What were the reasons for using the Atomic Bomb?
What effects did it have?
- 4 years agoFavorite Answer
A. For scientific research and to justify the $2 billion spent on the project
(1) The USA wanted to test the atomic bomb on cities and people to examine its effects. The war against Japan gave the US this opportunity. This is proven by the fact Truman selected Hiroshima and Nagasaki to drop the atomic bombs - these two cities were largely untouched and therefore allowed the US to measure the complete damage on whole cities.
(2) The USA were interested to find out how radiation from atomic bombs affected people's health. This is proven by the fact Truman set up the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) after the war to examine the victims' bodies. The ABCC was purely for scientific research and it didn't provide any sort of medical care for the victims.
(3) The USA had two types of atomic bombs - a uranium type and a plutonium type. The US wanted to compare the uranium type with the plutonium type to see which one was more powerful. This is proven by the fact that a uranium type bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, while a plutonium type bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
The atomic bomb was found to be a serious weapon of mass destruction which prompted further developments of nuclear weapons such as the hydrogen bomb. Research into the effects of nuclear weaponry on people and further studies into radiation, skin cancer and leukemia showed how lethal nuclear weapons were.
B. It served as an American propaganda tool for the impending Cold War
(1) The USA did not want the USSR to occupy Japan like they did with Germany. The atomic bombs were a warning from President Truman to the USSR to show how powerful the USA had become. Using the atomic bombs can therefore be seen as not the end of World War II, but the start of the Cold War where the Americans wanted to get the upper hand over the Soviets. Truman's tactic worked - the USSR was so surprised by the atomic bombs that they didn't demand joint occupation of Japan, and left it all to the US.
(2) The USA didn't want to see communism spread in Asia. A planned US invasion of Japan was to ensure that if the USSR invaded Japan, the US could stop the entire country from falling to a communist revolution. If the US and USSR both invaded Japan, the country would've been divided like North and South Korea. Truman was hoping that using the atomic bombs would end the war before the Soviets could launch an invasion of Japan. (Ironically, it was not the atomic bombs, but the threat of a Soviet invasion of the home islands that persuaded Japan to surrender)
(3) It was an American propaganda tool to make all Americans look at the atomic bombings as a source of national pride and security. The fact that the USA was the only country in the world in possession of this new powerful, destructive weapon made Americans feel more proud, safe and secure. (Think back to when the Soviets launched the Sputnik into space, and when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon - in both cases it was all Soviet and American propaganda. The atomic bombs were no exception)
The use of the atomic bombs encouraged the USSR to develop their own. As a result, hundreds of German scientists were recruited into Soviet nuclear and space programs. This prompted the USA to recruit German scientists too (the most famous being Wernher von Braun). When the USSR detonated their first nuclear bomb other countries such as China, France and the UK quickly developed and tested their own nuclear bombs. Ultimately, as more countries wanted nuclear weapons for their own security it became a global problem which lasts to this day with North Korea and Iran being the next countries to join the nuclear club.
C. There was strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the USA
(1) The Americans viewed the Japanese as a sub-human race almost the same way Germans viewed Jews and Slavs. This is proven by the fact that while German and Italian Americans were not mistreated, all Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps. In a poll conducted in 1944, almost 13% of the US public voted for "the complete extermination of the Japanese race". Such emotional anti-Japanese sentiment made many Americans view the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as justified.
(2) Some Americans felt the need to "dehumanize" Japan. After the war, many Americans saw a connection between the way Japanese Americans were mistreated, the fact that US soldiers often mutilated the dead bodies of Japanese soldiers to collect "war trophies", and the US decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. In all three cases they saw an intense hatred being directed specifically toward the Japanese race - something not seen being directed toward the Germans or Italians.
Some of the anti-Japanese sentiment lasts to this day. This has prompted many Americans to make statements such as the atomic bombings were revenge for the attack on Pearl Harbor, even though the atomic bombings were on civilian cities creating 200,000 casualties whereas Pearl Harbor was a military base with 2,000 casualties.
D. American lives were, at the end of the day, worth more than Japanese lives
(1) Out of all the militaries fighting in WWII, the US military were the most sensitive when it came to casualties. Truman liked the idea that there was a quick method to damage the enemy's cities without losing too much of his own resources and men.
(2) Truman's responsibility as President of the USA was ultimately to ensure the least deaths happened to his countrymen. Even if his decision to drop the atomic bombs was unnecessary, a terrorist act, a war crime and against the Geneva Convention (which the US had ironically signed), the two 'experiments' ultimately didn't cost a single American life.
In the USA, Truman's decision was seen as a wise one. Preventing further American casualties as obviously seen as the most important factor at the time.
- drugs3379Lv 64 years ago
- keithLv 74 years ago
- AthenaLv 74 years ago
To end the war fast and to make sure the victory was decisive.
This allowed AMerica to "forgive" Japan and, within five years of the war, we were friends and allies.
Look at our relationship with Vietnam after 50 years.
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- Tad DubiousLv 74 years ago
Fularks, the only two atomic bombs used in war were dropped on two cities in Japan to end World War II in the Pacific. The Japanese, who saw their Emperor as a God, could not accept defeat without his acceptance. Fair warning of the bombs were given well in advance, but only after the second did the Emperor come to his senses. President Truman made the decision to drop the bombs in order to stop the war and the killing. At the time, Japan no longer had an air force nor a navy of any significance, but they refused to accept defeat. They were starving their people to build more weapons, using prisoners of war in that activity as well, and were simply blinded to reality.
Effects: It stopped the war. And hopefully, it gave the world the reason why such a bomb should never be used again. Peace.
- SatanLv 74 years ago
They built it, would be stupid not to see what it could do
- 4 years ago
To end the war with Japan early.
To prove to the Bolsheviks in Russia what the U.S. would be willing to do to them.