Atomic Bombs Were Not Necessary


Atomic Bombs Were Not Necessary Essay, Research Paper

From: To: QUICKPAPERS@TOTALLY.NET Subject: Submit a paperDate: Monday, November 03, 1997 7:46 PMTitle: studentCategory: HistoryDescription:Body of paper: Was The Atomic Bomb Necessary?Thesis: The Atomic Bombs were not necessary. I. Morality A. Hiroshima B. NagasakiII. Decisions A. Where to drop it B. Did it need to be used?III. Making of the bombIV. Public Interviews A. Leo Szilard B. Hiroshi SawachikaV. Should it be used again? Over the years there have been many opinions as well as facts circulated about theatomic bomb droppings of World War II. Misconceptions and discrepancies over themorality and even the legality of actually using the Atomic Bomb have yet to be resolved.The Atomic Bomb was not necessary. There have been arguments and debates for over 50 years now about whether theAtomic Bomb was necessary. Most of the debates focus on weather it was necessary.That skirts the question of morality. President Harry Truman even questioned himself onhis own decision, saying, “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of theworld” (Bernstien 4). Many of the scientists that made the bomb and others that made thedecision to use the bombs have realized the same thing, and ask themselves, was itnecessary?”Fifty-years ago in a three day period in August 1945, the U.S. dropped twoatomic bombs on Japan, killing more than 115,000 people and possibly as many as250,000, and injuring at least another 100,000″ (Bernstien 1). It was approximately 8:15in the morning of August 6, 1945, when Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima. The tenfoot, 8,900 pound bomb was dropped from the B-29 bomber, Enola Gay. Little Boy wasthe more destructive of the two bombs, wiping out five square miles of Hiroshima, 60% ofthe city. “The first reports on August 6, 1945, accordingly described Hiroshima as aJapanese army base” (Glines 2). Quite the contrary, of an estimated 80,000 deaths only6,769 of them were military personnel. That’s only 9% of the deaths. “Many people died,the victims were primarily the old, the young, and women; and all the belligerents formerlytook the position that the killing of civilians violated both the laws of war and commonprecepts of humanity” (Powers 2). In other words, the killing of over 73,000 can be callednothing but murder. After the first bombing, reports said that it destroyed a military baseof Hiroshima, which most government officials knew wasn’t true. It was only three days later at 11:02 AM on August 9, 1945 when the secondAtomic Bomb was dropped. Fat Man was the name given to it, being heavier and morecomplex than the first. Nagasaki was the chosen target for Fat Man to be dropped, still nota big military threat. Due to the geography of the area, Fat Man did less damage, but itstill killed at least 40,000 people and injured 60,000 more. The final estimates were73,884 people killed and 44,909 people were injured. Most of the damage at Nagasakiwas the housing. Over 18,000 homes were completely burned, destroyed, or badlydamaged. “About one-third of Nagasaki city was destroyed, 150,000 people were killedor injured, and it was said at the time that the area would be devoid of vegetation for 75years” (Long 1). Many people think that President Truman made the final decision of where thebombs were to be dropped. Truman, instead of picking a target himself, he left it up tothe Secretary of War, Henry Stimson. President Truman wrote in his diary: “I have toldMr. Stimson to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target andnot women and children…” (Bernstien 3). Instead, Stimson chose to drop the bomb onthe Japanese city of Hiroshima, saying it was a military base. There were many U.S. citizens and even government officials and agencies thatknew the war was coming to an end, even without the bombs. The citizens showed theirfeelings by holding protests and sending letters to government officials. As forgovernment officials, they made statements such as “by the summer of 1945 Japan hadalready lost the war” (Powers 2). The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey released aSummary Report saying ” Japan would have surrendered even if the A-bombs hadn’t beendropped, even if Russia hadn’t entered the war, and even if no invasion had been plannedor contemplated” (Glines 2). For even Truman wasn’t sure of the decision he had made,saying “wielding a weapon of such vast power; knowing that Japan had already beenbrought to the brink of surrender” (Ahba 2). The mayor of Nagasaki knew, along with therest of the Japanese, that the Atomic Bomb was wrong. The mayor expressed his feelingswith a press release saying ” How can the killing of 100,000 civilians in a day for politicalpurpose ever be considered anything but a crime” (Bernstien 4)? President Truman inmany reports expressed that he disliked the bomb. In a letter to Senator Richard Russelthe president said in response to the Senators request for more atomic bombing, “I knowthat japan is a terribly cruel and uncivilized nation in warfare but I can’t bring myself tobelieve that because they are beasts, we ourselves should act in the same manner” (Long3). Still many people believe that even the making of the atomic bomb was wrong.Los Alamos, New Mexico, people who live there are the keepers of an eerie legacy, froma single bomb built in Los Alamos, that changed the world. The first atomic bombexplosion was on July 16, 1945 in a remote desert of New Mexico. It was given the nameTrinity. One observer said it had “the radiance of a thousand suns” (Masko 1). A man by

