The Consequences Of The Manhattan Project

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The Manhattan Project: the End of World War II or the Beginning of the Nuclear Weapons Age? In August of 1945, the United States military was beaten, battered, and ready to end World War II. The Germans had surrendered, silencing the European theatre, but the Japanese threat remained in the Pacific. The American forces knew that an invasion of Japan would cost nearly half a million lives, an amount which President Truman felt could not be sacrificed. In an effort to end the war quickly, with minimum American lives lost, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Now, seventy two years later, it is easy to look at the ramifications of the atomic bomb and call America’s actions unwise and catastrophic. However, the leaders of the American military saw the bomb as the only option to end World War II. The dropping of the atomic bomb effectively ended World War II, but its consequences not only drastically affected the people of Japan, but also determined the future of military weapons technology. To understand why President Truman decided to drop the bomb, one must first understand the political and military climate of August 1945, as well as the entire war. On December 7th, 1941, Japanese forces attacked the American naval base Pearl Harbor. On December 8th, President Roosevelt delivered the “day of infamy” speech to congress, and congress declared war. Four years and 416,800 American deaths later, Japan still posed a formidable threat to
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