The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan

“On August 6 and 9, 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by the first atomic bombs used in warfare.” ( The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was a hard decision and now this historical fact has different interpretations. It was one of the biggest human tragedies and even today, through many years ago, we can’t talk about that terrible incident peacefully.

In our work we will try to understand why the decision to drop the atomic bomb was so important to the United States and how historians and ordinary people pertain to that tragedy. Six decades disputes do not calm down around these atomic explosions, irreconcilable estimations meet each other and became a reason to the new disputes. One group of people is convinced, that the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was dictated by a dire necessity: to compel Japan to capitulate, rescue hundreds of the thousands of American lives and sheathe the World War II. Their opponents, with not less conviction, erect atomic bombardment of the Japanese cities in the grade of the greatest senseless crime. The greatest degree, incandescence of the passions attained ten years ago, when in Washington, the exhibition of “Enola Gay” carrying unreserved conviction of “American soldiery” and causing “cynicism and complete absence of patriotism” indignant protest for the supporters of other look to history, was opened in Smithsonian Institute.

Let’s look at this historical decision and terrible historical event from another side. Many scientists, who worked under the atomic bomb development and its improvement sincerely hoped, that an ultimatum in which objectively the situation of Japan would be assessed after the surrender of Hitler Germany and the disastrous for it consequences of resistance would be expounded concretely must incline Japan to the surrender. Scientists considered that the USA would bring down on Japan the new weapon, possessing with anything not comparable power, only in the case of its refuse to accept an ultimatum.

Meantime in Potsdam declaration, published on July, 27, 1945 after the signatures of representatives of the USA, Great Britain and China (The USSR then did not yet participate in war against Japan), about bomb was not said at all.

In declaration, containing warning that in the case of its rejection Japan is waited by immediate and frightful retribution, there is no even a hint on an atomic weapon.

Stimson gave Truman the detailed material that, how, when and in what terms it is necessary to reveal to Soviet Union through this question. It was suggested to do the volume of primary information most minimum. General Marshall spoke out emphatically: “It is unreasonable to give to Russian people any information which can facilitate them creation of the same weapon, while we will not be sure in their intentions”. Some of government representatives saw in an a-bomb information concealment from the USSR very powerful factor, playing a useful role in successes of foreign policy of the USA.

To the Soviet government text of that Japan declaration, signed by the representatives of the USA, Great Britain and China, was delivered on July, 26 only “for taking into account”, thus in an accompanying Birns message was talked, that a document is already passed to the press for the publication on July, 27.

Soviet Union, taking into account the forthcoming entering into war with Japan and row of other moments, appealed with a request to postpone the publication of declaration on three days. Americans answered in a refuse form, alluding to the fact that agencies can not detain its publication. Foreign commentators considered this answer as aspiration of the USA to remove Soviet Union from the decision of political problems, related to completion of war against Japan.

Text of Potsdam declaration was passed to Japan on the short-wave transmitter of the American ministry of information, set in San Francisco. The cabinet of Sudzuki on July, 28 declined an ultimatum that gave to the government of the USA a desirable pretext for atomic bombardment of the Japanese cities.

In two weeks on the habitants of two cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – an atomic tornado was brought down, exposing sense of misty formulations of ultimatum. But those, who undertook responsibility for causing of nuclear blow and were proud for the “decision” shown at one time there, now want to disclaim this enormous responsibility.

Did it make sense to use an atomic bomb?

The person, who gave an order about its application, a president Truman spoke out on that score most categorical and definitely, assuming complete responsibility for this decision which he justified in the followings words: “Exactly I had to decide, where and when it was necessary to use an a-bomb. Let people be not cheated: I always considered this bomb a military weapon, and I never doubted in fact that its using is my debt. The higher soldiery advisers of president recommended its using, and, when I consulted in this business with Churchill, he said me without any doubts and fluctuations, that he approves for application of a-bomb, if it can accelerate completion of this cruel war.

Another historical and archive information show us Truman Speech, August 9, 1945: “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.

But that attack is only a warning of things to come. If Japan does not surrender, bombs will have to be dropped on her war industries and, unfortunately, thousands of civilian lives will be lost. I urge Japanese civilians to leave industrial cities immediately, and save themselves from destruction.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, Containing the Public Messages, Speeches and Statements of the President April 12 to December 31, 1945).

I don’t want to accuse Truman in that tragedy, because nobody has such right. I also don’t want to protect him, because nobody has such right too. I only want to show you other facts which can describe situation from another side. In several paragraphs above our position looked like the position of the accusation, but I really tried to be neutral and show only historical facts.

Winston Churchill wrote that horrific responsibility lay down on the Truman’s shoulders and in help there was only a hope to save hundreds of the thousands of American lives in such a way. Some politicians try to prove that if it is somehow possible to explain first bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima, then the second bomb – on Nagasaki ”“ was already clean cannibalism.

Robert Maddoks, analyzing documents, asserts that the second bomb was important too and there were deep reasons for that step.

As is generally known, Americans succeeded to decipher codes which were used by Japanese: code of diplomatic connection, getting the name “Magic” and code of military connection of “Ultra”. The read documents did not abandon doubts, that soldiery circle of Japan even after bombardment of Hiroshima, all did, to diminish the size of calamity, persuading an emperor, that this was not atomic, but ordinary massed bombardment. And only through a few hours after falling of a-bomb on Nagasaki, the secretary of war fallen in panic, notarizing an emperor, that Americans have “hundred a-bombs and Tokyo will be the next city”.

The opponents of a-bomb application unnoticed very important circumstance that after bombardments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki war proceeded. It went on Phillipinnes, in China. Every day took away thousands of lives. And being in the Japanese captivity thousands Americans died from privations. It is known that Japanese going to destroy all of them, and rescued their atomic bombardments. Truman was a commander-in-chief, and he was accountable for those, who were under his command. He had other position, than that, in which for nothing answering manipulators of public opinion, sitting in comfortable chairs on conferences are today”¦ It is terrible to think, what would be, if hundreds of thousands of the American boys were killed or injured on Japanese earth, and it would be known here, that in hands of the USA president was the possibility to rescue them, making off a sanguinary butchery, and he did not avail this possibility.

At the end of this work I want to say that different countries and people have own opinions comparatively to World War II and Japan tragedy, but among the main participant and victims of those events we see two countries: America and Japan. I can only note that it were two priorities, two purposes, two worlds. We saw in Truman’s hands a chance to stop war and to rescue his soldiers and he did it. Was it right or wrong? I don’t know, but even now many Americans understand Truman’s decision and don’t consider his decision wrong.

Truman has donated more than two hundred thousands of people lives to rescue more than million another lives”¦ It was his decision and I’m sure that it was very hard decision.

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