Was it Necessary?
August 6th, 1945, 70,000 lives were ended in a matter of
seconds. The United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the
city of Hiroshima. Today many argue over whether or not the US
should have taken such a drastic measure. Was it entirely
necessary that we drop such a devastating weapon? Yes, it was.
First, we must look at what was going on at the time the
decision was made. The US had been fighting a massive war since
1941. Morale was most likely low, and resources were probably at
the same level as morale. However, each side continued to fight,
and both were determined to win. Obviously, the best thing that
could have possibly have happened would have been to bring the war
to a quick end, with a minimum of casualties.
What would have happened had the A-bomb not been used?
The most obvious thing is that the war would have continued. US
forces; therefore, would have had to invade the home island of
Japan. Imagine the number of casualties that could have occurred
if this would have happened! Also, our forces would not only have
to fight off the Japanese military, but they would have to defend
themselves against the civilians of Japan as well. It was also a
fact that the Japanese government had been equipping the
commoners with any kind of weapon they could get their hands on.
It is true that this could mean a Japanese citizen could have
anything from a gun to a spear, but many unsuspecting soldiers
might have fallen victim to a surprise spear attack! The number of
deaths that would have occurred would have been much greater,
and an invasion would have taken a much longer period of time. The
Japanese would have continued to fight the US with all of what
they had; spears, guns, knives, whatever they could get their
hands on, just as long as they continued to fight the enemy.
As mentioned before, it is a fact that some civilians had
been ready to fight our military with spears! What made it
possible that the Japanese would resort to using spears? Why
wouldn't they use guns or other weapons? Well, the truth was,
the government just didn't have the resources to give out a gun
to just any citizen. US naval blockades are one of the major
reasons that Japan was so low on resources, and a main point
opponents of the decision to drop the bomb constantly bring up.
Japan obviously was very low on resources. Japanese civilians
were ready to die with spears in their hands, surely the military
would do the same. Besides, the Japanese military did still have
some resources to go on. So again I must bring out the fact that
Japan could have continued to fight, and they would have. And I'm
sure anyone can realize what would happen if the war continued;
more deaths. Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to President
Roosevelt and President Truman, wrote, "By the beginning of
September 1944, Japan was almost completely defeated
through a practically complete sea and air blockade." If that was
true, how could they have continued to fight and rack up enemy
kills? If the Chief of Staff to the President figured they would
soon surrender around September 1944; why were they still
fighting almost a year later? And how can we be so sure that any
other estimates on when the war would end would be correct?
Basically, we can't. For all anyone knows, Japan would have kept
fighting. It was the atomic bomb that forced Japan to surrender
and in turn saved thousands if not millions of lives.
How can anyone be so sure that Japan would continue
to fight? No one can say exactly what would have happened,
because let's face it, no one really knows. It's possible Japan was
just about to surrender, but most evidence would not agree with
that statement. I'm sure most have heard of a group of men
called the Kamikaze. Kamikaze were "suicide" pilots. They would
load an airplane up with explosives and try to nose-dive it into an
enemy target. Think about what must be on this pilot's mind.
Imagine the undying love he must have for his country. He would
fight until the end, for his emperor and his country. The scary
thing about this is the majority of the Japanese military thought
this way. The fact that the enemy is ready to die so long as you
die with him is not something a soldier wants to think about
before going into battle. Once more I must bring into the picture
the fact that a longer war means more deaths, and it appears
that a longer war is exactly what Japan had in mind.
Most opponents of the bomb say the it was immoral to
drop the bomb on such targets as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but
you cannot deny the fact the major manufacturing of wartime
products was being conducted here. Now, I'm going to be honest, I
don't believe that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the best places to
bomb, due to the high civilian numbers; however, it is still my belief
that the Atomic Bomb was necessary to end the war. Also,
leaflets and warnings had been issued to the people of those
cities warning them of an attack. Some say that the United
States should have warned what kind of attack it would have
been. This however seems ridiculous to me. It shouldn't matter
what kind of warning is given, a threat under such conditions
should be taken seriously, and the citizens should have evacuated.
One might also point out the fact, however brutal this may seem,
that ever since Sherman's March to the Sea of the American Civil
War, which was a turning point in modern warfare, civilian
population centers are also considered fair game to the military.
The moral issue of dropping an atomic bomb is very
controversial. Especially since radiation is a major side effect of
such a weapon. On the other hand though, fire-bombings of other
Japanese cities had left other civilians equally scarred. If one
wanted to argue the issue of radiation as a side effect of atomic
bombing, they would have to find a way to argue the side effects
of bombing altogether. Is it immoral to use a bomb? No; it's not
very nice, but it's not immoral. These are the kinds of things that
happen in war, however unfortunate they are.
Despite other arguments, the Atomic Bomb was a
necessity. Without it, the number of men that would have died on
both sides far surpasses that of the number that were killed in
the droppings of both Atomic Bombs. Let's face it, the goal of
waging war is victory with minimum losses on one's own side, and if
possible a minimum amount of losses on the enemy's side. The
Atomic Bomb cut losses to a minimum and drew war to an end
quickly. It was a military necessity.
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