The Two Atomic Bombs

Hiroshima was left in a state of destruction and chaos, buildings were destroyed to piles of rubble in a matter of seconds and it would take years to rebuild. Then, three days after this tragedy, the city of Nagasaki, was hit by a different atomic bomb. “Fat Man,” the second atomic bomb, which was filled with plutonium, hit Nagasaki on August 9, leaving “nearly half of the city… completely destroyed”. Although Nagasaki was the secondary target for the second atomic bomb, the city received considerably less damage than Hiroshima since most of the atomic bomb was “confined to the Urakami Valley” this is because of weather conditions, low fuel and detection by the Japanese made it harder to get to the exact drop site (Atomic Heritage, 2014).

However, the destruction of the city was only one of the disastrous effects of these bombs caused by the United States.

The bomb droppings were immediately deadly, causing hundreds and thousands of deaths upon Japanese citizens.

Although it is unclear of the exact number of deaths due to the fires and other destruction caused by the bombs, the US Department of Energy suggests around 200,000 deaths in Hiroshima, and around 80,000 deaths in Nagasaki  Then, six days later “Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s unconditional surrender via radio address on August 15, bringing World War II to a close.” This proved a tough victory for the United States, but one that many people were happy to see, after the bombings of Pearl Harbor, and the countless lives of Americans that were lost, the destruction that Japan had caused was over.

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President Truman was in a tough spot when he decided to go ahead with the atomic bombs. This is because the only options he had were to send thousands of troops to invade Japan or drop the bombs. He decided against invading, in order to prevent any more deaths of American soldiers. It is noted that President Truman wrote in his diary, ‘I have to decide Japanese strategy –shall we invade Japan proper or shall we bomb and blockade? That is my hardest decision to date”. This decision proved to be difficult, because although the president did not want to risk any more American lives, this would be the first time in the history of the world that any country used a nuclear bomb against an enemy. However, after much discussion between Truman and many high-level military officials, it was decided that using the atomic bombs would the be best way to prevent any more American deaths and to put an end to the war.

The decision made to drop the bombs was a significant one, one that led the Japanese to surrender which ended the war. However, it was a decision that needed to be made. It is estimated that the war could have went on for another six months, if the bombs were not dropped early enough. This is because it “would give the Japanese more time to prepare,” according to Army Chief of Staff General, George C. Marshall, who met with the president to discuss the options that the US had in the war (Maddox, 1995). At this point in the war, Japan showed that it would do whatever was necessary to succeed. One such example is the super battleship, Yamato. Yamato’s mission is what many refer to as a “suicide mission,” Japan had sent this ship out to take down American ships, before purposely crashing itself, which would ultimately kill everyone on board. This proved that Japan was willing to sacrifice hundreds of men, just to show the power that they held. In addition, it was estimated that Japan had “more than 2,000,000 troops” ready and or being trained to enter the war.

During this time, the Japanese knew that the United States was planning on invading Japan, due to the Pearl Harbor attack, therefore they deployed hundreds of troops to the islands that the US would have to cross, “that would inflict enough casualties to convince Washington to compromise” in order for themselves to succeed in the war. Furthermore, the damage upon Pearl Harbor, pushed the United States to stop Japans destruction upon the world, and to force their surrendering, which would end the war. Although the US was trying to stay out of the war, the destruction of Pearl Harbor, in addition to many American deaths, caused the United States to make drastic decisions, that proved to be deadly to the Japanese, but successful to the end of the war. Japans surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, caused “U.S. military casualties total[ing] more than 3,400,” in addition the USS Arizona battleship, USS Oklahoma battleship and USS Utah target ship (former battleship) were destroyed by Japanese planes and submarines.

Although the Japanese bombs caused damage to many US ships that were stationed at Pearl Harbor, many were able to be repaired and used in battle later on. In fact, the USS West Virginia, “was the only ship attacked at Pearl Harbor present during Japans formal surrender on September 2, 1945”. This goes to show that the US worked quickly to overcome the tragedy that happened at Pearl Harbor, to declare war upon Japan, in order to stop any more surprise attacks on American soil. However, Japan had no plans of stopping the war, because they were determined to gain control of nearly the entire world. It is noted that by 1941, the US had stopped trade with Japan, and instead was improving the economic relations with China. Unfortunately, Japan was already at war with China, and had decided that taking down the fleet of American ships stationed at Pearl Harbor, was the next step for gaining power on that side of the world.

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The Two Atomic Bombs. (2022, May 01). Retrieved from

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