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Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombing.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan, killing nearly 70,000 people instantly and more than 100,000 died from burns and radiation after a few weeks. Three days later, on August 9, 1945 the US again dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing about 80,000 people (Wilson 23). America’s use of nuclear weapon during WWII sparked a debate on whether it was necessary. Some historians state that the U.S was justified to use atomic bombs because of the need to end the war quickly and prevent the death of more U.S soldiers (Anzures-Cabrera and Hutton 821). Also, the U.S wanted to demonstrated its nuclear weapon to the Soviet Union. The critics of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings argue on the grounds of necessity and morality. Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were immoral and unnecessary.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were immoral because the U.S caused deaths of innocent civilians. The people killed from nuclear bombings had no conflict with the U.S. The conflict was politically motivated and the civilians had nothing to do with what the leaders discussed at the table. Killing innocent civilians to force Japan to surrender was immoral and should be condemned at all costs. More than 300, 000 civilians died and millions left homeless and devasted by the consequences of the nuclear bombs (Wolk 9). The effects of radiation from nuclear bombs affected Japan for decades, when babies were born without limbs or blind. If causing long-term pain to the civilians justified the decision to drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then President Harry Truman was off the hook. President Truman could have weighed the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki against the moral grounds, and make a decision that could have saved hundreds of lives and millions of people from trauma.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were unnecessary. It was unnecessary to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapon. Those who justify the nuclear bombings state that the U.S was losing more soldiers in Japan and President Truman wanted a speedy end of the war. Also, Japan used guerilla warfare, which drained the U.S in trying to figure out Japan’s plan. Additionally, the U.S wanted to demonstrated to the Soviet Union the nature of the nuclear weapons developed (Wolk 6). However, all these reasons were unnecessary because bombings led to dire consequences to Japan. The Conventions with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land prohibited the following in warfare: “To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army; and “To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering.” (Friedman, para 3). There were other alternatives which the U.S could have used to force Japan to surrender. However, the U.S decided to show its might by bombing innocent civilians (Anzures-Cabrera and Hutton 822). It was completely unnecessary and unjustified to bomb innocent people. The U.S could have faced the Japan military head-on, or devise other strategies to neutralize the Japanese guerilla warfare. The decision to use nuclear weapon shows that Japan had overwhelmed the U.S in the art of war, and the U.S could not come up with any other strategy other than forcing an unconditional surrender.
While the U.S wanted to make a retaliation attack on Japan for bombing the Pearl Harbor, bring the WWII to a speedy end and demonstrated to the Soviet Union about the mighty nuclear weapon, it was immoral and unnecessary to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Firstly, the U.S had soldiers in Japan and the offensive attack on Japan was enough for the revenge. Secondly, the U.S blockaded Japanese routes to cut of food supply, which aimed at starving the city to death (Wilson 20). The U.S allies; Germany and Italy assisted the U.S in blockading Japanese routes, thus sending a subtle message to Japan about the need to surrender. Since the cities of Japan could have starved to death, political leaders could have sought out the means to end the war peacefully. Lastly, the U.S forced Japan to surrender unconditionally in the Potsdam Declaration (Burtness and Ober 91). While Japan could have surrendered, but it was cruel and dictatorial to force a country such as Japan to surrender unconditionally. Just like the U.S, Japan had grievances which the U.S needed to listen to, and make a compromise. However, the U.S was not willing to make a compromise, which is a poor way of negotiating. Additionally, the U.S used nuclear weapon on Japan to demonstrate to the Soviet Union that America was powerful, which is wrong to test nuclear weapons on innocent people.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was immoral and unnecessary because the nuclear bomb killed innocent civilians and left millions of people traumatized. The U.S forced Japan to surrender unconditionally, but Japan could not heed to the command because of ego. Although President Truman wanted a speedy end of the war, it was immoral and unnecessary to kill innocent people. The U.S could have continued to force Japan to surrender by blocking all Japanese routs. Also, Germany and Italy had agreed to assist in blocking Japanese routes. Since the cities of Japan could have starved to death, the people could have protested and force Japanese government to surrender.
Anzures-Cabrera, J., and J. L. Hutton. “Competing Risks, Left Truncation and Late Entry Effect in A-Bomb Survivors Cohort.” Journal of Applied Statistics, vol. 37, no. 5, May 2010, pp. 821–831. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02664760902914417.
Burtness, Paul S., And Warren U. Ober. “Provocation and Angst: FDR, Japan, Pearl Harbor, and the Entry into War in the Pacific.” Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 51, Nov. 2017, pp. 91–114.
Friedman, Leon (Ed.), The Law of War: A Documentary History (New York: Random House, 1972).
Roberts, Adam and Richard Guelff (Eds.), Documents on the Laws of War, Third Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Wilson, Ward. “Military Wisdom and Nuclear Weapons.” JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, no. 68, 2013 1st Quarter 2013, pp. 18–24.
Wolk, Herman S. “Sixty-Five Years On: Plans and Strategy to Defeat Japan in World War Ii.” Air Power History, vol. 57, no. 3, Fall 2010, pp. 4–13.