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A Theme Paper: Use of Atomic Bombs Justified? (1 Viewer)

Sir Jorah

I wrote this paper for my American History class. The question we had to answer was, Was the use of the atomic bombs on Japan justified or not?

How Two Bombs Changed the World

I think that the use of the two atomic bombs on Japan was worth the short and long term effects. The two bombs kept one war from escalating, and stopped another from even beginning. The massive explosions were the ultimate deterrent.

I chose to use the word deterrent, because that is exactly what the nuclear weapons were used as during the Cold War, and accurately describes their role in history. Dictionary.com defines deterrent as, “military strength or an ability to defend a country or retaliate strongly enough to deter an enemy from attacking.”

The most immediate effect of the two atomic bombs was to put a quick end to the Second World War. Over a hundred thousand people died as a direct result of the two bombs, most of them innocent civilians. However, despite these deaths, I believe the attacks were not only justified, but necessary. If those bombs had not been dropped, the invasion of Japan would have taken years, and cost America at least a million casualties. Because Japanese soldiers would fight for every square inch of land, one could expect at least two million Japanese casualties, perhaps as many as five million.

There were three long-term effects the bombs had as well. The most obvious of these is the major health problems the radiation caused, and is still causing. Although this too is tragic, it is again offset by the avoidance of the destruction of mankind. The use of those bombs was witnessed not only by Japan, but also by every other country around the world (if not literally, then at least via news reports). This, by definition, included the Soviet Union, who, for about thirty-five years, became the only nation in the world that had the capability of causing harm to the United States. The Soviets had not yet constructed their own atomic bombs, and would not for years to come. My point is, had we not used those bombs, the communists may very well have had no qualms about using their own the first chance they got. They would have believed us too weak of character to use them in retaliation. However, we did use them, and Stalin, seeing our willingness to wield the power at our command, understood that we would indeed retaliate with devastating force if he were ever to use his own atomic bombs, and I believe it is for this reason that the Cold War did not escalate into nuclear apocalyptic doom.

The use of atomic bombs as deterrents has its uses to this very day. America remains to this day the only superpower in the world. The other nations of the world may not like us, but they listen to us anyway. They quiver in their collective boots when we shake our nuclear fist. They quiver not only because we have the most powerful military in the world, but also because we have atomic weapons-and are willing to use them.

The quote I chose is one from President Harry Truman’s nation-wide address on August 6th 1945. “We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely ever productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war.” This statement does not only apply to Japan, nor do I believe was it addressed only to the Japanese government. It was a declaration to the world that America had just become the dominant power on the planet, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

There are many people around the world, particularly the generations after the war, that believe that the use of the bombs was too harsh, and that killing innocent lives was barbaric and needless. To them I say this: war is always barbaric. Nothing about it is nice or pretty, and sacrifices must sometimes be made for the greater good. The loss of those lives was fractional compared to the death and destruction an invasion would have caused. Besides the military casualties, civilians would not go untouched by such a campaign. It is certainly possible that just as many, if not more, civilians would have been killed during the course of an invasion. Besides that, there is the effect the bombs had on other nations worldwide and had those bombs not been dropped, other nations would not have realized the wrath of the American people until it was too late for mankind.

[FONT=&quot]The use of those two atomic bombs killed many thousands of people, and continues to have devastating effects. However, had they not been used the future of the world would have been very grim indeed. The death of few saved the lives of many.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome!!