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Was dropping the atomic bombs on Japan the best decision the U.S could make?

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caveman111 | Honors

Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM via web

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Was dropping the atomic bombs on Japan the best decision the U.S could make?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:40 AM (Answer #1)

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This is, of course, a matter of opinion.  We can never hope to prove that the decision was the best possible.  However, I would definitely argue that it was the best choice for the US.  I would even argue that it was, overall, better for Japan.

If the US had not dropped the atomic bombs, Japan would not likely have surrendered without an invasion.  An invasion of the Japanese home islands would have been unimaginably bloody.  The Japanese had defended islands like Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa (which were not even part of the core of the Japanese homeland) furiously.  They had incurred large numbers of casualties on the Americans even though the islands were tiny when compared with any of the main islands of Japan.   Moreover, they had defended those islands almost literally to the last man. 

What this tells us is that millions of Americans and Japanese would have been killed or wounded in an invasion.  The US military estimated that it would take 1 million casualties if it invaded.  The toll on Japanese life would surely have been higher as the Japanese government was starting to train the citizenry to resist the US invasion, including through suicide attacks.

There was no other way to end the war quickly.  Therefore, in my view, dropping the bombs was the right thing to do.

 

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