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Justifying the Atomic Bomb

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The Atomic Bomb is one of the most controversial weapons of mankind. Some argue that it should've never been dropped on the Japanese during World War II, while others argue that it was the only way to make Japan surrender during the six year war. Obviously there are a lot of facts and opinions to support each side, but I feel that the pro-bomb choice has better evidence and ultimately, a better ending to the war.

December 7, 1941, this is the original date that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and it is this event that sent America to war. After the dreaded loss of thousands of military personnel, America had decided to finally join World War II on the allied side to help the British, Italians, and the Russians. The war goes on for six years and both sides are more than done with fighting, but with every war there has to be a victor. The year is now 1945, and the Americans are underway with a secret operation known as the "Manhattan Project," a $2,000,000,000 project invested in creating the world's first atomic bomb (Shalett 11). Then, on August 6, 1945, a US B-29 bomber flies over the city of Hiroshima and releases the bomb at exactly 8:15am, leveling the city in a matter of milliseconds (History channel). Three days later, the next bomb is dropped followed by Japans surrender one week after; the war has finally come to an end.

Some may argue that the atomic bomb should have never been dropped, and that there were alternatives to winning the war. One argument of the opposition is that dropping the atomic bombs were war crimes. People felt that the bomb killing Japanese soldiers was alright, but when civilians got involved and were in the line of fire, that's when people had problems. However, I believe that dropping the A-bombs was part of a total war, and Japan was not as innocent as one thought. As Father John A. Siemes, professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo's Catholic University, and an eyewitness to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima says:

We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians (45).

This quotation explains the uses for the atomic bomb, but it is the last line that really drives home the point. As Siemes says, it really is illogical to support total war in one hand, while one complains about civilian casualties in the other. The civilians though, were constantly helping the Japanese during war times by building things like ships, ordinance, military equipment, and other war materials in their fight against the Americans; everyone had their part in the war. The next argument people had with the atomic bomb is that it was militarily unnecessary. There were those who thought we could win the war with a straight forward invasion of Iwo Jima, which was ultimately called by President Truman as Operation: DOWNFALL. This however, I feel like is not the answer to the war, for the invasion would have at least killed another quarter of a million soldiers, and would leave both sides feeling like there was no victor. It wasn't militarily unnecessary to drop the bombs because it was a speedy end for the war that saved lives. For example, in a letter dated December 12, 1946, President Truman explained the basis for his decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan:

I have no qualms about it whatever for the simple reason that it was believed that the dropping of not more than two of these bombs would bring the war to a close. The Japanese in their conduct of the war had been vicious and cruel savages and I came to the conclusion that if two hundred and fifty thousand young Americans could be saved from slaughter the bomb should be dropped, and it was ... these cities on which the bombs were dropped were devoted almost exclusively to the manufacture of ammunition and weapons of destruction (Learning Network).

This shows that there were other reasons for why we bombed Japan other than just saving troops lives. Hiroshima was used as headquarters of the Fifth Division and the 2nd General Army, which commanded the defense of southern Japan with 40,000 military personnel in the city. There was also a communication center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops that proved vital (Lawrence 2). Nagasaki on the other hand, was in charge of factory production and "was highly important as a major shipbuilding and repair center for both naval and merchantmen" (Lawrence 4). So bombings actually proved to be necessary, and in the end they were dropped due to military strategic planning and the ultimate goal of saving lives. The last argument that people have is something

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