Hiroshima bombing essay questions

What was at stake was the definition of the kokutai national policy. More intercepted messages on the bombing of Hiroshima. The first Japanese surrender offer was intercepted shortly before Tokyo broadcast it. A full translation of the surrender offer was circulated separately. The translations differ but they convey the sticking point that prevented U. Unfortunately, AP would not authorize the Archive to reproduce this item without payment. Therefore, we are publishing an excised version of the entry, with a link to the Byrnes note. With Japan close to capitulation, Truman asserted presidential control and ordered a halt to the atomic bombings.

Document 67 : General L. Groves to Chief of Staff George C.

Marshall Papers, George C. In the course of the conversation, Harriman received a message from Washington that included the proposed U. After considerable pressure from Harriman, the Soviets signed off on the reply but not before tensions surfaced over the control of Japan --whether Moscow would have a Supreme Commander there as well.

This marked the beginning of a U.

70 years after Hiroshima, opinions have shifted on use of atomic bomb | Pew Research Center

As various factions in the government were maneuvering on how to respond to the Byrnes note, Navy Minister Yonai and Admiral Tagaki discussed the latest developments. As Yonai explained to Tagaki, he also confronted naval vice chief Takijiro Onishi to make sure that he too obeyed any decision by the emperor.

Yonai made sure that Takagi understood his reasons for bringing the war to an end and why he believed that the atomic bomb and the Soviet declaration of war were making it easier for Japan to surrender. The Byrnes Note did not break the stalemate at the cabinet level. An account of the cabinet debates on August 13 prepared by Director of Information Toshiro Shimomura showed the same divisions as before with Anami and a few other ministers continuing to argue that the Allies threatened the kokutai and that setting the four conditions no occupation, etc.

Meanwhile, junior Army officers plotted a coup to thwart the plans for surrender. Marshall Papers copy courtesy of Barton J. Seeman, to continue thinking about further nuclear use and its relationship to the problem of an invasion of Japan. In articles, Barton Bernstein and Marc Gallicchio used this and other documents to develop the argument that concepts of tactical nuclear weapons use first came to light at the close of World War II.

That important elements in the Japanese Army were unwilling to surrender is evident from intercepted messages dated 12 and 13 August. Frightened about the rapid movement of Soviet forces into Manchuria and worried that the army might launch a coup, the peace party set in motion a plan to persuade Hirohito to meet with the cabinet and the "Big Six" to resolve the stalemate over the response to the Allies.

Japan was already a day late in responding to the Byrnes Note and Hirohito agreed to move quickly. At a. This account, prepared by Director of Information Shimomura, conveys the drama of the occasion as well as his interest in shifting the blame for the debacle to the Army. After Suzuki gave the war party--Umeza, Toyoda, and Anami--an opportunity to present their arguments against accepting the Byrnes Note, he asked the emperor to speak.

Asking the leadership to accept the Note, Hirohito argued that continuing the war would reduce the nation "to ashes.

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According to Bix, "Hirohito's language helped to transform him from a war to a peace leader, from a cold, aloof monarch to a human being who cared for his people" but "what chiefly motivated him … was his desire to save a politically empowered throne with himself on it. Hirohito said that he would make a recording of the surrender announcement so that the nation could hear it. That evening army officers tried to seize the palace and find Hirohito's recording, but the coup failed. Early the next day, General Anami committed suicide.

On the morning of August 15, Hirohito broadcast the message to the nation although he never used the word "surrender". This summary includes an intercepted account of the destruction of Nagasaki. Confronting the Problem of Radiation Poisoning. Rea, Oak Ridge Hospital, a. Despite the reports pouring in from Japan about radiation sickness among the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , General Groves and Dr. Documents 77a-b: General Farrell Surveys the Destruction. His vivid accounts show that senior military officials in the Manhattan Project were no longer dismissive of reports of radiation poisoning.

The editor thanks Barton J. Bernstein, J. Samuel Walker, and Gar Alperovitz for their suggestions. The editor also gratefully acknowledges the scholarship of Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, whose recent book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan Cambridge, Harvard University Press, , includes invaluable information on Japanese primary sources.

Professor Hasegawa kindly provided copies of some of the materials that were translated in this compilation. The editor also thanks Kyle Hammond for research assistance and Toshihiro Higuchi and Hikaru Tajima, graduate students in history at Georgetown University and the University of Tokyo respectively, for translating documents and answering many questions on the Japanese sources. The World Wide Web includes significant documentary resources on these events. The documents, however, were scanned with earlier software and are not as easy to use as they could be.

For a print collection of documents, see Dennis Merrill ed. For the early criticisms and their impact on former officials, see Barton J. For reviews of the controversy, see Barton J. For the extensive literature, see the references in J. The editor particularly benefited from perusing the sources cited in the following works: Robert S. Knopf, ; Richard B. Alperovitz, ; Bernstein , ; Norris, See Bernstein , As Alperovitz notes, the Davies papers include variant diary entries and it is difficult to know which versions are the most accurate.

Bernstein , Walker , Bernstein, Introduction to Helen S. Hawkins, et al. Herbert P. For a recent review of the debate on casualty estimates, see Walker , , , , , and Marshall: Statesman, New York: Viking, , Pogue only cites the JCS transcript of the meeting; presumably, an interview with a participant was the source of the McCloy quote. See National Security Archive electronic briefing book no.

