The Atomic Bomb


There has been a long standing debate on why the atomic bomb was used to
defeat Japan. The threat of Russian advancement in Europe and in Asia was
enough to worry the top officials in the United States and British governments.
Wherever the Russians moved through they took for themselves. The imminent
invasion of mainland Japan and the allied casualties that came with it were also
a factor in the decision to drop the bomb, as said in document A. The dropping
of the bomb was not entirely used to stop the Russian advancement.

If the allied forces had invaded mainland Japan, many lives on both
sides would have been lost. Most probably more than were lost in the bombing of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together. The tactics that the allies had used up to
this point had cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. This was
when the Japanese only had maybe two or three thousand men on an island; whereas
on the mainland millions of people who would fight until their death to protect
their country. Can you imagine if the Americans invaded mainland Japan where
they had not only soldiers to fight against but the citizens of Japan loyal to
Hirohito? Massive destruction, immense loss of life, and prolonging of the war
until late 1946, as stated in document A, would result from invading on foot
instead of using the bomb.

Revenge also played a role in the decision to bomb Japan. The Japanese
were not following the Geneva convention in regards to treatment of prisoners of
war. Which says that the prisoners are not to be put through torture of the
psychological or physical nature. The Japanese did these things anyway, they
would decapitate American prisoners, or they would shove bamboo shoots under
their fingernails. The American government also wanted revenge for the surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor. No warning was given by the Japanese to the Americans
and no war was declared until after the incident.

The Russian territorial expansion definitely played a factor in the
dropping the bomb on Japan. The Soviet Union had already taken Poland and many
other countries during the war. The Soviets were helping the Chinese with the
war against Japan and later would get railroads in China and Manchuria when
Japan completely surrendered, as stated in document D. As said in document E,
the Americans did not want the Russians to get involved in the war against Japan.
The most obvious reasons would be to prevent the Russians from expanding any
more and to keep them out of Japan where they would hamper the peace process and
gain even more territory.

As president Harry Truman says in his radio address, document H, all of
the countries involved were trying to create the atomic bomb to use for their
efforts. Fortunately the Americans won the "race of discovery". If the Germans
had won that race they probably would have used it continuously in Russia and
Britain until Hitler got what he wanted which was world domination and the
extinguishing of the Jewish and others and the ascent of his "superior race" of
Germans. The dropping of the atomic weapon on Japan was not entirely to halt
Soviet expansion although it did play a major role.