Lv 7
Yun asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Was the US justified in using atomic weapons on Japan?

First, this is all about the use of atomic weapons in general. I know it can make a difference in the discussion to talk about the first and second bombings, so I'm eliminating that part of the question.

Was there a valid reason for the US to use the nuclear bombs?

14 Answers

  • psyop6
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer


    The war cabinet was arguing to the emperor that the war should continue until the Allies had grown so tired of fighting that they would be willing to abandon the policy of unconditional surrender and negotiate with the Japanese government.

    Indeed, Gen Anami Korechika, the chief of the Army staff, went so far as to argue that the Americans could only have one such bomb available to them after the destruction of Hiroshima. (When the officer who'd sent to there to observe and report on the destruction reported back, Anami encouraged him to play up the parts of the city that had survived the attack--including the underground factories and munitions bunkers--in his report to the emperor, as a means of bolstering the 'we can fight on' faction.

    [Ironically, BG Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan project, had directed his people to produce at least two weapons earler that year specifically because once it became clear the weapon would work, he feared that someone in the Japanese military would try to make the "they can't have any more than that" argument to the emperor.]

    So what were the stakes without using the Bomb? The Army Chemical Corps had stockpiled large amounts of the so-called 'war gasses' (mustard, nerve agents, chlorine, etc) in its arsenal. Further, US Army Medical Department and Services of Supply records make it clear that they were planning for a minimum of 350,000 casualties among the US troops alone in the invasion forces. (Collectors of US medals were shocked in the late 70s-early 80s when the quality of Purple Heart medals dropped suddenly--the enamel centerpiece became a phenolic [plastic] one; no, it wasn't a sudden drop, the phenolic had been in the system for years...the enamelled medal from the late WWII stockpiling had finally run out!)

    Finally, as part of the actual invasion plans, the USAAF would be employed to make at least 9 atomic strikes as part of the landings on the home islands.

    For their part, the Imperial Army was training civilians to make suicidal charges with bamboo spears at the invaders. Thousands of Army and Navy aircraft and the fuel for them were being hoarded for kamikaze attacks on the invasion force as it debarked its troops. Propaganda had prepared many noncombatants to be thrown into the fighting to bolster the fighting troops. Every landing would have been opposed, and, as we found out after the surrender, there wasn't a single potential invasion beach that wasn't heavily defended. The Japanese would have gone down fighting, and their intent was to take as many Allied invaders with them as humanly possible. The most conservative overall estimates of the casualty count remains in the 1.5 million (on both sides) range; all the estimates were based on the campaigns of the previous year's fighting, where Imperial forces contested every inch of land more or less to the last man (and often the last woman and child, toward the end).

    President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb was neither quickly nor lightly made. As terrible as it was, it was the least terrible action that could have been taken at the time.

    Source(s): 30+ years as a student of history. See also: Polmar and Allen, Code Name Downfall Esposito, The West Point Atlas of American Wars Frank, Downfall: The end of the Imperial Japanese Empire Fussel, Thanks God for the Atom Bomb
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes. The US was 100% justified.

    The most important thing to remember is that the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor and started the war. As the Americans began to push the Japanese back toward their mainland, the Japanese took a 'never surrender' approach. This approach can been seen at both the islands of Iwa Jima and most importantly Okinawa. When the US was preparing to launch an attack on the Okinawa the was all but over. Still they refused to surrender and Okinawa became one of the bloodiest and costliest battles in WWII. Tens of thousands of American, Japanese and innocent Okinawa civilians perished in the fighting.

    Once the US had a foothold on Okinawa they set their sets on invading Japan. The US knew that the invasion would be the biggest invansion in human history, making D-Day look like the British Rock Invasion. The Japanese emperor was training EVERY Japanese citizen, including women and children, to resist the American invasion (he refused to surrender). Hundreds of thousands would have died. Worse, for the US, all of those brave men and boys that spent years fighting the Germans would have to be shipped to the Pacific to participate in the fight. America needed a better way out. The atomic bomb allowed that.

    The US dropped the largest test of an atomic bomb at the Bikini Atoll, close to a Japanese advanced base so that the Emperor would know the distructive power of the bomb. Japan refused to surrender. The US dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima. Still the Japanese refused to surrender. The US dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki with a promise for more to come. The Japanese got the hint and gave up, saving hundreds of thousands (some experts believe millions) of lives.

    EDIT: McArthur wrote the current Japanese constitution.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yes they were justified and here why i think they were

    1. it prevented the loss of allied soldiers lives in attempting a sea invasion of japan which would of been far more costly then the european campaign - for the west anyway

    2. it saved pow's lives - japan had already brought most of the allied pows back to the mainland and had stated that is a land invasion was attempted they would kill ALL pows in japan

    3. the us had offered japan a surrender two weeks previously which would of given the japanese the right to have a negotiated peace japan refused this offer

    4. politically it showed the world and russia especially that it had developed a nuclear bomb thus eliminating the possible russian advance in europe if russia ever decided to go to war with the west it now firmly knew not too

    5. the appetite of the allies was not up for war much long due to the surrender of germany in may the japanese campaign was seen to be unwelcomed by britain and france and was due to the distance involved and the usa was the only nation keen on revenging pearl harbour. by 1945 people just wanted peace

  • 1 decade ago


    Search on here from the other ten million times this has been answered and youll get some great info.

    It was the least harmful way to win the war-anything else would have led to many more deaths.

    As a bonus is also served to show the Russians what we were capable of in an effort to slow the spread of Communism and keeps us from havign to fight Russia immediately (this is speculation, but logical speculation since the RAF admits that was a large reason for the terror/fire bombings done in Germany at the end of the European theater)

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  • WMD
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Yes, the U.S. was justified in using atomic weapons on Japan as it turned out to be the most effective weapon used to force the Japanese leaders to surrender - and end the Japanese invasion and occupation of: Burma, China, the Dutch East Indies, French Indo-China, Korea, Manchuria, Malaya, New Guinea, the Philippines, and Siam.

    By ending the war it saved the lives of millions who could have died had the war continued.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, At the Battle Okinawa,the last battle before we reached Japan, and defended by 100,000 Japanese,there were 72,000 U.S. casualties, 12,000 killed. There were 150,000 Okinawan civilian casualties. That's on an island only 67 miles long. Japanese propaganda told the Okinawans that the Americans were in-human beasts that would rape and murder them. Many, many Okinawans committed suicide because of this. The same thing would of happened in Japan.

    There were approx. 300,000 casualties from the two atomic bombs. If we had attacked the Japanese mainland there would of been millions of Japanese civilian casualties, not to mention the projected one million U.S. casualties.

    Dropping the bombs saved American , Japanese, and Russian lives, because Russia was going to attack the Japanese in Mongolia and China.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Of course it was. The Japanese forces had contested every meter of ground with increasing ferocity the closer the Allies got to the Japanese home islands. Do you honestly believe that they would have suddenly decided to throw in the towel simply becuase the US Navy was within gun range of Tokyo and Yokosuka?

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes. It was either that or conduct a full-scale invasion of Japan that would've cost a lot more lives of not just U.S. servicemen but the lives of innocent people who were uninvolved with the war.

  • Mark
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY, any type of invasion would have cost more lives , most estimates run into the millions. Japan was massing troops and civilians for defense of the home islands.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes and the Japanese thank us for it today. Many more lives would have been lost otherwise.

    Trivia question: Who pretty much wrote the Japanese Constitution, which is still used today?

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