Home > Free Essays > History > United States > Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Cite this

Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Essay


Historically, the United States is a democratic state and it has strived to promote democracy by ending dictatorial leaderships, which abuse human rights and peace in different states across the world. The US and Japan had a tedious relationship before and during the Second World War.

Both nations believed to have more powers than the other did and as a result, each was trying to prove to the other the ability to reign over the world (Brooks & Stanley 2007).

Japan with the support of the Communist Hitler, who led Germany, had managed to take control of over hundreds of islands in the Indian Ocean, and by 1945, it was determined to take over the Pacific Islands as well.

On the other hand, the US government under the leadership of President Harry Truman was up against the Japanese behaviour of trying to rule over the Pacific Islands (Cook & Cook 1992).

The decision by the US government to drop the atomic bombs over Japan was facilitated by the desire to be the world’s superpower as the main reason and other small reasons attached to it (Waley 2003).

The US felt that dropping a powerful atomic bomb over Japan would force its emperor to surrender and furthermore create tension to Germany thus forcing it also to end the war (Toland 2003).

In addition, the US government also felt that atomic bomb would force the Soviet Union to end the Second World War, and assume a leading position over the world nations for its possession of the world’s deadliest weapons (Pellegrino 2010).

Hence, the objective was to become the superpower of the world by showing other nations of its power to destroy resisting nations, thus forcing them to abide by the will of the US.

The Motive behind the Dropping of the Bombs

The dropping of the atomic bombs by the US on Japan occurred at the height of ending the Second World War in 1945. The Nazi Germany was a leading war perpetrator in Europe and its signing of the instrument of surrender on 8 May 1945.

However, the war continued along the Pacific Ocean due to the resistance of the Japanese Emperor to sign the instrument of surrender. The United Kingdom, the United States, and the Republic of China made a Potsdam Declaration in July 1945 in which they required Japan to surrender in an effort to end the war (Gordin 2007).

Unfortunately, the Japanese emperor was reluctant to surrender due to influence of Germany and desire to prove the powerfulness of Japan over the world. The United States did not invade any nation in either of the first or Second World War.

Instead, it was defending the innocent nations against the attacks of greedy nations like Japan and the Nazi Germany that invaded some countries and oceanic islands for economic and political reasons (Ward 2007).

However, critics argue that the United States was taking advantage of the situations to gain advantage over the attackers in effort to create good relationships for economic reasons. Judging from the moral authority perspective, the United States was on the right side of action where greed did not supersede charity (Dower 2010).

In addition, the United States viewed the events of war as both political and economical challenges and hence worked hard in efforts aimed at stopping the war. Its efforts had adverse effects as communist soviet nations were against its ideologies (Christman 1998).

Worst still, Japan viewed herself as a strong nation and capable of raising attacks over the United States, which tried to stop it from invading and possessing the oceanic islands that were resourceful and good for the interested economies.

Among the various reasons that justify the need for the United States to drop the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities in Japan, was the efforts to protect its citizens from Japanese attacks (Cook & Cook 1992). Japan had proved itself as a major threat to the security of the United States and its citizens.

The emperor of Japan had raided the Pearl Harbour where hundreds of military men and civilians lost their lives. In addition, despite the refusal to surrender, the emperor had planned for a raid on 1 November 1945 in the US where it was anticipated that many Americans would lose their lives (McNelly 2000).

Another major reason for the justification of the dropping of the bomb was its ability to cause destruction on the enemies’ land. Japanese troops were tough and hence posed a major threat to the American soldiers. The Japanese emperor had ordered the Japanese army men to offer military training to the civilians.

The move was just but an effort to strengthen their ability to fight the American troops whenever they found their way to the Japanese land (Sherwin 2003).

Unfortunately, American soldiers were well aware of the negative attitudes of Japanese citizens towards the American affairs that their emperor had implanted into their minds.

Hence, Americans considered Japanese as their enemies with the ability to destroy the peace of their country, and any efforts to destroy them before they eliminated Americans was totally justified.

After the bombing, the majority of Americans wished that more atomic bombs could be dropped into the remaining Japanese cities in order to eliminate them entirely (Toland 2003).

Looking into the war situations, the dropping of the atomic bombs into Japan by the United States was justified. In the event of war and crashes, an enemy fights back harder in an effort to eliminate an adversary for elimination is the ultimate goal and only the surrendering can deter it from realisation (Waley 2003).

Therefore, both Japan and the United States were against each other and the war situation allowed each to try to push the other into a state of surrendering or elimination to the extreme. Fortunately, the United States had then made a breakthrough in the making of an atomic bomb.

For four years, American soldiers were out fighting against the resistant enemies, which included the Nazi Germany and Japan, and they were weary of fighting for a long time against tough enemies.

That was a difficult situation for the Americans as they nearly lost hope of winning the battle and felt that losing the fight against the enemies would not only make them slaves to other countries, but also face massive destruction.

That great tension created unfavourable atmosphere in the United States and hence Americans were in full support of the development of a weapon that would destroy the land of an enemy.

Learning about the breakthrough of the Manhattan project, President Harry Truman felt that he had the ability to end the Second World War by choosing to use the powerful weapon against a defiant enemy.

The initial objective of developing a weapon of mass destruction was to fight the Nazi German as it posed a major security threat to the world fro it was perceived to be the main perpetrator of the Second World War (Rotter 2008).

Fortunately, the Nazi Germany had surrendered slightly before the breakthrough of the Manhattan Project and Japan was left on its own resisting the signing of the surrender declaration document. Therefore, President Harry Truman had no choice, but to end the Second World War by destroying Japan.

