Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Was the 2nd atomic bomb in Japan necessary?

After the first atomic bomb, the USA dropped millions of leaflets over Japan to convince the population to revolt and the emperor to surrender. Why did USA only wait THREE days to see the effect of the first atomic bomb and the leaflets?

18 Answers

  • ryan s
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    no the second bomb wasn't needed at all and maybe not even the first and here's why

    Japan was ready to call it quits anyway. More than 60 of its cities had been destroyed by conventional bombing, the home islands were being blockaded by the American Navy, and the Soviet Union entered the war by attacking Japanese troops in Manchuria.

    American refusal to modify its "unconditional surrender" demand to allow the Japanese to keep their emperor needlessly prolonged Japan's resistance

    A demonstration explosion over Tokyo harbor would have convinced Japan's leaders to quit without killing many people

    Even if Hiroshima was necessary, the U.S. did not give enough time for word to filter out of its devastation before bombing Nagasaki

    The two cities were of limited military value. Civilians outnumbered troops in Hiroshima five or six to one.

    Conventional firebombing would have caused as much significant damage without making the U.S. the first nation to use nuclear weapon

  • 1 decade ago

    ooohhh controversial...

    I believe wholeheartedly that Hiroshima was necessary and Nagasiaki was NOT necessary.

    So why Hiroshima was necessary:

    General MacArthur told Truman (and Roosevelt before him) that an attack on the Japanese Home Islands could result in a million Allied casualties. The Japanese were hardened in last ditch resistance, even the horrific fire-bombing of Tokyo didn't end the war (in one night 100,000 civilians died) and planning a scorched-earth policy with every able-bodied person defending their country

    The people of America were fed up with the war in August 1945.

    Stalin had agreed at the Tehran conference to take part in an Allied attack on Japan in additon to the Bagration assault on Germany in June 1944.

    MacArthur and Truman felt that unless the war could be ended quickly there was no way to stop the Soviet Union attacking (and then there might have been a partitioned Japan just like Germany)

    So, as they'd spent so much money, as they forught for so long, it was completely inevitable that Hiroshima would happen unless the Japanese surrendered first.

    Now Nagasaki:

    I think they should have kept up the leaflet campaign for a full week and waited for the news to come out of Hiroshima...

    So I am unsure if it was really necessary, but as Truman said aty the time: 'It was a bigger piece of artillary, so we used it'

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good question. You've only got one answer that touched on the most important part of the issue - that being that the United States had two bomb designs. I absolutely agree that one bomb probably would have done the trick if the USA had waited for a few more days and let news of the new weapon spread across Japan.

    The two designs were different in how the nuclear reaction (fission) was created. One bomb had a "gun" assembly where conventional explosives were "shot" into Uranium 235 (the good stuff!) in order to cause fission. The second type of assembly was the implosion assembly where high explosive lenses concentrated energy on a plutonium core, causing it to compress and create fission.

    Both of these bomb types were tested on Japan by the United States, and that is most likely the reason why they dropped two bombs instead of one.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    Consider this, what if the Germans had developed the bomb first and dropped one on New York City and one on Washington DC. And if they only had two nukes, the US and her allies still would've won the war. Do you think for a minute that we would've NOT tried the Germans for war crimes at Nuremburg for dropping the nukes on civilians and hanged the German decision makers...of course we would've.

    So what does that say about our dropping the bombs? Some scientists working on the Manhatten Project argued for a "demonstration" of the A-bomb. They were overrulled on the argument that a "demonstration" of the A-bomb was impossible because we had only two bombs. Had we staged a "demonstration" both bombs might have been duds and then we would have lost face.

    This argument is clearly invalid. It is quite true that at the time of Hiroshima we had only two bombs, but it would not have been necessary to wait for very long before we would have had several more.

    I don't think Japan would have surrendered unconditionally without the use of force. But there was no need to demand the unconditional surrender of Japan. If we had offered Japan the kind of peace treaty which we actually gave her, we could have had a negotiated peace.

    I don't believe this staging a demonstration was the real issue, and in a sense it is just as immoral to force a sudden ending of a war by threatening violence as by using violence. My point is that violence would not have been necessary if we had been willing to negotiate. After all, Japan was suing for peace.

    Governments are guided by considerations of expediency rather than by moral considerations. And this, I think, is a universal law of how governments act.

    In 1939 President Roosevelt warned the belligerents against using bombs against the inhabited cities, and this I thought was perfectly fitting and natural. Then, during the war, without any explanation, we began to use incendiary bombs against the cities of Japan & Germany.

    The only conclusion we can draw is that governments acting in a crisis are guided by questions of expediency, and moral considerations are given very little weight, and that America is no different from any other nation in this respect.

    To wage a 'moral' war, a country is most likely to be defeated, that to me is the lesson of Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

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  • Sax M
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If you're asking if it was necessary to drop the bomb to stop the war, the answer is no, and the 1st one wasn't necessary either. Japanese diplomats were already in talks with the US about unconditional surrender BEFORE the 1st bomb was dropped. In other words, Japan was ready to surrender before Hiroshima.

    The majority of the people of Japan would have never surrendered. They still believed they were winning the war because of military sponsored propaganda. After the unconditional surrender proclaimed by the emperor, some of them committed suicide on the steps of the emperor's palace. The leaflets would have swayed some, but ultimately done nothing to convince enough Japanese people to revolt.

    This is speculation, but I believe the US dropped the bomb on Japan to show the Russians to stay the hell out of the way of the US. It was a show of power to keep the Russians from taking over all of Asia after World War II ended. I'm not saying this is wrong. Who knows what kind of a country Japan would have been today if America had not stepped in and taken over after WWII. It could have been another North Korea for all I know. But the pain and suffering caused by the bomb probably outweigh any benefits we see today.

    The bomb is not necessary in any situation. Frankly, it sickens me to think that there are enough bombs in the world to destroy itself many times over.

  • 1 decade ago


    I remember reading something MacArthur wrote on this point in the years following the war. The thing to remember about the 2ed bomb is that Americans (Allies) were still being killed and wounded in battle. We had suffered thru over 4 Years of blood shed and the men in charge wanted it to stop. And stop it did. Maybe there would have been a surrender in a week or two. The war came to a end (For all practical purposes) the day of the 2ed bomb. This tactic did save allied lives,

    Over board, well maybe, the people of the times only wanted this war to end, I guess they thought the end would somehow justify the means.


  • 3lixir
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Japan didn't surrender when the U.S. dropped the first one. When the second atomic dropped, the Japanese, of course, surrended.

  • 1 decade ago

    According to the terms of the Yalta agreement, uncondtional surrender was to be the only acceptable terms for the Axis nations. Thus until unconditional surrender was obtained, the US was obligated to continue to use maximum force.

  • 1 decade ago

    They wanted to see if the second bomb (a different design) was better. The Americans probably would have dropped it even if the Japanese surrendered.

  • 1 decade ago

    Most likely, they believed that they had been kind in giving 3 days notice while the Japanese had not given any to them. Moreover, who would know how many more of the Americans' allies and themselves would have been dead while waiting for someone to take their sweet time to decide what to do.... there is always the may be and unless... in the deciders' minds. Action speaks louder than words.


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