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What are some reasons why Truman shouldn't have dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

What are some reasons why President Truman SHOULDN'T have dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? & What are some reasons why he SHOULD have dropped the bomb?

12 Answers

  • Beau
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Why Truman shouldn't have dropped the atomic bombs,

    - They were unnecessary to save lives because a US led invasion was itself unnecessary to defeat Japan or obtain a surrender. The justification that it saved lives is the main argument used by those who supported the use of the bomb on civilian cities. Would this justification be preached if Japan had dropped a nuclear bomb a US city citing the same reason?

    - They were unnecessary to defeat Japan or obtain a Japanese surrender on the condition that the Japanese monarchy could continue its reign. Frankly, this is the bottom line - end of story.

    - The alternative to the bombing could have been as simple as conveying to Japan a guarantee that its monarchy would be preserved post-war. US political figures such as Stimson, McCloy and Grew, all gave Truman their opinion that retention of the Japanese monarchy should be made of utmost importance if the US wanted a quick end to the war. In his role as SCAP, MacArthur later conveyed his opinion that Japan would have surrendered had the Allies offered retention of the monarchy as a guarantee.

    - Truman chose to keep the fate of the imperial family unknown because he had already made his decision to use atomic bombs - irrespective of whether Japan wanted to surrender or not. High cost American casualties did not influence the already made decision to use atomic bombs. The Target Committee had already chosen Hiroshima and Nagasaki on its list of targets long before the battles of Okinawa or Iwo Jima.

    - The main even that instigated Japan's surrender on 15 August 1945 was the Soviet Union's declaration of war on Japan on 9 August 1945 (about 10 hours before the bombing of Nagasaki). The Supreme War Council made the calls regarding Japan's fate. In August 1945, the Council was divided between politicians/Emperor who wanted to surrender (on the condition that the monarchy was allowed retention post-war) and the military who wanted to continue the war. The atomic bombings did not change the stance of the military leaders, they simply condemned them as cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. What did change their stance was the swift Soviet advance through Manchuria which instilled defeatism amongst the military.

    - The bombing of Hiroshima occurred on 6 August and the bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August. Japan surrendered on 15 August. Knowing that it was only a 3 day difference between Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the Japanese would have surrendered promptly after Nagasaki and not wait nearly 1 week if the atomic bombs had truly frightened the Supreme War Council. The reason it took 6 days for Japan to surrender is because urgent Council meetings were held between 9-15 August to discuss the problem of the Soviets entering the Pacific War on 9 August. The atomic bombs were largely ignored during these meetings. The Soviet threat, coupled with the Emperor's desire for peace, forced the Council military leaders to accept defeat and this is why Japan surrendered as late as 15 August 1945.

    - In his rescript to the Japanese armed forces, Hirohito only cited the Soviet entrance into the war as the reason for Japan's surrender. This effectively confirms that the Soviet entrance had the biggest impact on Japan's decision to surrender. It forced the most senior members of the Japanese military to accept defeat, which in turn enabled the Supreme War Council to commence surrender talks, which in turn allowed Japan to surrender.

    - Killing 200,000 people (overwhelming majority were civilians including women and children) was thus unnecessary to achieve the same outcome that would have been achieved through a more effective diplomatic method, or arguably, achieved anyway due to the entrance of the USSR.

    - Hiroshima/Nagasaki were no longer military targets. Japan had little to no wartime industry by August 1945. The bomb on Hiroshima was dropped on a hospital, the bomb on Nagasaki was dropped on a church. Neither were military targets. Industrial zones were located on the outskirts of both cities. The bombs were dropped in city centres packed with civilians. It was unnecessary.

    - Powerful figures in the US military including General MacArthur, General Eisenhower, Admiral Leahy and Admiral Nimitz all disagreed with the military necessity of using atomic bombs on civilians. Their opinions regarding the atomic bombs are more valid than anybody here. To contradict their views would mean you are disagreeing with some of the most senior US military figures who were actually there in WWII.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    By the time the Germans surrendered in May, 1945, the entire world was quite weary of a war that had seen so much destruction and loss of lives, that Truman was looking for an expedient way to end the war in the Pacific Theater. Although Japan had been beaten back and were now fighting on their home soil, the war could have dragged on for at least another six months or longer. There was no telling how many more lives would be lost.

    On the other hand, knowing beforehand how powerful the atomic bomb was, the American War Department could have seriously questioned the morality of using such an horrendous weapon of destruction, and advised Truman against using it.

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  • 7 years ago

    "What are some reasons why President Truman SHOULDN'T have dropped the atomic bomb"

    The mindset "if we invaded that would have resulted in horrible casualties" is flawed - in it's entirety.

