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Dropping the Bomb: Pros and Cons, Essay Example

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Essay

Abstract

Whether or not to drop the bomb seemed to be a question during the war. The reasons to experiment with it and possibly save lives were given as possible reasons to test it  The magnitude of its scope was fairly well known and the devastation it would cause was good enough reason not to drop it on Hiroshima. This paper will investigate the pros and cons and take a position that it was not a good idea to drop the bomb.

Reasons Not to Drop the Bomb

Pro

The arguments for dropping the bomb were that it would stop the war faster and fewer Americanlives would be lost and Japan would have to surrender faster. Since the Soviets had planned secretly to join the war within three months after Germany had surrendered and America wanted to end the whole thing before the Soviets entered into the picture. The United States also wanted to test the effectiveness of the bomb. The only best and only good reason to drop the bomb in this group of arguments was to stop the war faster and save as many American lives as possible. Testing the bomb was not a bad idea in that it is good to know what the weapons one has to work with are capable of. The extent of the damage that the bomb created was not fully known, however; it was known enough to be reason to seriously consider not testing its capabilities on living humans. Hiroshima was chosen because the city had a large quantity of troops, and military installations as well as factories. Since no bombing had occurred there it would be easier to figure out the full after effects of the bomb on the city.

Against

Arguments against dropping the bomb would include that Admiral William D. Leahy, the President’s Chief of Staff was aware of the capacity of the bomb. He felt the Japanese were basically defeated and that such an extreme measure that would take so many human lives would not be necessary. Japan was determined, however; they had been pushed back enough that they would have most likely agreed to terms shortly if they were handled with the proper diplomacy and there was no reason to decimate the city of Hiroshima and kill so many. The testing of the bomb had given those who had the ability to use it an idea of how potentially destructive it would be. The death toll would be horrendous and this was known even though the extent of the devastation that still is problematic was not known.

Truths of the Premises

(http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/bomb/large/documents/pdfs/65.pdf)

In the original documents the government states that the US Strategic Bombing Survey was completing a study of the effects of strategic bombing on Germany and the later on Japan. News that the bomb was going to be dropped gave urgency to the project and a study of air war against Japan with the new weapon would likely change recommendations and the effects of the bomb were of intense interest to the military. Therefore, testing what the bomb could do was definitely an issue the government wanted to study according to the class text the Strategic Bombing Survey: the Effects of Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The document describes the collapse of buildings and “unprecedented causality rates” Seventy to eighty thousand people were killed, missing or presumed dead on impact. An equal amount was injured.  The infrastructure was devastated and medical teams were sent in. The military report describes the city as “effectively wiped out” Railways were gone; electricity was knocked out beyond repair. Perhaps the most compelling part of the reports were the medical reports.

The military report states that the wounds could not be repaired. Nothing would stop them from getting worse. Salves and ointments and any therapeutic means available were tried but nothing stopped the wounds from getting bigger. There was no room for all the wounded so they lay them on the floor to die. People were so dazed and confused in the maelstrom that they could not think to stop and get help. They wandered aimlessly A third to half the wounded brought to one station died immediately. The military report states that in the future they will try to minimize attacks such as this as the results were so much worse than imagines.

Works Cited

Burr, W. The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II A Collection of Primary Sources National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162Posted – August 5, 2005

S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombingsof Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June 19, 1946. President’s Secretary’sFile, Truman Papers.

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/bomb/large/documents/pdfs/65.pdf

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