Atomic Bomb – World War II

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
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World War II is known for acts of heroism on both sides, as well as controversial decisions. One major event that has long been debated was the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The reason Japan was threatened by the U. S. with the Atomic bomb was to force them to surrender. The war would have taken much longer had an invasion been attempted. An invasion would have cost more lives for both sides than the bombings. The Allies were justified in dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The first reason the bombing was justified was that it was the most viable way to force the Japanese to surrender.

The Allied offer of the Potsdam Conference on July 26, 1945 stating that the war would end only when the Japanese surrendered and gave up Emperor Hirohito. This offer was completely unacceptable to the Japanese, who, at the time, regarded their emperor as a god and declined the Postdam demands without thinking twice. President Harry S Truman was in a situation where he could not change the terms of the offer, because the American citizens wanted Hirohito imprisoned, if not executed after the bombing of pearl harbor.

Changing the terms of the offer would also be regarded as a sign of weakness on the Americans' part, which was unacceptable during a time of war. After the crushing defeats of the U. S. over the Japanese at Iwo Jima and Okinawa were also very decisive battles that the U. S. won where the Japanese did not give up; showing there loyalty to their emperor and the fact that they wouldn’t give up. Meanwhile, as the U. S. was picking off all of the strategic islands around Japan, the Japanese were still building there defense up.

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This too proved they would not give up. Another reason that the Americans were justified in dropping the bomb was that it ended the war much more quickly than would an invasion. Many Americans had already been killed in the battles against Japan, and Truman’s main goals were to save American lives and get his troops home as soon as possible. The second of the two atomic bombs was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 and the Japanese surrendered 5 days later on August 14, 1945.

The alternative to the use of the atomic bomb, an invasion over land, had been scheduled for November 1 had the bombing not succeeded or had it been cancelled. This invasion could have dragged on for months, if not years. Japan also had no defense for the destruction of the cities. If they had no defense they would have to surrender ending the war early. The third, final, and most important reason the Americans were justified in dropping atomic bombs on Japan was that the bombings claimed far less lives than would have been taken during an invasion.

Between the two cities, there was estimated to have been approximately 115,000 deaths as a result of the bombings. President Truman estimated that as many as one million American soldiers would have died in an invasion of Japan. Also the Soviet Union was about to invade Japan. This would cause the Soviets to have a lot of influence in the United States’ decisions in the far east. President Truman intended the atomic bomb to be a way to end the war at a minimum cost of American lives.

The use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a justified strategy on the Allies' part. A Japanese surrender was impossible due to the political landscape before the bombings. The war would have dragged on much longer had the bomb not been dropped and an invasion carried out instead. The bombings claimed fewer lives than an invasion would have. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought a decisive end to the Second World War, as well as beginning the nuclear age; changing the world forever.

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Atomic Bomb – World War II. (2017, May 12). Retrieved from

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