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Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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The decision made by the U.S. to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War remains one of the extremely controversial issues in Japanese history (Compton 2002, p. 54). Pellegrino (2010, p. 15) indicates that the bombing of these cities is the only documented event where atomic weapons have been used in any war. It is regrettable to note that this event that was conducted at the order of Harry S. Truman, the then U.S. President, resulted in an enormous loss of lives and property. Grachev (2011, P. 10) notes that on August 1945, the entire world dramatically entered into the atomic age without any prior precedent or warning, as one of the American plane dropped a nuclear bomb on the city of Hiroshima, killing more than 90,000 people on the spot. After three days, another atomic strike was made on Nagasaki, killing more than 37,000 people and injuring thousands of other innocent civilians. It is notable that between these two bombings, the U.S. was joined by the Soviet Russia in a war against Japan, thus breaking the non-aggression treaty made between the Soviet Russia and Tokyo. By doing this, Japanese forces were extremely weakened, thus contributing to an easy attack on the city of Nagasaki. According to the Hiroshima health department, it is approximated that of all the those people who died during that day of explosion, at least 59 % died from the flame or flash burns, 25% from the falling debris, while the rest from other notable causes resulting from the explosion (Compton, 2002, p. 50). During the subsequent months after the bombing, a large number of innocent civilians died from radiation sicknesses or effects of burns among other causes. As a result of this enormous devastation, Japan was forced to surrender to its allies, a factor which led to the end of the Second World War. Based on the above facts, the United States was not justified in dropping bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima due to the short and long-term health as well as social-economic and political effects, which continues to hinder the development of Japan.

It is notable that up until the early 1960s, there was a predominant view that the United States was fully justified to use nuclear bombs against the Japanese (Compton 2002, p. 50). In most parts of the world, people accepted at face value that leaders from the U.S. had established that Japan would not surrender in the foreseeable future, a factor that could have further resulted in deaths of more Japanese civilians and U.S. solders. They claim that the total human cost associated with the bombing was the ultimate price which had to be paid by the Japanese. This was in order to avoid the possibility of more losses of lives had the United States invaded the home island in Japan (Compton 2002, p. 53). As argued by Grachev (2011, P. 10), saving the lives of the Japanese was not the main goal of these two bombs. This was just used as a justification for the wrongs carried out against Japanese nationals and the rest of the world.

To understand this concept, it is appropriate to realize the underlying reasons that led the U.S. to attack the two cities of Japan. First, the U.S. wanted to revenge due to the embarrassment they had faced at the Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese forces employed sneak method of attack on the U.S. forces. This was not the first instant when the Japanese forces had launched surprise attacks against the U.S. For instance, between 1904 and 1905, during the famous Russo-Japanese war, the Japanese forces were enormously hailed due to their innovative methods of attack (Compton 2002, p. 55). Based on their experiences, they were able to intelligently attack the American solders on the Pearl Harbor, thus defeating them. Secondly, there were many ongoing debates regarding the extent to which Roosevelt and the U.S. government knew about the attacks as well as the timing of breaking-off diplomatic negotiations by Japan (Grachev 2011, P. 10).

Though the attack on the Pearl Harbor was technically impossible, this should not have been a great surprise that the America’s pacific Fleet would be attacked (Compton 2002, p. 53). However, the techniques employed by Japan ultimately shocked as well as galvanized the American public’s support towards the war. As a result, it meant that the level of public outcry towards the use of atomic bombs in Japanese cities would not invoke large public outcries (Compton 2002, p. 63). The other reason as to why the U.S. dropped atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima was to demonstrate the power of the U.S. to the Soviet Union, who was their emerging rival (Compton 2002, p. 94). During the time of war with Japan, the United States had enormously indicated the range and power of the B-29 bomber. The B-29 bomber was responsible for the Tokyo bombings, which took place on March 10, 1945, killing more than 90,000 civilians (Pellegrino 2010, p. 15).

During the Potsdam Conference, the U.S. president categorically indicated that they had adequate information from spies that Japan was not ready to give up in the war, a factor that accelerated the need for the U.S. to show off the real life power of its new weapons. This resulted in Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings on August 6th and 9th respectively. Further, the timing of these bombing was also accelerated by the rapid changing relationship between the USSR and the U.S. For instance, the SU (Soviet Union) had already declared war on Japan, three months prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. As a result of this, the U.S. viewed the deteriorating situations that were developing in the European region, thus preferred not to face a similar situation in the Asian continent, thus, in Japan (Grachev 2011, P. 10).

As argued by Compton (2002, p. 94), the strongest argument against the use of the atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima is the terrible nature exhibited by this kind of weapon. As seen in most memorials in these two cities, many people lost their lives, families, and properties among others things (Compton 2002, p. 77). Atomic bombs are well-known for high levels of radiations, such as x-ray radiations. As recently witnessed after the destruction of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, due to 8.0 earthquake, atomic radiation highly affects human beings and other animal in many aspects, hence, it should be avoided at all cost (Grachev 2011, P. 10).

From the above information, it is clear that the bombing of the city of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was fully unjustified. The main aim of bombing the two cities was for the U.S. to show-off its military strength and to revenge for the defeat they encountered on the Pearl Harbor among other notable factors (Compton 2002, p. 58). As a result of this, many Japanese, especially those living in the affected cities, continue to face numerous health problems among other risks. In future, countries should seek for alternative ways of solving conflicts rather than engaging in war. Further, international and regional bodies, suck as the United Nations, should ensure that different countries adhere and respect all the policies and treatise that enhance international peace (Grachev 2011, P. 10). 

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