Jul 26, 2017

what were the main reasons US President Harry Truman decided to use atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945?

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Opinion, agree or disagree with the decision


**1st Paper Assignment: 3-4 pages.  In your opinion, what were the main reasons US President Harry Truman decided to use atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945?  Do you agree or disagree with his decision?  Required Sources: “Thank God for the Atomic Bomb” by Paul Fussell; “Hiroshima: Needless Slaughter, Useful Terror” by William Blum; Extra! Update, “Media to Smithsonian: History is Bunk”; Government documents (Stimson’s diary entry and President Truman’s meeting with advisers); Basic Information on the Bomb; “Second Guessing Hiroshima”; “Hiroshima: Was it Necessary?” by Doug Long; A Petition to the President of the United States; “The Decision That Launched the Enola Gay” by John Correll; “Diary Shows Tojo Resisted Surrender Till End” by Mari Yamaguchi; and “The Day Hiroshima turned into Hell” by Cajsa Wikstrom; view the video clip “Truman and the Bomb” (19:45).  Refer to the Paper Guidelines for further information regarding this assignment.

Extra information:

Spring 2014


Supplement to the Notes for the First Paper Assignment

1st Paper AssignmentTruman & the Bomb

In your essays, pay attention to the issues of Japan’s possible surrender vs. the necessity of an invasion; the different casualty estimates in the case of an invasion; and the status of the emperor vs. the question of unconditional surrender.


US scientists successfully tested the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, while President Truman was meeting with Stalin and Churchill at Potsdam. The allies issued the Potsdam Declaration calling upon Japan to surrender or suffer “the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland” and concluding with a call for the Japanese government “to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces” (T. E. Vadney, The World Since 1945, p. 44). This reiterated the call for Japan’s unconditional surrender first issued in 1943. By the time of the Potsdam Declaration, Truman had already ordered the US Air Force to use the bomb as soon as possible after August 3. The first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima August 6; the Soviets declared war on Japan August 8; and a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki August 9. The Japanese notified the US of their intention to surrender on August 10, initial papers were signed August 15, and the formal surrender ceremony took place September 2. Even after both bombs were dropped, “unconditional surrender” was not obtained because the Japanese Emperor was allowed to maintain his throne, the main issue of contention for the Japanese.


Howard Zinn criticizes Truman’s decision to drop the bombs, arguing that the main reason he did so was to keep the Russians out of Japan. At the Yalta Conference the Soviet Union agreed to invade Japan no later than three months after the end of the war in Europe. The war in Europe ended on May 9, 1945, and the US dropped the first bomb on August 6, 1945, according to Zinn, because they wanted to end it before the Soviets entered. Otherwise, the US might have to share the postwar occupation of Japan with the Soviet Union, as in Germany and Korea. Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.


NOTE: remember to watch the video clip “Truman and the Bomb” (19:45)


NATO (1949): In June 1948 the Soviets blockaded Berlin off from the West, not allowing goods in through the Eastern zone. In response the US and its allies organized a highly successful airlift. Afterward the Western powers formed NATO as a military alliance to counter the threat of Soviet expansion, especially the large Soviet troop advantage in Europe, as well as to quell threats of domestic (pro-Communist) disturbances in Western European countries. Originally consisting of the US, Canada, Britain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the Netherlands, NATO expanded in 1952 to include Greece and Turkey, and in 1955 West Germany was let in. Members agreed to come to each other’s aid should any of them be attacked, although NATO itself could not commit any nation to go to war and left the final decision up to individual member countries (T. E. Vadney, The World Since 1945, p. 84). NATO’s formation solidified the Cold War configuration of two opposed “blocs” or “spheres,” and the Soviet Union eventually responded by forming the Warsaw Pact in 1955 (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the USSR). The Warsaw Pact disbanded in 1989, but NATO remains in tact and in 1999 expanded again to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. In 2004 NATO added Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia. The possibility of further expansion remains, specifically into the former Soviet Republics of Ukraine and/or Georgia.

Opinion, agree or disagree with the decisionStudent:Professor:Course title:Date:Opinion, agree or disagree with the decisionThe main reasons that the United States President Harry Truman decided to use atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945 include the following: First reason is that the bombs were dropped in order to end the war in Japan quickly and thereby save millions of America casualties. Secondly, Truman decided to use the bombs since he wanted to bring the war to a conclusion before the Soviets could enter the war in the Pacific and claim the lands promised them at Yalta. It is noteworthy that at the Yalta Conference, the Soviets concurred to attack Japan no later than 3 months following the conclusion of the war in Europe. In Europe, the war was concluded on 9th May, 1945 and the United States used the first bomb against Japan on 6th August, 1945 since Truman wanted to conclude the war before the U.S.S.R entered. If not, the United States might have had to share the postwar occupation of Japan with U.S.S.R like it was the case in Korea and Germany (Doug 7).The third reason is that the atomic bombs were used on Japan in order to impress U.S.S.R and convince it to relax its grip on Eastern Europe. Stalin, the then Soviet leader, saw the use of the bombs on Japan as directed more at Russia than Japan. Stalin was intimidated with the killing of the Japanese by the bombs. The fourth reason is that Japan refused to surrender unconditionally. In late July of 1945, the Allies made a declaration at Potsdam that Japan must surrender without conditions. Nonetheless, after the leaders of Japan completely rejected the Potsdam Declaration, the United States President Truman approved the use of atomic bombs anytime after 3rd August, 1945. The main reason as to w...

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