    Any military worthy of that name is learned in tactics and which to use to be avoid casualties, you don't win wars by dying lots. As such siege warfare is a ta ctic going back to the dawn of time, used because it is successful. You stand off the Japanese coast at distance, you pound them and fire bomb them to yours hearts content and if they want to starve and take casualties instead of holding a white piece of cloth in their hands... that's on them.

    To suggest nukes were necessary to avoid something that didn't need to happen [an invasion] as if we were doing the Japanese a favor is inane - buy yet bought my so many people.

    The Japanese merchant marine on the sea floor, the naval blockade of Japan complete.

    The Japanese starving, rice harvests don't feed a whole country; they were so low on oils and fuels they were sending their pilots and mightiest warships eg the Yamato out on one-way kamikazi missions to oblivion.

    The Japanese were attempting to negotiate a way out of the war.

    The Germans were arming their civilians with Panzerfaust anti-tank rockets; the Japanese were arming their civilians with bamboo pointy sticks.

    Nukes do seem overkill.

    " What are some reasons why he SHOULD have dropped the bomb?"

    The Manhattan Project was a partnership between the USA, Canada and Britain - the three largest western powers with Russia omitted by design; the Quebec Accord agreement was a/ no partner shall use this device against another and b/ no partner shall use this device without consent and approval of all partners.

    Britain and Canada gave their nod to using it against Japan after Germany had fallen - Germany being the target The Manhattan Project was created to be used against. As the deal was all must agree or disagree; and all had agreed Japan would be it... Truman didn't have a choice [not that he personally had a say in it anyways, wasn't his call - was all of the partners had say.

    The Geneva Convention forbids a military from waging war on civilians, the western allies always respected this convention of warfare.

    However, a rule that remains to this day - the instant a 'civilian' picks up a weapon they become under international law and armed combatant. Both Germany and Japan were arming their civilians giving them the mandate to take the fight to the enemy... by their own hands they were armed combatants and thus fair game under law. They just as easy could hold a white flag.

    (this is why the bombing of Rotterdam and London were illegal, those citizens were not armed... while the Dresden and Hiroshima bombing were legal, those citizens were armed)

    Hope that helps :)

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    well Yes and no the problem here is that one japan had already killed so many at pearl harbour and somthing had to be done to show that the usa wouldnt allow such an act to go unpunished whether the opposing nation was seeking peace or not .also it was the only real way the americans could do and major damage without huge losses of life the japanese made them pay very very dearly to take the two small isalnds off japan american commanders realsed the japanese had set there defence with an intent to fight to the last man with the only objective being to kill has many us servicemen has possible if the americans had gone to the mainland even though im sure america would of gained victory in the end the price they would of had to pay to get t would have basically being a vietnam before vietnam commanders new this it was also an oppetunity to show the world that the allies had created a weapon with such power beyond what was thout of at the time and surrender was the only real options for the enemys has they had nothing to counter such a threat

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  • 7 years ago

    Several that I could think of. Morally killing so many people is wrong. Truman nor his troops faced and killed so many civilians at once. Introducing such a terrible weapon to the world which in turn causing an arms race.

    Truman did it because he felt it would force the Japanese to surrender, saving many more lives on both sides. Ultimately the Japanese had already decided to fight to the death of all if their island was invaded. Dropping the bombs allowed the demonstrate that continued military efforts were futile.

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  • Zoran
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Japan was already decimated by loss of man power and resource shortages. The Truman Experiment was an excuse to test what the Atomic Bomb could do. This was not to end the war because a Japanese mainland invasion by both the United States and Soviet Union would have led the ill fated Japanese government to surrender without question.

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  • Bilbo
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Should Not - because Japan was already beaten and may have surrendered on the right terms (however you have to bear in mind that by this time ONLY unconditional surrender would have been acceptable).

    Should - deployment would shorten the war by a year and save at least a million Aliied lives. Congress had sanction a phenomenal amount of money and wanted to know if the bloody things worked. At his poitn it was a HUGE strategic advantage if America won the war before USSR got chance to come into it - so a demonstration of force was extremely important to the post-war landscape

    So you can see why Truman did what he did.

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  • shulse
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Reasons For Hiroshima Bombing

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  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Short & not so sweet:

    estimated casualties for surrender forced by the bomb. ~ 10^ 5

    estimated casualties for surrender forced by conventional blockade/invasion ~ 10^7

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  • Thomas
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Against: It is one of the most barbaric crimes against humanity to throw a WMD on a defenseless civilian population.

    For: None

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