Was the US Justified In Dropping Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
The decision by the United States to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II remains one of the most controversial topics in Japanese and American history. People both inside and outside of America continue to ask, were the bombings justified? Questions arose from the moment that the Americans decided to drop the bombs; questions such as was the desire to save lives the only factor when deciding to use the bomb? Did they have to drop two bombs so close together? Were there any other options? This essay will attempt to answer some of those questions as well as the main question; was the Atomic Bombing of Japan Justified?
To start, let’s review the main argument for and against using nuclear weapons in Japan in 1945. The main argument in support of the bombings is that they saved not only American lives but Japanese lives as well. The main argument against their use is the fact that the bombs were horrific weapons that largely targeted civilians. These two arguments are not necessarily mutually exclusive or contradictory. For example, most people who think dropping the bombs was the right thing to do recognize the fact that the bombs were terrible weapons that did end up killing many civilians. However, they claim that the human cost of the bombings was the price that had to be paid to avoid the potentially far higher cost in lives that would have occurred had the US decided to invade the Japanese home islands. Was the desire to save lives the only factor when deciding to use the bomb? Did they have to drop two bombs so close together? Were there any other options?
The decision by the US to drop atomic bombs on Japan seems to have been based on three factors, only one of which is justifiable in historical opinion. The first factor was the desire to save American lives, the second was revenge for the humiliation...