What led to the decision to drop the atomic bomb?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

President Truman had to make a decision about what methods should be used to defeat Japan, which would bring World War II to an end. The United States could have used conventional methods to defeat Japan. We could have blockaded the coast of Japan, bombed Japan, and then sent our military into Japan. Another option was available. This option was to use the atomic bomb to end the war.

President Truman decided to use the atomic bomb. He knew that the invasion of Japan could lead to a huge loss of American life. It was believed there could be one million American casualties in an invasion of Japan. President Truman believed it was his responsibility to save as many American lives as possible. Using the atomic bomb would allow him to do that.

Some historians also believed we used the atomic bomb to demonstrate our military might to the Soviet Union. We were having issues with the Soviet Union. They weren’t following some of the agreements we had made with them. Some people believed the use of the atomic bomb would send a message to the Soviet Union. We hoped it would encourage the Soviet Union to follow agreements we made with them.