the name of Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos project.Oppenheimer knew the terrible weapon he had constructed, saying “Now I am becomedeath, the destroyer of worlds” (Masko 1). The Los Alamos project was also know as theManhattan Project. “The Manhattan Project, costing nearly two billion dollars, had beenkept secret from most cabinet members and nearly all of congress” (Masko 1). The LosAlamos Project tested a bomb to destroy the Japanese, but during testing the radiationkilled several people making the bomb. If they weren’t advanced enough to build it, howcan they defend themselves against it? Being shown by the large number of deaths, thatbeing well over 200,000 people. Some people try and say that the bombs took the warrior spirit from Japan. Whilein reality, the U.S. government knew that Tokyo was eagerly pressing the Russians forhelp in obtaining negotiated peace. People often wonder why Truman was never informedof this peace Tokyo was looking for. It turns out that the Japanese cabinet wanted thepeace negotiation, fearing total destruction of the Japanese homeland, Truman also wentuntold of this Japanese fear. There are still many historians who say the emperor wouldhave submitted even if the atomic bomb would have merely been demonstrated in TokyoBay, or even never used. Since the first Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, there have been many interviews byreporters for magazines, of the witnesses, scientists, and government officials. Those ofthe scientists often show the beliefs of why it was wrong. They express their regrets forproducing such an evil weapon. These interviews also stress what was wrong with thebombings, from the killing of the civilians to the Government decisions. One interviewwas with Leo Szilard, a scientist, who at the time was the head scientist for the ManhattanProject. In this interview, Szilard stressed his opinions on the bombs. He was askedabout his attitude toward the bomb droppings in 1945, Szilard responded with , “Iopposed it with all my power, but I’m afraid not as effectively as I should have wished.”(Szilard 1). He was then approached with the question of if the other scientists felt thesame as himself. Szilard stressed their feelings, answering with, “Very many otherscientists felt this way” (Szilard 1). One of the last questions to Szilard was if Truman andthose directly below him gave a full conscientious study to the alternatives, Szilardanswered with a prominent, “I don’t think they did. They thought only in terms of ourhaving to win the war by military means” (Szilard 3). This interview stressed Szilard’sfeelings of the bombs being wrong as well as other scientists. Scientists, as well as citizens, often wonder why the Government didn’t look at thealternatives. Why did they still decide to use the Atomic Bomb? They knew what wouldhappen, shown in the testing area of New Mexico. The Government knew how deadlythis “secret weapon” was, with the deaths from testing in the Manhattan Project. Whywouldn’t they listen to the scientists involved in the making, telling the Government that itwas possibly, too deadly? Perhaps the Government thought, as Szilard said, only endingthe war in military means. These are some of the things people may never know, that theGovernment is trying to hide from us. Of the thousands of deaths from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were also manysurvivors. Perhaps saved by God to tell others of the horrible happenings of war. Wheninterviewers realized the long term effects of the bombs, after they realized many survivorsweren’t surviving very long, they all rushed to get the interviews. These interviews of theJapanese victims showed the people of the United States, how terrible this technologicalterror we had constructed really was. One testimony of the survivors stated “The fierceblast wind heat rays reaching several thousand degrees, and deadly radiation generated bythe explosion crushed, burned, and killed everything in sight and reduced the entire area toa barren field of rubble” (Ohba 3). Other interviews told of seeing the city after thebombing, seeing that shadows were burned on the side of buildings and the ground. Someof the survivors told of “another sun being produced,” describing the explosion. Onsurvivor, named Hiroshi Sawachika, told of the tremendous wind and heat. He alsodescribed the great mushroom cloud that covered the sky. Giving the illusion of aneclipse. Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Governments have come togetherto agree on many things. The most important probably is the agreement not to use nuclearweapons in war. This decision was made after realizing its terrible destructive powers,and not having any kind of defense to use against it. In other words, it would be cheatingin war. The preceding was written to show why and how the atomic bombs were wrong.Showing how they were most likely, unnecessary but still used. Also to provide thecontext for a constructive discussion of what the world can learn from these events andwhy such weapons of total destruction should never be used again.

Bernstien, Barton J. “The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered.” Foreign Affairs. Jan. Feb. 1995: 135-152. Glines, C.V. “The Bomb that Ended W.W.II.” Aviation History. September 1995: 42-49. “Leo Szilard Interview: President Truman Didn’t Understand.” On-line Available danneg/decision/usnews.html. Long, Doug. “Hiroshima: Was it Necessary?” On-line Available douglong/hiroshima.htm 2/4/97. Masko, David. “The Bomb is Born.” On-line Available Ohba, Mitura. “A-Bomb WWW Museum.” On-line Available This paper was written by WIcket and they can be reached at

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