On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, they dropped another bomb on the city of Nagasaki. The bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people and led to Japan’s surrender, effectively ending World War II.
But were the dropping of the atomic bombs justified? That is a question that has been debated for decades.
Some people believe that the bombs were necessary in order to save lives. If the United States had invaded Japan, they argue, even more lives would have been lost. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also showed the world the destructive power of nuclear weapons, which may have deterred future wars.
Others believe that the bombs were not necessary, and that Japan would have surrendered anyway. They argue that the bombs were used as a way to show off the United States’ new weapon, and to send a message to the Soviet Union.
Japan had already been severely damaged by the battle of Okinawa at the end of the Second World War, but on August 6, 1945 an American B-29 bomber dropped a first hand developed atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a civilian and military inhabited city. 70,000 people were instantly killed. Thousands were injured or became sick as a result of the attack.
The United States had numerous motives to justify using the bomb, including espionage and international law violation. However, according to many scientists and historians today, ‘the bomb was “a weapon of mass destruction,” capable of wreaking indiscriminate devastation’ (Stern).
The devastation and damage caused by the atomic bomb was so severe that it has been said that it ‘ushered in a new age of horror in the world’.
On August 6, 1945 an American B-29 bomber dropped a first hand developed atomic bomb on the civilian and military inhabited city of Hiroshima. 70,000 people were killed instantly. Thousands were left heavily injured and sick. The United States had many different reasons to be justified to have dropped the bomb. Nevertheless, the bomb was ‘a weapon of mass description, a weapon of terror’. The devastation and damage caused by the atomic bomb was so severe that it has been said that it ‘ushered in a new age of horror in the world’.
The United States had many different reasons to be justified to have dropped the bomb. The first reason being that by doing so, they saved lives. If the atomic bomb were not dropped, then the United States planned on invading Japan. The invasion would have been called ‘Operation Downfall’.
This operation would have caused millions of casualties on both sides. It is estimated that ‘ American casualties would have been as high as a million’ and ‘Japanese casualties could exceed 20 million’. In addition, it is said that ‘the fighting would have been brutal: no quarter asked or given’. The atomic bomb saved not only American lives, but also Japanese lives.
Another reason the United States had for dropping the bomb was to send a message to the Soviet Union. At this time, the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union was not good. In fact, they were on the verge of becoming enemies. The United States wanted to show the Soviet Union that they meant business and that they were not to be messed with. The atomic bomb was a way of doing this.
The last reason the United States had for dropping the bomb was revenge. Many Americans were outraged when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. This attack killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178 more. The atomic bomb was seen as a way of getting revenge for this attack.
The devastation was so complete that farming estates had been entirely destroyed. As a result, trade and sickness suffered. The radiation from the crops was transferred to a large number of people who still survived. “People who were not harmed in the bombing,” he added, “dying strangely and horribly from an unknown something which can only be characterized as the atomic plague.”
In addition, the black rain which fell after the atomic bombs were dropped contained large doses of radiation. The water was used for drinking and cooking, as a result, many people died from radiation sickness. (Nagasaki Bombing)
A British writer informed about worry 30 days after the attack. Up to 70,000 individuals perished and another 70,000 were wounded. The tiny number of people who survived were permanently traumatized. ‘Some of them [the people] had their skin burnt off and was hanging from their hands and chin’ A five-year-old girl at the time had witnessed. ‘The flesh was burned away from some of them [the people], leaving it dangling from their hands and chin.’ At that period, she was barely five years old.’
‘I saw many people all covered with blood. Some had no arms and some had no legs. I also saw a man whose belly was split open and his intestines were hanging out’. Even those who survived the initial bombing were not safe, as within days many developed radiation sickness and died painfully. The atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki on 9 August. In total, over 210,000 people were killed.
There has been much debate surrounding the justification of the dropping of the atomic bombs. Many believe that the bombings were necessary in order to bring an end to World War II, while others argue that the bombings were nothing more than a senseless act of violence. Supporters of the bombings argue that the bombs saved lives in the long run, as they prevented the need for a ground invasion of Japan which would have resulted in even more casualties. Critics of the bombings argue that the bombs were morally wrong and that the civilian death toll was far too high to justify their use.
So, were the dropping of the atomic bombs justified? There is no clear answer, as there are valid arguments on both sides. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they believe that the bombings were justified.
For many families, the moment someone had left the house was the last time they would ever see one another again. In comparison, the Pearl Harbour bombing did not have as severe an impact on as many individuals since the Hiroshima attack. For years after the explosion, a whole city was affected and damaged, whereas only military targets were attacked in Pearl harbour.
The death toll between the two events was incomparable, with Hiroshima being a lot worse. In total there were around 2,000 deaths and 1,000 injuries from the pearl harbour bombing, whereas in Hiroshima there were an estimated 140,000-240,000 people killed. This is due to the fact that an entire city was bombed as opposed to a section of it.
The atomic bombs were not necessary to end World War II. The Japanese were already defeated and on their knees begging for mercy before the bombs were dropped on them. In fact, many historians believe that the dropping of the bombs was more about sending a message to the Soviets than anything else.