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The Atomic Bomb

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The decision leading up to the U.S. bombing Japan, regardless of the consequences post-attack, was focused on the tensions between the Pacific and U.S. and major events leading to the termination of WW2. Such war incidents, like the Pearl Harbor Bombing, impassioned the United States into a hostile state of Japanese sentiment, embittering the U.S. to gain advantages against their Asian enemy at any cost, and to intimidate possible enemies, like the Soviet Union. The aggressive brutality of Japanese fighters and their opposition to surrender to the U.S. further led the U.S. to believe in ending the Japanese force at any cost, and manifesting its title as the sole World Power.


Prior to its official entry into War, the U.S. maintained neutrality, as most of the American population favored to avoid the atrocities and morality rates mirroring the loathed WW1. However, Isolationism was merely a partisan label, as President FDR had already started preparing U.S. weaponry and naval sources for America’s unavoidable interference into war; all that was really needed was an inflammatory catalyst in order to spark U.S. war resolve. On December 7, 1941, the match was struck as the U.S. military base in Oahu, Hawaii, was ill-prepared to face premeditated Japanese aerial attacks, and as a result, were bombed, destroying Pearl Harbor and nearly 2,300 American soldiers. Outrage spread throughout the U.S. like wildfire, as a Sunday, which Americans believed would have been Christian day of rest, became a date that forever “will live in infamy.” U.S. entered the fight, and the WW2 became even more genuine, as no limits toward funding for war support and anti-Japanese propaganda was given. POST December 7, 1941, generally all conflicts between U.S. and Japan soldiers were fought in the Pacific Theatre, as the struggle for control of Pacific territories had became almost as dominant a goal as finishing the war. Desperate to take back strategic islands of U.S. territory, such as the Philippines, the U.S. naval and marine forces, such as high officials General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz, worked to develop counter-attacks to weaken the Japanese import-based economy, and with a stratagem involving a series of “island hopping.” However, this strategy was costing precious American casualties, including factors such as limited supply shipment, rough weather, and kamikaze attacks; island hopping was not fast or efficient as the U.S. government hoped it would be. If American forces had enough difficulty fighting the Japanese on various small islands, what hope was there fighting in Japan on the enemy’s home territory? The atomic bomb posed as the solution for an additional active attack that could ensure immediate Japanese surrender, and warn the Soviet Union against expanding territory in Asia.

While the U.S. definitely had industrial advantages, it was the Japanese fighting spirit that was to be feared, embodying the honored Bushido code of honor at any price, even death. As discussed in HBO’s mini-documentary series, The Pacific, Japanese soldiers were motivated by a strong nationalist sense of duty toward their country, their families, and to the Divine Emperor. American soldiers were shocked, awed and horrified at the tenacity of the Japanese ferocity, as one U.S. soldier recalled seeing a Japanese soldier keep standing after being riddled with several bullets. Japanese warfare culture during WW2 was a unified fighting machine without mercy or compassion, a trait that the U.S. tried to parallel in a Brutality vs. Brutality mindset. Hostile sentiment of the Japanese was contributed to propaganda circulating in the U.S., depicting the Japanese as inhuman threats capable of beastly rape and murder, thus freeing the sense of guilt toward “exterminating” the Japanese threats. Before the U.S. had finally been able to defeat Germany, President FDR had died, leaving the U.S. in the hands of former U.S. senator Harry S. Truman, and without the pragmatic wisdom and diplomacy of Roosevelt. After the Potsdam Conference in Berlin discussing the repercussions of WW2 and the remuneration to be made by Axis Powers, Truman discovered the first successful testing of the atomic in New Mexico. Faced with the fact that Japan wouldn’t easily agree to unconditional surrender, taxing this with the full immense cost of the bomb preparations (about $200,000,000 billion), the fact that it was there and there were no European Axis powers to fire at, along with a inquisitiveness as to the bomb’s total power, gives an idea as to what happened next. On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the bomb that would destroy the city of Hiroshima and kill 80,000 civilians, a few days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing 40,000; the war ended when the Japanese government surrounded on August 14, 1945.

Though the war on Europe ended May 8, 1945, U.S. conflicts in Japan were still ongoing. With a bomb that cost about two billion with no European country to target, America decided to bomb Japan for a variety of reasons: revenge, limiting/ preventing the loss of American troops, the protection of war investments, ending the war on U.S. terms, and intimidating other world powers, such as the Soviet Union. Later the same bomb that sparked Hiroshima inspired the Atomic Age in the arms age for the greatest militaristic and nuclear weaponry, in which the United States and the Soviet Union are still continuing today.



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