Evaluate the reasons for US use of atomic weapons against Japan as a quick way to end WW2.

Atomic weapons were used against Japan as a quick way to end World War II. President Harry Truman decided to deploy them because of unyielding and strong Japanese military resistance, his lack of trust in Japanese negotiators, and a desire to keep the Soviet Union out of Japan.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The American decision to use atomic weapons against Japan was among the most controversial of World War II. Their use on two Japanese cities remains unique as the only occasion when nuclear weapons were employed in warfare. Why did President Harry Truman decide to use the terrible weapons against Japan...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The American decision to use atomic weapons against Japan was among the most controversial of World War II. Their use on two Japanese cities remains unique as the only occasion when nuclear weapons were employed in warfare. Why did President Harry Truman decide to use the terrible weapons against Japan in August 1945?

First, Japanese resistance during the two largest battles in 1945 was fanatical. The Japanese held out for five weeks on Iwo Jima and three months in Okinawa during hard-fought battles. The thousands of Japanese troops on those two islands fought to the death, and they inflicted heavy losses on their American adversaries. The Japanese also employed kamikazes, and they sent the Yamato battleship on a suicide mission. These two land battles were seen as a presage to the kind of resistance that would happen if a land invasion of Japan itself had to be carried out.

Second, the heavy American bombing of Japanese cities had not ended the war. Thousands of civilians died in the air raids, but Japan fought on.

Third, although Sweden was serving as a mediator, Truman did not believe the Japanese were sincere about making peace. He simply did not trust them.

Finally, Truman did not want Soviet troops in Japan. The Soviet Union entered the war in August 1945, but Truman did not want their help. He did not want Moscow to have a role in shaping postwar Japan.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team