The Decision: Atomic Bomb

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The use of an atomic bomb is something that has lingered in the conscience of many Americans since the American B-29 Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb ever used on August 6, 1945. The United States was urging Japan to surrender, when they refused to comply with these terms, the bomb was dropped and 100,000 people were killed. Two professors of American History, Robert James Maddox and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, share their opposing views on weather the atomic bomb was necessary to end World War II. Maddox claims that the atomic bomb forced the Japanese army to agree to surrender, which significantly saved more lives than would have been lost. Hasegawa asserts that the Soviet invasion of Japan was a more prominent reasoning for surrender in…show more content…
Word would spread of weapons that could have prevented it all and Truman chose not to use them and would go down in the books as America’s villain. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa battles Maddox by arguing all the “what if” scenarios that could have possibly been better alternatives to using the atomic bomb. He questions why Truman didn’t accept a provision in the Potsdam ultimatum that would allow the Japanese to retain a constitutional monarchy. If Truman were to permit that provision it would have cut off Japan’s reliance on Moscow’s mediation and instigate Japan’s surrender months sooner (Hasegawa p. 245). Hasegawa proposes that Truman had an undisclosed reason for not accepting the provision. He knew that Japan would refuse his terms and wanted the rejection to justify the use of the atomic bomb (Hasegawa p. 246). Hasegawa explores other possibilities, perhaps involving Stalin in the Potsdam Proclamation so Japan would finally give up hope of the Russian mediation. Thus, Japan would be forced to face the terms presented by Truman and give a clear status of surrender. Hasegawa attributes the Japanese surrender to the soviet invasion rather than the atomic bombs anyway. “An alternative was available, but they chose not to take it” (Hasegawa p. 247). Hasegawa believes that there were multiple routes Truman could have taken and avoided nuclear warfare, instead, his actions were motivated by
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