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Was There Another Way?
Was there another way?
The echoes of the past whisper hai, yes, they shout no with patriotism. The voices of the dead scream in agony, and the allies of America sigh and resign it all to what needed to be done.
Now that we are not under the constraints of time and fear, looking into the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings can seem like a fruitless, tragic mess. However, if we learn from our actions and come to terms with what can be done in the future, it will never be for nothing. Studying and understanding the bombings can bring honour and dignity to those who lost their lives.
August 6th, 1945 marks the day that Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber, shattered Hiroshima. It’s package killed an estimated 145,000 Japanese citizens with one traumatic hit. And it was due for another bombing, but the pilots decided to head for Nagasaki after finding their target covered in a deep cloud of death. Many lives were utterly torn apart, for no other reason than they were Japanese, and America wanted to plant a bomb somewhere in Japan.
Three lethally short days after Hiroshima’s devastation, the U.S. flew another atomic bomb their way, this time carried by Bock’s Car. As a wave of dust and death lurched through the city, it brought on dangers that made the death tolls rise even after the initial threat had passed. In total, 95% of Nagasaki’s deaths were due to burns, while the rest came from falling debris and flying glass ("The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki").
So, why did Harry Truman unleash a weapon so cruel and powerful that even the people to drop it cried out “Oh God, what have we done?” ("Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembered”)? What were his motives for such an action, and were there other options?
That will forever be a debate in our history books and in our hearts. Many people understand the value of human life, which can make it hard to think of deciding to end so many at once. However, it seems Truman had his understanding of things, and still made the choice to say yes to the bombing of Hiroshima and later, Nagasaki.
The main argument for dropping the bombs were two things: one: to force Japan’s Emperor, Hirohito, to surrender unconditionally, and two: to show the world that America was powerful, and to prevent further wars involving nuclear and atomic weapons.
These were important enough to Truman, that he decided to end the lives of many innocent people. It is a twisted decision he had to make, and it was one he must have been told was for the greater good.
Many people wonder, why Hiroshima? It was the planned city of torture, with a later decision to head for Nagasaki which was close by. As with everything else, there was a reason, and a logical one devoid of empathy at that.
Hiroshima was a military target (Brumfiel). It had certain production centers that were used for the war efforts, so, it does make sense why they would choose Hiroshima over another city, but it still doesn't feel ethically sound. These people were not soldiers, they were not the real enemies. They were loyal citizens, supporting their troops just like the Americans did back home.
Another reason Brumfiel says could have been part of the decision to bomb Hiroshima was that it was a very full, small city. A bomb in that area would easily take the entire thing out. It would kill many people in a short radius. This made the target perfect for what the U.S. was looking for.
What were the other options? Could they have diverted Japan’s army so they were devoid of supplies, perhaps bombed an empty city? All were options, some seriously considered. In fact, one of the top ideas presented to avoid targeting an active city was to bomb somewhere devoid of life to show the destruction of a bomb without killing anyone.
But with that plan comes flaws, as does any thinkable scenario. So I repeat, was there another way?
And I stop short of myself, saying hai with the dead, and perhaps with the living.
"Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembered." Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
"Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll." Hiroshima and Nagasaki Death Toll. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
"The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" Total Casualties | The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki | Historical Documents. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
Brumfiel, Geoff. "Why Did The U.S. Choose Hiroshima?" NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
"The Decision to Drop the Bomb." Ushistory. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.