The Pros And Cons Of Nuclear Weapons

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Nuclear Weapons “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent.” (Oppenheimer). This infamous quote comes from J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “Father of the Atomic bomb”, describing the reaction of observers watching the first successful test of an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer was correct, nuclear weapons have changed the world. However, whether that change has been for better or for worse is a topic for debate. While nuclear weapons do have the capability of causing massive death and destruction, one must not ignore the fact that they can also be used to prevent death. Nuclear weapons can be used to force wars to end early. In 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing Japan to surrender unconditionally. The bombings resulted in approximately 199,000 casualties; however, there would have been even more casualties if the war continued (U.S., D.O.D., Manhattan Eng. District of the U.S. Army). A conservative estimate by the Joint War Plans Committee during WWII predicted that if the United States invaded the Japanese home islands, there would be between 132,500 and 220,000 U.S. casualties (31). Please note that this number does not include the number of Japanese casualties, which would likely be greater than the U.S. casualties based on data from previous battles (Joint War Plans Committee 66). If we combine the estimated American and Japanese casualties, it becomes clear that the

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