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The Controversial Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

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At 8:15 AM on August 6th, 1945 the first-ever nuclear weapon used on a human population was released above Hiroshima, Japan. There was no scale to describe the energy and destruction of the blast, the explosion was unprecedented. Three days later a second bomb exploded over the city of Nagasaki, Japan (Fenton). Almost a month later, the Japanese surrendered. The war on the Pacific front was over. Nearly a month before the bombings, US President Harry S, Truman was notified of the first successful nuclear detonation in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The Second Great War had raged for nearly five years before the United States decided to use a weapon that had the potential for destruction of all life on earth. Many people have different viewpoints regarding the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some argue that the bomb should not have been used, while others say it had to be done. Though there is still dissension regarding the use of the atom bomb on Japanese soil during World War II, it was necessary to bring an end to a gruesome World War.

A study conducted by UCLA made a conservative estimate that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took 225,000 lives total almost instantly, most of which were innocent civilians (Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll). This is why the bombing of Hiroshima faces many ethical concerns. It indeed did end the war on the Pacific front, but over a hundred thousand lives were taken. Some people died as an instant effect of the bomb, others died slowly due to the radiation of the bomb. If the war would have raged on, the number of fatalities would have been far more. More soldiers would have been killed and ultimately there would have been more deaths. The bomb did have a large number of fatalities, but the number could have been much higher. This number is only a fraction of the 6 million Jews killed in concentration camps that were supported by Japanese soldiers. Major actions had to be taken in order to decrease the death toll and end the war. Before the bombings, the United States dropped leaflets to 33 cities across Japan, warning them that their city may be bombed in the near future. Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended up being the 2 cities chosen to be bombed. Although the cities were warned, almost everyone did not take the warnings seriously. These warnings were not fair due to the fact that the number of potential cities to be bombed was too broad. The warnings should not be used to justify the bombings, but more citizens could have evacuated if they would have taken the minor warning they received seriously, especially in cities such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were nearly obvious targets.

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On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. An attack on American soil. This ultimately caused the United States to enter WWII. Later in the war, the United States decided to drop the bombs because they thought it would bring the war to a speedy end. Many people wonder if the use of the atomic bomb was necessary. The bomb saved lives that would have later been lost in warfare. Some people still argue that the atomic bombs were not the reason that Japan surrendered. Japan was willing to fight down to their last soldier regardless of the consequence. Some soldiers of the Japanese army were known as “Kamikaze” or suicide bombers. They would willingly fly their airplanes into US structures and aircraft carriers. It was considered an honor to be a Kamikaze in Japan because it meant that they showed great pride in their country. Kamikaze missions caused major losses to US aircraft carriers and convinced the United States of Japan’s overwhelming desire to avoid defeat (Douglas). After the war, the United States made it a priority to rebuild the destroyed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The blast delivered from the bombs was powerful enough to break windows 15 kilometers from the center. 4 kilometers from the center buildings were charred, 3 kilometers showed fire and blast damage, anything with 2 kilometers of the center of the blast was nothing but ash. The bombings killed 34 percent of people, including 800,000 civilians and a total of 3.1 million people. Since the bombing, US aid has fully rebuilt both cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Roberson). The United States and Japanese governments are on good terms. The US did not drop the atomic bomb without consequences. After the war, the US entered a power struggle with Russia. This was a dangerous situation due to the fact that both of these countries were recognized as the world-leading superpowers, they had very strong economies and even stronger military’s. This power struggle is known as the Cold War because no military hostilities occurred. The atomic bomb triggered the “Arms Race” with Russia over who could build the most lethal nuclear weapons. Americans were frightened of Russia over this time period. The US of the atomic bomb also led to the Cuban missile crisis, a situation that occurred whenever Russia had long-ranged nuclear missiles pointed at the United States from Cuba.

Although the war ended, the US still faced trouble due to the bomb. Although the Cold War could be considered a bad result of the bomb, wise negotiations and meetings took place between the United States and Soviet Russia there was not one bullet fired during the war. Both countries realized the ruin that would occur if a nuclear war broke out (Bahmueller). One positive of the Cold War is that it pressured the United States in the space race and ultimately put a man on the moon. Russia launched the world’s first satellite “Sputnik” on October 4th, 1957. This was an unpleasant and scary surprise to Americans. Sputnik was followed by the United States’ own satellite with “Explorer 1”. In April of 1961, Russia’s Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth. After that, the United States John Glenn orbited the earth in February 1962. The space race ended on July 20, 1969, when US Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon (Space Race). The United States would likely have not been the first to put a man on the moon without pressure from the Russians and the Cold War. A lesson can definitely be learned from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Everyone can agree that there does not need to be another event like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuclear weapons should be taken very seriously. This being said, countries manufacturing or attempting to make nuclear weapons must be monitored closely. There is a strong privilege that comes with the ability to access nuclear weapons. One nuclear weapon in the hands of the wrong person can cause mass destruction. Sadly, history has a reputation for repeating itself, and this event does not need to occur again. Nuclear weapons have come much farther and more advanced since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These weapons are now even more dangerous to the existence of mankind on earth. Nuclear wars should be avoided at all costs. Nuclear weapons should be considered a worst-case scenario weapon to every country on earth. As lethal as the weapons are, the United States was left with no other choice than to use the bomb and end the war. They also showed that if such tragedy were to happen, it is possible to repair the bonds of the countries and that cities can be rebuilt.

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The Controversial Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from
“The Controversial Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki.” Edubirdie, 26 Feb. 2022,
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