was not a reliable strategy because Japan could have taken a considerate amount of time to decide whether or not to end the war, this was an issue for the U.S. because they were eager to end the war as soon as possible. Another problem was that they were not certain that the bomb would actually perform as required, from this they were worried that it would cause Japan to fight back even more than before, because they would know about a potential catastrophic weapon that would harm Japan.

From these problems Truman decided it best to bomb a populated area of Japan, but more importantly a city that was the centre of military development. This was important because the United States wanted to destroy Japan’s ability to continue the war.

After the events of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima, President Truman refused to deploy anymore atomic bombs, and would only do so is absolutely necessary. He said in his response to a letter from a senator, “But I can’t bring myself to believe that because they are beasts, we should ourselves act in the same manner,” in reference to the Japanese.

To conclude , the atomic bomb was a disastrous invention and caused many people to die. After these events occurred, came the dawn for the atomic age, that such as the Cold War. The United States saw this as their only way out of the war between them and Japan, and decided to take action before things would take a turn for the worst.

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