Essays

The Decision To Drop The Atomic Bomb

.. if the war had lasted only three months longer, according to Franks work Downfall. The war could have come to an end without the Atomic Bomb already August 1945 or earlier. On the other side, the most important argument is that Japan was on the verge of surrender during August 1945. If the allied forces had let them keep the emperor they would have surrendered quickly.

To add to the argument for the Atomic bomb, it is necessary to investigate the opinions of allied military officers about the decision. Gar Alperovitz in his book The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, and the Architecture of an American Myth, concludes that the bomb was unnecessary. He believes that he has deconstructed an American myth. He has removed our comfortable illusions and forced us to look again into the frightening reality, however unappealing that time act may be. Truman knew via intelligence extracts that Japan was on the verge of surrender. The Suzuki cabinet simply awaited an American guarantee of Emperor Hirohito’s post-war status. The commanding general of the U.S.

Army Air Forces, Hap Arnold, stated in his 1949 memoir that it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse. Arnold’s deputy, Lt. General Ira Eaker, later stated that Arnold’s view was that it was unnecessary. He said that he knew the Japanese wanted peace. There were political implications in the decision and Arnold did not feel it was the military’s job to question it. Eaker added that Arnold had told him that while the Air Force under his command they would not oppose the bomb’s use: it is not necessary to use it in order to conquer the Japanese without the necessity of a land invasion (Alperovitz 335).

The Truman Administration also knew that if such a guarantee (Emperor Hirohito’s post-war status) proved insufficient, Soviet entry into the Pacific War would be the straw that broke the Japanese Imperium’s back: the bomb was not necessary. Based on his findings, Alperovitz has added his voice to those historians calling for a fundamental reassessment of the bombings. Since Japan’s eminent collapse made the bombs necessity fallacious, the author reduces the decision to a different dynamic: power (3). The bomb was almost certainly used due to the urgency officials felt in connection with diplomatic-political concerns. In the tense early-August atmosphere. .

. the decision not to pause, not to reflect [on alternatives to using the bomb] became natural. (4) Containing Soviet expansion became the fundamental frame of reference for the administration, dictating its stance towards the engagement and timing of the bomb, and precluding articulation of the essential question: should the bomb be used? (5) Brigadier General Carter W. Clarke, the army officer in charge of preparing the war summaries in 1945, stated in a 1959 interview that we brought [the Japanese] down to an abject surrender through the accelerated sinking of their merchant marine and hunger alone, and then when we didn’t need to do it, and we knew we didn’t need to do it, and they knew we knew we didn’t need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs. (359) The ugly story laid bare; Alperovitz counsels Americans that it is timed to face facts: We seem to have preferred the myth. . .

.Our reluctance to ask questions about the received wisdom has not dissipated over time (352). The two supreme military heroes of World War Two– Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur–also shared these judgements. The greatest American military leader of the twentieth century and a two-term President of the United States, Eisenhower, consistently condemned the Hiroshima decision, from 1963 until his death, stating that The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing (pp.352-358). The author’s prescription is quite clear: change your beliefs about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A conclusion about the use of the atomic bomb is not made overnight.

There are great scholars with different views on both sides. However, to me it is quite clear that the war would have come to an end even without the use of the atomic bomb. At the same time Frank, is convincing in his documentation about the Japanese militarys power and their willingness to fight to the end. The dropping of the bomb gave Emperor Hirohito enough arguments to surrender and prevent a military takeover. If the bombs had not been dropped it would probably have cost a great many more human lives. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand why a demonstration-drop was not tried to warn the Japanese and show them the power of the bomb.

A demonstration-drop could easily have been conducted over Tokyo Bay and produced enormous publicity and fear. An even larger number of the Japanese population would have been able to experience the power of the bomb, given the population size of Tokyo. This would at least have given the Japanese a chance to evaluate surrender, facing this terrible weapon of mass-destruction. A possibility why this never happened might be that the Americans wanted to prove the power of the bomb to the Soviet-Union, introducing the world to the cold war. However, to condemn Truman as a war criminal might be to go too far.

He had a myriad of concerns to at the end of the war. Truman should be given the benefit of the doubt that he was sincere when he wrote in his diary that this was the most humane and best solution to end the war. On the other hand, whether or not it was the right decision is a different question. Bibliography Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, and the Architecture of an American Myth. New York: Alfred A.

Knopf, 1995. Fasching, Darell J. The ethical challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. New York: State University of New York Press, 1993. Frank, Richard B.

Downfall. New York: Random House, 1999. Garrison, Jim. The Darkness of God. Theology after Hiroshima. Grand Rapids: William B.

Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. Watanabe, Miyoko. Peace Ribbon Hiroshima Witness of A-Bomb Survivors. Hiroshima: Daigaku Printing Co. 1997. Internet sources Project Whistlethorp.

The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: Truman and the Bomb, a Documentary History. November 2000. http://www.whistlestop.org/study collections/bomb/large/ferrell book.htm*. Trackstar. Truman’s Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. March 2000. *http://trackstar.hprtec.org/main/display. php3?option=text&track id=719*. Bibliography Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, and the Architecture of an American Myth. New York: Alfred A.

Knopf, 1995. Fasching, Darell J. The ethical challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. New York: State University of New York Press, 1993. Frank, Richard B.

Downfall. New York: Random House, 1999. Garrison, Jim. The Darkness of God. Theology after Hiroshima.

Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982. Watanabe, Miyoko. Peace Ribbon Hiroshima Witness of A-Bomb Survivors. Hiroshima: Daigaku Printing Co. 1997.

Internet sources Project Whistlethorp. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: Truman and the Bomb, a Documentary History. November 2000. http://www.whistlestop.org/study collections/bomb/large/ferrell book.htm>. Trackstar. Truman’s Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. March 2000. .