The First Dropped Atomic Bomb

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An atomic bomb was dropped on Japan’s large urban city on August 6, 1945, called Hiroshima where they also stored military equipment, three days later on August 9 a second bomb was dropped on the port city of Nagasaki, these bombs were mainly dropped to force Japan to surrender and end the war. However around 165 000 civilians, mostly women and children died in that year, not including the people who died due to the long term effects of the bomb, there have been many controversies as to whether dropping the atomic bombs was justifiable or not and there are many different opinions on the subject, I do not agree with the dropping of the bombs it was inhumane since it caused mass destruction and long-term effect that could have been avoided if they had not used atomic weapons.

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There have been many debates and different opinions over the atomic bombs dropped on Japan and what their reasoning was for dropping the bombs. Leading up to the bombings Japan had been at war with America for four years and the president at the time, President Truman wanted the war to end. He told Japan to surrender or face “prompt and utter destruction”, Japan refused to surrender but what they were not aware of is that America had developed atomic bombs that could cause mass destruction called the manhattan project, it was a research and development program undertaken during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. There were said to have been many reasons why they decided to drop the atomic bombs the main one being to force Japan to surrender, American comrades believed that it would save the lives of American and Japanese soldiers and civilians, as well as save money and that if they had not dropped the bomb it would have caused millions of Japanese death. As soon as Japan refused to surrender on August 6 America dropped the first atomic bomb called “little boy” on Hiroshima which caused around 80 000 deaths on the spot and 70 000 were injured, three days later another bomb called ‘fat man’ was dropped on Nagasaki which caused around 75 000 to be killed instantly.

Following the bombings, there were many surprising reactions from key people at the time. Herbert Hoover, a former president of the United States (1929-1933) said ‘The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul.’ which was contrary to Minister Hisatsune Sakomizu, Japanese chief cabinet secretary during World War Two who thought ‘The atomic bomb was a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war.’ He believed that dropping the bombs was necessary to prevent more suffering. Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the aircraft that dropped ‘little boy’ the first bomb on Hiroshima said that he had no regrets and ‘We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible.’ Whereas the co-pilot of the aircraft wrote as the bomb exploded “My god, what have we done?” To this day it is still the most debated topic however over the years more people began to realize that it was unjustifiable.

Although it could be seen at the time that the bombs were justifiable, it is now clear that they were immoral. There are many reasons to show that the bombings were unnecessary the first one being that these two cities were not military targets, therefore it killed too many innocent civilians including children it is estimated that around 50 000 children were killed in the two bombings which are a huge amount that cannot be justified, it is estimated that the total number of death including death due to radiation was around 360 000 which is unjustifiable compared to the 111 000 death of US combats. The bombings were unnecessary since Japan was nearly defeated and was said that they were seeking surrender since the United States successfully pushed back Japan with their military strategy called ‘island hopping’. To add to that, the two bombs were dropped close together which didn’t give the Japanese enough time to learn about the bombs since it was the first time they had seen an atomic bomb so they might not have believed that it could cause that much destruction. And lastly, the United States could have gone with a different approach that would have likely made Japan surrender and end the war, they could have targeted specific military targets and done smaller raids there or they could have shown the power of the nuclear weapons they had without killing this many innocent civilians by dropping it in an uninhabited area in Japan or next to a major city, this could have led Japan to surrender once they saw the damage it can do. These reasons prove that the bombings were unjustifiable and unnecessary to end the war.

The main reason that makes the dropping of the nuclear weapons unjustifiable is the aftermath and long-term effects of the bombs, it caused more damage than what the war would have caused. After the bombs had been dropped, the survivors started developing radiation poison symptoms, these were hair loss, bleeding gums, and purple spots, they faced starvation, radiation sickness, and crippling mutilations it is estimated that around 120 000 deaths occurred due to the aftermath and radiation of the bombs. Those who survived after the bombs and radiation were still at risk, around five to six years after the bombs the rates of leukemia increased among the survivors, and ten years after the bombs the survivors began suffering from breast, lung, and other cancers more than the normal rate. Pregnant women who survived were most likely to experience a miscarriage or death as soon as the infants were born, on top of that birth defects rates jumped significantly at the time and increased the risk of cancer. One survivor explained the long-term effect the bombs caused “I lost hearing in my left ear, probably due to the air blast, mysterious scabs began to form all over my body…More than a decade after the bombing, my mother began to notice glass shards growing out of her skin”. These bombs caused too much destruction, the atomic bombs are the deadliest weapons created still to this day, the first bomb on Hiroshima destroyed around 70% of the buildings, the second bomb destroyed around 13 kilometers and about 36% of the buildings were destroyed. It took about a decade for Hiroshima and Nagasaki to fully recover and rebuild. Other than health effects survivors also suffered psychological effects due to what they had seen and the loss of their families, one survivor talks about losing six of her family members due to the blast “I take solace in the fact that all six members of my family have Ikotsu(remains) and rest together peacefully”. The effects of the bombs are what make them unjustifiable since they lasted for decades whereas the effects on America had they not dropped the bombs would have not lasted for that long.

In conclusion, it is evident that the use of atomic bombs caused more problems than it solved, although many still believe that it was the only way to end the war, it is clear that there could have been multiple different ways to end the war that did not require killing thousands of innocent lives. These bombs were immoral and unethical 

29 April 2022

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