Atomic Bomb: Alperovitz Essay

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Why did the Truman Administration decide to drop the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945? There has been much debate as to why Truman elected to drop the atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the summer of 1945. Historians have long debated the true purpose to which the atomic bombs were designed to fulfil upon there deployment. The Alperovitz thesis of the 1960 was accepted for many years. The thesis revolved around the idea that the atomic weapons were deployed as diplomatic tools to intimidate the Soviet Union. Like many revisionist historians this essay will oppose the thesis of Alperovitz, and in doing so, attempt to understand why it was that the Truman administration decided to drop the atomic weapons on Japan in the summer of…show more content…
Japanese officers high and low had been ready to fight till the death because surrender was considered dishonourable.'[6] To ensure that the fighting in the Pacific was completely nullified Truman had to destroy the Japanese will to fight. As Bonnet illustrates ‘winning the conflict was not only contingent on removing the opponent’s material capacity to resist, but also, its psychological capacity to resist.'[7]Truman's diary entries suggests that he understood that the Japanese defeat by invasion, would not necessarily guarantee the defeat of the Japanese throughout the entirety of the Pacific theatre, as his entry from August 6th suggests: ‘That its power may be an overwhelming influence towards peace.[8] Clearly, Truman understood that Japan had to be defeated psychologically as well as militarily if their defeat was to be ensured throughout the Pacific theatre of war. It was therefore paramount that Truman used the Atomic weapons to ensure the sustainability of peace in the Pacific and thus ensure that no more American lives would be lost. It was this aspect of the Atomic weapons deployment which was perhaps most attractive to Truman when he was considering how to bring about the defeat of the Japanese in June 1945. Truman did have other alternatives to the Atomic weapons by 1945; one such alternative to the Atomic weapons was to adjust the surrender terms to the Japanese. Another argument brought forward by Alperovitz in his thesis is the decision of the
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