By then, the American forces had made some efforts to push Japanese emperor into surrendering, but their efforts did not materialise. They had had carried out numerous fire bombings on various Japanese cities while occupying the Okinawa and Iwo Jiwa islands (Bodden 2007).

The Japanese Emperor had more than “two million strong army men deployed on the main land in an effort to guard against the American invasions” (McNelly 2000, p.96).

The majority of Japanese cities had been destroyed expect Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which were left deliberately for they were key points of Japanese military operations and transport colliders.

President Harry Truman was facing a very difficult psychological situation soon after the breakthrough of the Manhattan project and before the dropping of the bombs on Japan. He was fully aware that those weapons could flatten the Japanese cities and consequently kill millions of innocent Japanese.

Hence, there had to be moral justifications for the dropping of the bombs before the mission was carried out. He opted to give the last chance to the Japanese Emperor by demanding for unconditional surrendering failure to which he promised dangerous consequences on the refusal to honour the demands.

He failed to mention the possibility of him using a weapon with the ability to cause mass destruction, and hence the demand was rejected (Dower 2010).

To Truman, there was a justified reason for giving a go-ahead signal to his military men, which he did and the bombings were secretly planned to take place on 6 August 1945.

However, critiques argue that there was a high possibility of surrender by the Japanese leaders if President Harry Truman had clearly told them of what he had planned to do to them after failing to surrender (Pellegrino 2010).

On 6 August 1945, just as it was the plan, an atomic bomb, loaded on a military plane called Enola Gay, was dropped on Hiroshima killing more than 70,000 Japanese instantly and more than 100,000 killed by the aftermath consequences of nuclear radicals.

The Japanese leaders led by their emperor were resistant of surrendering, which forced the Soviet Union to declare war against Japan, two days after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Still after the war declaration by the Soviet Union, Japanese leaders seemed more resistant and as a result, the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki and killed more than 80,000 Japanese instantly (Gordin 2007).

That attack seemed to push the Japanese leaders to the extreme limits and on 14 August, they surrendered, thus marking the end of the Second World War (Ward 2007).

By the time of surrendering, the Japanese military had made over 3500 attacks on the Americans. The Japanese cronies seemed not ready for neither of the peaceful negotiations to end the war nor surrender.

They believed that surrendering would have made them to appear inferior in the eyes of their enemies and thus they were not ready to give such a chance to an enemy. Hence, the Japanese were ready to prolong the war, hence leading to more deaths of innocent civilians.

Therefore, according to President Harry Truman, the droppings of the bombs saved more Japanese lives than those who would die due to the prolonged war.

However, according to Truman, the resistance of the Japanese leaders could not have ended due to series of serious attacks and hence atomic bombing was the best solution to end the unyielding resistance (Allen 1969).

The Second World War was the deadliest and the most destructive war in the history. Efforts were made to end this war to no avail. Many countries lost the lives of their citizens in the hands of their enemies and hence they were desperate of surrendering to their enemies in order to gain peace and save more lives from perishing.

The United States is one the countries that lost the greatest number of military men and civilians to the hands of the enemies during the war. Hence, the citizens were bitter for the suffering and ready to support any effort that could result to the end of the war.

Therefore, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima was a great victory to the American citizens, which explains the justification of the dropping of the atomic bombs by the United States on the Japanese cities (Frank 1999).

However, judging by the moral authority, the dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities was not justified as weapons of mass destruction not only could have destroyed the country, but also the livelihood of its future generations.

In addition, President Harry Truman wanted to see how his weapons could destroy a country and hence he opted not to describe the nature of the attacks that he had planned to use against the Japanese in his surrender command to the Japanese Emperor.

However, this scenario was a war situation and the goal was to incapacitate an enemy rather than give a chance for future attacks, as it could have been the case of a peaceful surrender.

Reference List

Allen, L 1969, “The Nuclear Raids Article”, in Hart Basil (ed), History of the Second World War, Purnell, London, pp. 2566-76.

Bodden, V 2007, The Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, The Creative Company, New Jersey.

Brooks, L & Stanley, E 2007, Creating military power: the sources of military effectiveness, Stanford University Press, Stanford.

Cook, H & Cook, T 1992, Japan at War: An Oral History, The New Press, New York.

Christman, A 1998, Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis.

Dower, J 2010, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbour / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq, W. W. Norton, London.

Frank, R 1999, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, Random House, New York.

Gordin, M 2007, Five days in August: how World War II became a nuclear war, Princeton University Press, New York.

McNelly, T 2000, “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb”, in Jacob Neufeld (ed), Pearl Harbour to V-J Day: World War II in the Pacific, Diane Publishing Co. Washington D.C, pp. 86-99.

Pellegrino, C 2010, The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back, Henry Holt and Co., Washington D.C.

Rotter, A 2008, Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb, Oxford University Press, London.

Sherwin, M 2003, A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies, Stanford University Press, Stanford.

Toland, J 2003, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936–1945, Modern Library, London

Waley, P 2003, Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective: Place, Power, and Memory in Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo, Psychology Press, Oxford.

Ward, W 2007, ‘The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in Light of Hiroshima’, International Security, vol.31 no.4, pp. 162-179.

This essay on Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2019, July 3). Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/did-the-usa-need-to-drop-the-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/

Work Cited

"Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" IvyPanda, 3 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/did-the-usa-need-to-drop-the-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/.

1. IvyPanda. "Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" July 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/did-the-usa-need-to-drop-the-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/.


IvyPanda. "Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" July 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/did-the-usa-need-to-drop-the-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" July 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/did-the-usa-need-to-drop-the-bombs-on-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Did the USA need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki'. 3 July.

More related papers