A Plan of the investigation
What reasons did the US. have for using the atomic bombs towards Japan in 1945?
This investigation aims to assess the different factors leading up to the American president Harry S. Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb as a mean to force Japan to surrender in 1945. In order to make an analysis about the reasons behind the decision, I have studied a variety of sources that deal mainly with the American foreign policy during 1945, from the Yalta conference in February to the official press release on the droppings of the bombs in August. I have found three main factors contributing to the decision: the want for a quick ending of the war, the atomic bombs effect on American relations to the USSR and finally the contemporary American attitude towards the Japanese. I will then analyse two important sources; Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam by Gar Alperovitz and Prompt & utter destruction: Truman and the use of atomic bombs against Japan by J. Samuel Walker. I will then analyse the three main points, in order to be able to finally present a conclusion giving a nuanced answer to the research question.
Summary of evidence
The most traditional explanation for why the US. used the atomic bombs is that they wanted to end the war with Japan quickly. The Japanese leaders refused to accept the American peace terms calling for unconditional surrender as it would disgrace their country’s honour; at the very least they wanted to be allowed to retain their emperor. During the summer of 1945, some American leaders, especially General Grew, insisted that a paragraph should be added to the peace treaty, stating that Japan would be allowed to keep their emperor, thus attempting to settle peace without the need for further military actions. However, in the final version of the Potsdam declaration, this paragraph was changed to a very vague nature. Since Japan would not surrender even though they had virtually...