The Second World War represents the worst war that has ever been fought on the face on the earth. The war involved majority of the world’s nations and culminated into the death of over 50 million people. During the war, major world powers and resources were thrown to the war (Allen and Polmar 1995).
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Towards the end of the war, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. This paper seeks to describe the reasons why the US used the atomic bomb against Japan. There are two main reasons that prompted the United States to use the atomic bomb against Japan; the refusal to surrender by Japan and the need for the US to assert itself.
Japan’s refusal to surrender
Japan was persistently stubborn during the Second World War and this can be regarded as the main reason why the US used the atomic bomb against it. The government of Japan refused to surrender and pull its troops back even after its forces had been significantly weakened.
By August 1945 Japan was on its knees as most if its industrial plants, air bases and harbors were destroyed. The country was also experiencing a severe short supply of food and raw materials and yet it continued to cling on most of the contested Islands.
The US had successfully tested the atomic bomb (fat boy) in July 1945, and together with the other members of the allied forces, issued the Potsdam Declaration on 26th July that called on the Government of Japan to proclaim the unconditional surrender of all of its armed forces. “The alternative was a prompt and utter destruction” (Harrison 1987).
On July 30th Japan gave its response- a total rejection of the ultimatum and at about the same time, began negotiations with the Soviet Union in hope of better terms. As a result, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945 followed by further calls for Japan to accept the Potsdam Declaration or face further ruin (Heina and Selden 1997). The Government of Japan still hesitated and on August 9th the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. After further quibbling, Japan finally agreed to surrender on August 14.
The need for the US to assert it’s might
The use of the atomic bomb against Japan was widely discouraged by various advisers of President Truman due to the Bomb’s ability to cause mass destruction of civilian life. After Japan’s refusal to heed the calls stipulated in the Potsdam Declaration, a section of Truman’s advisers encouraged the demonstration of the power of the atomic bomb on a desert or barren Island to encourage Japan to surrender (Heina and Selden 1997).
Truman disagreed and insisted on the use of the Bomb against Japan. Many analysts have interpreted this as a move by the US to assert it and influence the course of war. This was particularly intended to display superiority against the backdrop of a growing disdain between the allied forces and the Soviet Union. This can be justified by the cold war that followed the Second World War.
This paper sought to describe the reasons why the United States used the atomic bomb against Japan. It has been established that the US used the atomic bomb to basically end Japan’s stubbornness and end the world, and to further assert its power against the backdrop of a looming confrontation with the Soviet Union.
Allen, Thomas, and Norman Polmar. Code-Name Downfall. New York. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Harrison, Scott. History in the Making: World conflicts in the 20th century. London: Macmillan Education, 1987.
Heina, Laura, and Mark Selden. Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age. New York: E. Sharpe, 1997.