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Research Paper on Ww2

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Spencer Dodson


US History (4)

26 April 2010


Death, fire, and war are the only senses that surround you. Friends, countrymen, and beloved war-mates(word choice) lie helplessly in a dead rotting heap. The Enemy is constantly blowing themselves up right in front of you, many of them riddled with scars of scorched skin or entrails protruding from within. These visions of death and horror are some of the few that made up the reality of WWII. Nearing the end of the war, thousands of soldiers were dying on a monthly basis; It was getting out of hand and Truman decided to put a stop to it (http:/www. essortment. com/all/presidenttruman_rywp. htm). The Enola Gay, a skilled bomber, flew over the city of Hiroshima and dropped the world's first atomic bomb. The bomb, nicknamed "little boy," was dropped at 8:16 a. m. and was detonated a few thousand feet over the ground (http://www. eyewitnesstohistory. com/vohiroshima. htm). This atomic bomb took an estimated 129,558 lives on impact and yet, the Japanese leaders did not surrender till the United States rendered a second attack. Three days after the first atomic bomb, "little boy", America dropped its second atomic bomb nicknamed "fat man. " The second bomb fell upon the city of Nagasaki and it caused a gaping crater in the earth that was 1,200 feet in diameter. It wasn't until August 14th that Japan finally agreed to unconditional surrender (http://www. eyewitnesstohistory. com/vohiroshima. htm). Though these two atomic weapons caused massive casualties and left nuclear fallout, I believe that the United States acted reasonably when it chose to drop the atomic bombs. The United States was justified in its actions because in doing so the US was able to demonstrate its position as a major world power and it proved this by showing its technological capabilities with its atomic bombs. In addition, the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki also saved countless of US lives that would have been lost in an assault on the Japanese mainland.

The Axis was spiraling out of control and the United States knew that if it did not demonstrate its strength as a world power that immediately that not only could many American lives be put at stake on foreign war fronts, but that it was quite possible that war would spread onto mainland United States, just as it had at Pearl Harbor. By dropping the atomic bombs on Japan the United States guaranteed that the rest of the world would henceforth respect it as a premier world power. The decision to drop the two most powerful bombs in history on Hiroshima and Nagasaki made the abilities and powers of the US clear to not only the Axis powers, but the entire world. After dropping the bomb Truman released information about just how powerful the atomic bomb was, specifically that the "bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT" (Harry S. Truman; http://www. trumanlibrary. org/whistlestop/study_collections/bomb/large/index. php). The first atomic bomb, "little boy", was by far the most powerful bomb ever dropped. When The US dropped the "little boy," the people near ground zero were completely obliterated and people further away from the initial point of detonation still experienced a huge flash of heat and seconds after the heat was followed by a loud boom, the result of which was thousands of people who were incinerated to death through the immense heat. (http://www. cfo. doe. gov/me70/manhattan/hiroshima. htm). The bomb was a decisive blow to Japan and showed everyone including the Axis forces how powerful the United States really was. In addition, "Japanese troops had demonstrated time and again that they could fight and inflict heavy casualties even when the outlook was hopeless. " (http://www. globalsecurity. org/wmd/library/report/other/70-7_23. htm). The atomic bomb was a huge confirmation of how strong we truly were. By using such brute force against the Japanese the United States could all but officially guarantee a Japanese unconditional surrender. As the Japanese were fighting against the US in the Pacific, the United States needed a quick, powerful alternative that would not only show the Japanese the power the United States had, but could also simultaneously strike fear into the minds of any who would choose to oppose such a great world power. The decision to use atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only gave the Allies the upper hand in the Second World War, but it also cemented the United States a world power for many years following the bombings. However, military supremacy was not the only goal of the atomic bombs.

In addition to showing its strength on a military level, the United States also used the atomic bombs to show its strength in the world technological race. The atomic bombs were a symbol of not only the capabilities the US had with force, but also with its superior scientists and technological advances. The US "spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history," and the atomic bombs were its way of showing results for the resources poured into the project. The US chose to allocate vital economic assets in the race for the first atomic bomb. Spending large amounts of money to be the first to develop a bomb but not put it to use would have been a sign of weakness against the United States. It would have lead other countries to believe the US could not trust its own scientists and researchers and the developments they had made. One scientist recalled, "it was a "neck-and-neck race with the Germans," the outcome of which might well determine who would be the victor in World War II" (http://www. globalsecurity. org/wmd/library/report/other/70-7_23. htm). The race to produce the atomic bomb would not only prove the technological abilities of the United States, but the outcome of the war very well depended on it. If the US had chosen to pass on dropping the bombs, and Germany had developed its own atomic bomb and used it before the US had, the entire face of the war in Europe and therefore the entire outcome of the war could have been shifted in favor of the Axis powers. By quickly using the technology at its disposal, the United States prevented other countries from having the time they may have needed to create their own atomic bombs. Finally, the victories won in the war were the main goal, but ". . . the greatest marvel is not the size of enterprise, its secrecy, nor its cost, but the achievement of science. " Beyond the concept of war, the ability for the US to successfully develop and use an atomic bomb was a matter of pride for the scientists, researchers, and every single



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