Public

Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The situation was similar to the initial years of World War II when Germany was annexing one country after another without any equitable resistance.
Had not America dropped the two atomic bombs, in all likelihood, the war could have continued for weeks or months, adding to the miseries worldwide. Except for Russia, European powers had almost come to a standstill. The involvement of Russia in Japan had America not dropped the bombs, could easily have made the conflict bloodier and more widespread. It is debatable whether so many lives could have been lost had Russia invaded Japan. However, it is certain the conflict could have dragged on longer in such an eventuality.
While other powers of the Axis viz, Germany and Italy had been vanquished, the battle with Japan was far from over. Japan was holding to ransom the rest of the world through its brazen show of power. Nothing seemed to hold the Japanese march. In spite of suffering reverses, Japan held on and was in no hurry to surrender. The Japanese juggernaut was so strong that it held most of Far East Asia. However, at the closing stage, Japan was losing its grip although it was not ready to admit defeat.
Japan was given enough time and incentive to surrender. The Potsdam Proclamation issued on July 26, 1945, was very clear about the ramifications in the event of no surrender. The ultimatum declared, "We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction" (Bill Gordon, 2000). But Japan did not surrender. The Japanese, or those at the helm in Japan, were in no mood to listen. They may have been materially demolished, but mentally they had enough capacity to fight on. It took two atomic bombs and a week later, Japan surrendered and that too on the prompting of the emperor.
I am not condoning the horrors of the atomic bombs. America had other alternatives besides the atomic bombs. But it is debatable if these alternatives could have worked and produced the same results that the atomic bombs did.
The alternatives were these: "(1) use in manner most effective from a military point of view to bring about prompt Japanese surrender while minimizing the loss of American lives, (2) give military demonstration to Japan with opportunity for surrender before full use of weapon, (3) give experimental demonstration in this country with opportunity for surrender before full use of weapon, (4) do not use militarily but make public the experimental results, or (5) maintain as secret as possible and refrain from using the bombs in the war. President Truman chose alternative 1, even though only 15 percent of the scientists supported it" (Bill Gordon, 2000).
President Truman’s choice of alternative 1 was at best akin to mercy killing. However beastly this alternative might have appeared, it is difficult to fathom the efficacy of any other alternative. Japan needed a live demonstration. Even after the atomic bombs were dropped Japan dithered on the decision to surrender. It was only at the intervention of the Japanese

Back To Top