Alperovitz, , ; Frank, Maddox, ; Hasegawa, See also Walker , Bernstein, introduction, Toward a Livable World , xxxvii-xxxviii. For the distances, see Norris, For on-line resources on the first atomic test, see www. Hasegawa, 28, Frank, ; Bernstein , ; Walker , Maddox, ; Alperovitz, ; Hasegawa, Hasegawa, Maddox, Alperovitz, ; Frank, Alperovitz, Hasegawa, ; Bix, Bix, , Frank, Sherwin, ; Bernstein , ; Maddox, The Supreme War Council comprised the prime minister, foreign minister, army and navy ministers, and army and navy chiefs of staff.

For the maneuverings on August 9 and the role of the kokutai , see Hasegawa, , Hasegawa, , Contents of this website Copyright National Security Archive.

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All rights reserved. Terms and conditions for use of materials found on this website. A nuclear weapon of the "Little Boy" type, the uranium gun-type detonated over Hiroshima. It is 28 inches in diameter and inches long. Copy from U. A nuclear weapon of the "Fat Man" type, the plutonium implosion type detonated over Nagasaki.

Taken at Tinian Island on the afternoon of August 5, , this shows the tail of the Enola Gay being edged over the pit and into position to load "Little Boy" into the bomb bay. The weapon is in the pit covered with canvas. Various personnel and guards are standing around the loading area. Photo from U. This shows the "Little Boy" weapon in the pit ready for loading into the bomb bay of Enola Gay. This shows "Little Boy" being raised for loading into the Enola Gay's bomb bay. The strategic environment and technological capabilities for a revolution did not exist in and not until much later.

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This essay oscillates between American and Soviet perspectives to give a fair appraisal of attitudes to the atomic arrival. To explain this reasoning, the understanding of the nuclear revolution must first be explained. Secondly, placing the understanding of the nuclear revolution within the historical-technological and strategic context of the immediate post-war world shows how the prerequisites of a nuclear revolution did not begin to exist before the Soviets had an initial thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM capability.

Last of all there is a brief sketch of why the nuclear revolution came about in the later years of the Cold War due to technological and strategic developments — primarily the mass production of survivable thermonuclear weapons and ICBMs on both sides. What is the nuclear revolution? Here it is understood to be the strategic environment when a thermonuclear second strike capability is attained by both sides in a relationship.

This acute hostage logic changes the calculus of going to war against a similarly-armed opponent. Military victory would not be required to be able to hurt the enemy. The power to militarily oppose is dwarfed by the power to hurt. The inability of a society to survive a nuclear war is a key component of the construction of the nuclear revolution. Below, we will see how Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not contain the hallmarks of such a revolution. Bernard Brodie, as one of the earliest nuclear strategists, was very prophetic in his hypotheses about the influence of nuclear weaponry on force and statecraft.

The notion that security lies in retaliatory capabilities is also echoed by Brodie. However, the leap between fission and fusion bombs must not be underestimated. As late as , the concepts of strategic bombing that had emerged before and during the war had continued to provide an adequate framework to think about how an atomic war would be fought. Trachtenberg is sceptical of the significance of the events of August in reference to strategic thought and the capacity for warfare with new atomic technology. He believes that atomic bombs were not powerful enough to limit the importance of numbers and accuracy as opposed to hydrogen bombs.

Mandelbaum portrayed pre-atomic wars as wars of wills between soldiers, and in contrast a nuclear exchange would be one of endurance and annihilation. Consequently, Trachtenberg is also incorrect in neglecting the political nature of nuclear war. Such a war would also be a war of wills; of politics. Brodie preserves the relevance of Clausewitz by claiming that nuclear weaponry would have to be carefully used to serve political goals. However, there were elements on the American side that hinted at the new possibilities of the atomic bomb. There were high-level discussions as to where the first a-bomb should be deployed in a Japanese city, a neutral test site with international observers or a largely unpopulated Japanese area.

This hinted at the possibility that some individuals with considerable influence in American policy did not treat the atomic bomb as just another weapon. Some Soviet scientists, such as Georgy Flerov, understood the military significance of the atomic bomb, and its leap in destructive capabilities, before the events of August Initially he believed that the power balance had been destroyed.

However, shortly after the dust had settled, Soviet embassy agents had reconnoitred the remains of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and accused the Japanese authorities of exaggerating the devastation of the bombs. Conflict with the capitalists was, in dialectical terms, inevitable. It involved economic recuperation, military modernisation, the pursuit of the atomic bomb and the establishing of security zones to the west and the east of the Union.

Dinerstein also claims that in the early Cold War, Soviet leaders did not believe that the deployment of atomic weaponry would decide the outcome of war. They wanted to demonstrate to the Japanese that they faced overwhelmingly superior forces. They also wanted their new rivals, the Soviet Union, to see their powerful new weapon in action. In , the idea of just war was firmly established in international law. In a just war, only combatants may be specifically targeted. Harm caused to civilians must be proportional to military ends and any harm caused must be necessary for the achievement of military goals.

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Bombing of Hiroshima Essay

However, some argue that all citizens contribute to the war effort and can be a legitimate target in some cases. Click or tap each of the icons below to discover some of the surprising things key people thought at the time.


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In this video, photographer Yoshito Matsushige describes what it felt like to be in Hiroshima immediately after the explosion. His photographs are the only known images taken in the city on the day of the bombing. A timeline of the events in the days and hours before the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Over , British, US and Canadian soldiers had landed by air and sea and pushed their way several miles inland.

But what if the invasion hadn't gone to plan? The Blitz of WW2, sometimes known as the London Blitz, was the German bombing campaign that lasted eight months and targeted 16 British cities.