The initial stages of World War II was a difficult transition for the US. From an isolationist period, FDR was reluctantly moving the US to confront the “non-democratic” threats of Germany and Japan. Not long, however, did the Pearl Harbor attack instigate the immediate transition of the US from an onlooker to an active member of the conflict. By 1945, after the grand defeat of Germany, America obtained naval and air dominance using the strategic naval scheme of “Island Hopping” over the Japanese in the Pacific. In hopes of immediate victory over Japan, Harry Truman expressed affinity to the Manhattan Project, especially after the successful detonation of Trinity and the creation of 2 other nuclear bombs. With such tools in play, Truman was ready to win Japan. With only 3 days of buffer, the bombs were released on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th & 9th of 1945, completely obliterating the cities and altering the perception of future wars. While the death of many civilians is morally inexcusable, America’s use of nuclear warheads on both cities was justified as evidenced by the destruction of military installations, the elimination of another Japanese invasion and the reduction in future casualties.
Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki consisted of highly advanced commercial and military zones, significant for the justification of the atomic bombs. At times of war, industrial and commercial output of resources are maximized, as workers are forced to produce materials that assist the military in foreign or domestic lands. In the case of Japan, the civilians, located near key military installations, were taught to fight alongside the soldiers till death in case of an invasion (Bushido Code). As a result, these civilians were constantly involved in the war effort. In addition, normal airforce bombings usually occur in sites of heavily loaded military units, regardless of the civilian popuation that may be abound. With the 2nd Army Headquarters, 10,000 military personals, 100 War Tanks and the 5th Division, Hiroshima was nontheless militarily occupied rather than noncombatant, thus justifying the bombings. On the other hand, Nagasaki held key naval defence companies including Mitsubishi Steel and Orikami Ordnance Works, each assisting in the production of torpedoes, ammunition & shipbuilding. It was also home to the Naval Training Center, which helped train civilians into soldiers. It’s naval importance was a stronghold for the empire and an important target for the American explosives. With vast amounts of military materials in both cities, American’s decision to drop the bomb was held justified, regardless of the minor civilian population, eventually negating it as a war crime.
The atomic bombings were morally justified in not only eliminating military targets but also in preventing future Japanese invasions. Of the many administrators in Truman’s cabinet and scientists in the Manhattan Project, a minor portion requested a demonstration of the nuclear warhead on flat land to the Japanese as a means to showcase the power of the atomic weapons. However, President Truman and the majority of others feared the explosive being a “dud” or being shot out of the sky by the Japanese airforce. If by chance, America fails in the demonstration and is portrayed weak, Japanese resistance would have increased, furthering the threat. According to some documents written by Truman, the President was aware of another potential Japanese invasion on American soil that was expected to be on a much larger scale than Pearl Harbor and even more expensive for the US. With a potential security threat to the Americans (possibly million casualties), Harry S. Truman and many others were not willing to risk the nation for a demonstration that had a high possibility of failing. As a result, it was justifiable for Truman to order the dropping of Hiroshima, negating possible resistance.
More than just destroying military garrisons and a possible failure of a demonstration, the US bombings were justified, as it would cause immediate Japanese surrender, ultimately decreasing the deaths of both nations in the near future. With the imperial war code of “Bushido” integrated as part of the honor system in Japan, civilians and soldiers were trained to continue the war struggle even after the bombing of Hiroshima. The dropping of the 2nd atomic device was merely a safety measure taken to prohibit further casualties from a probable future attack, as the Japanese War Council swayed the public from peace by passing a martial law (Mobilization Law) when it failed to reach unity in surrender. Considering the honor system and the potential 10 million total American, Japanese and Soviet casualties that would have risen from Operation Downfall and the Soviet Invasion, the bombing of Nagasaki were justified in order to pursue an immediate victory and potentially save the lives of millions in the long run.
Eventually, the demolition of all military bases, security of the American people and prevention of greater deaths motivated the US to proceed with the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, presenting it as the only justifiable option for Truman. Driven by the urge to end this brutality immediately, the US was given no option, but to immediately retaliate over the cities. However, such nuclear power and actions fostered a new controversy: The Cold War. With the USSR left out from all the US nuclear research discussions, it was only time till the Soviets created their own nuclear warheads and retaliated back stronger than the US. With the end of one threat came another; a threat motivated by one and only factor: fear.
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