Discuss whether the bombing of Hiroshima was necessary.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that it is difficult to fully obtain an answer to this without some element of revisionist history in play.  If we were to assume the conditions of the time period, "the fog of war" figures large in the calculation of dropping the atomic bomb.  The Japanese were seen as a formidable threat in the Far East/ Pacific Theatre.  The looming image of Pearl Harbor, reflecting the capacity of the Japanese to launch intense attacks, still lingered in the minds of many American policy makers.  There was little to indicate that the Japanese would fully surrender without the Emperor retaining power, confirmed by the fact that the Japanese troops were still engaging the Allied forces in the Pacific Theatre.  At the same time, there was considerable mistrust that the Soviet Union could negotiate a truce that would be beneficial to the Japanese and all of the Allied Forces, America, in particular.  This misrust was valid in Stalin's declaration of war on Japan once the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  The belief was that dropping the atomic bomb was necessary at the time in order to keep the war from taking more American soldiers and ensuring that Japan would no longer be a threat to Allied interests.  There is a fairly persuasive case against dropping the Atomic Bomb.  Where I think that the challenges emerge is in how arguing this point enters into the realm of revisionist history and more of the hypothetical realm where less substantiation is evident.  In assessing if the act of dropping the bomb was necessary, I think that one has to examine the state of affairs at the time, going on the same credible eviidece that decision makers had at the time in front of them, in real time.  In this, I think that a stronger case can be made that dropping the bomb was a necessary act.

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