Olivia Wilde Mrs. Rowe Sophomore Honors, 1A



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Olivia Wilde

Mrs. Rowe

Sophomore Honors, 1A

March 3, 2015

The Decision

With World War Two continuing, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, “a date that will live in infamy” as stated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “(A Date that Will Live in Infamy)”.. As a result of the actions of the Japanese, America got actively involved in the war, which later lead to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. America was just in dropping the bombs on Japan because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and because they failed to surrender after the first bombing. As a result, America had to create the atomic bomb to push Japan to surrender.  

One reason the atomic bomb was dropped was because when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor it got America actively engaged in the war.  The attack on Pearl Harbor changed the lives of Americans. Many people died and lost loved ones. “There were 2,500 casualties and 1,000 wounded” (Maranzani,). Johnie and Dale Gano were eyewitnesses of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Johnie and Dale said that it started off as a normal Sunday, they were deciding whether or not to attend church “the decision was suddenly made for us by loud explosions” “(Pearl Harbor Story: Interview with Pearl Harbor Eyewitness)”. Johnie and Dale rushed outside and to their horror they saw tracer shells being fired at Pearl Harbor. “Watching Pearl Harbor being destroyed and thousands of lives lost put most of us into a state of shock (Pearl Harbor Story: Interview with Pearl Harbor Eyewitness).  Days after the bombing, those who had families were allowed to go and look for them. Few people were able to find their loved ones. The destruction from the bombs was devastating. “350 aircrafts were destroyed or damaged. All eight battle ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or badly damaged” (The First Atomic Bomb: “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”).America had to fight back.

The world’s most destructive bomb was dropped on Hiroshima because Japan was failing to do anything to stop the war. On August 6, 1945 the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, it was nicknamed “Little Boy”. “ The bomb’s size was three meters in length by 0.7 meters in diameter, using uranium 235 as its critical material” (Bomb Facts: How Nuclear Weapons are made). The second bomb that was dropped was on Nagasaki which was nicknamed the “Fat Man”. “This bomb had a core of plutonium 239, was 3.5 meters in length by 1.5 meters in diameter, and it weighed 4.5 tons.” (Bomb Facts: How Nuclear Weapons are made). “After the Hiroshima atomic bombing, the Japanese Army and Navy had sent separate teams of scientists to determine what type of bomb had destroyed the city. By August 11th, both teams had reported to Tokyo that the bomb was, indeed, atomic.” (Sigal,).The dropping of the atomic bomb required strategic planning. The Americans knew how high to drop the bomb for the most damage, what the weather was supposed to be like on the day of the bombing, and the status of their targets. This helped America drop the bomb exactly where they planned it and to determine the destruction that the bomb would make on Japan.

Another reason why the bomb was dropped on Japan was because the Japanese failed to surrender after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Not surrendering after the first bomb lead to the decision to drop a second one on Nagasaki. “Japan had received what would seem to have been overwhelming shocks. Yet, after two atomic bombings, massive conventional bombings, and the Soviet invasion, the Japanese government still refused to surrender.” (Long).America’s decision to drop the bombs on Japan was the right decision because it ended the war earlier and saved lives in Japan as well as America. President Truman stated “we have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans” (Long). Japan had the opportunities to surrender after multiple attacks, but they were strong unyielding people who would not give up easily.

Those opposed say Japan strived to end the war through peace messages. On July 11th, 1945 Japan sent a message saying, “ make clear to Russia… we have no intention of annexing of taking possession of the areas which we have been occupying as a result of the war; we hope to terminate the war. (Long).  This was one of multiple messages sent to America from Japan seeking to end the war. Japan also confronted the Soviet Union about ending the war. The Soviet Union was one of America’s allies during the war. A couple days after the bombing of Hiroshima the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. Although Japan tired to end the war by sending peace messages, the messages were not clear and direct. Japan was also unwilling to give up territory that they occupied during the war; they wanted an “unconditional surrender.” This meant that Japan would surrender without any terms or conditions. America repeatedly denied this offer. At this time “Japan’s leaders were divided over precisely what terms should be sought to end the war… Japan’s leaders hold the lion’s share of the responsibility for the fate that befell Japan.” (Long).



Another reason the bomb was questionable was that it damaged everything in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dr. Masakazu Fujii was reading outside his hospital when the bomb was dropped. His hospital was destroyed when it fell into a river after the bombing. Fujii broke his left collar bone, but he still helped the refugees with their injuries (Hersey). After the bombings Dr. Fujii had to rebuild his life, home, and hospital. Dr. Masakazu Fujii was one of many people who had to rebuild their life because of the destruction of the atomic bomb. “… Truman’s decision was a barbaric act that brought negative long-term consequences to the United States. A new age of terror…” ( The Decision to Drop the Bomb). Many Japanese people believed that unleashing the atomic bomb was uncalled for. “Some military analysts insist that Japan was on its knees and the bombings were simply unnecessary” “(The Decision to Drop the Bomb).”The dropping of the bombs did ruin houses, buildings, and lives were lost, but by dropping the bomb it ended the war earlier and saved many lives. “The key concern for the Japanese military was loss of honor, not Japan’s destruction…” (Sigal). President Truman knew that by dropping the bomb it would “unleash the most terrible weapon ever known”. “For Truman, the choice whether or not to use the atomic bomb was the most difficult decision of his life” “(The Decision to Drop the Bomb).” The war had been going on for four years and “American soldiers and civilians were weary… yet the Japanese military was refusing to give up their fight” “(The Decision to Drop the Bomb).”

America made the right decision by dropping the bombs on Japan. Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima did the same internal damage, but by dropping the bombs on Japan it ended the war and saved years of destruction for both America and Japan. Lives were lost in the process, but lives were saved because of the decision to drop the atomic bomb.  Dropping the bomb ended four years of destruction, losing family, and war. “The ethical debate over the decision to drop the atomic bomb will never be resolved. The bombs did, however, bring an end to the most destructive war in history” “(The Decision to Drop the Bomb).”


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