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The Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Were They Necessary?

  • Date Submitted: 03/14/2010 07:19 PM
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The Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Were They Necessary?
Controversy. Controversy. Controversy. If anything came out of the decision to drop the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, it was controversy. The resolution, authorized by President Truman towards the end of World War II, appears to have been a desperate and necessary attempt to end the war. Though there are numerous debates, both political and moral, that argue otherwise.
After years of fighting everyone was looking for an end to the war. But did the atomic bombs take it too far? Were they necessary? Although President Truman says he “regarded the bomb as a military weapon and never doubted it should be used” (Truman), Chief of Staff, Admiral Leahy had a different point of view. “The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” (Leahy). Leahy wasn’t alone in his opinion. Many believed that in waiting the war would end soon anyway, and hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. Secretary of War Henry Stimson understood that war means death; no matter what choice Truman made, there would be casualties. Stimson also understood though, that it ended the awful sights the war had to offer. “The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the Japanese war. It stopped the fire raids, and the strangling blockade; it ended the ghastly specter of a clash of great land armies.”
Those that had seen enough of the war such as the G.I.s, were actually grateful for the atomic bombs. To them, the atomic bombs meant an end to the war, and an end to the war meant a chance to go home. Lester Bernstein explains, “For Americans in uniform and those who waited for them to come home, outrageous as this might appear from the moral heights of hindsight, it was a sunburst of deliverance.” Their return home signifies the destruction of the homes of others. After...

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