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Why did the United States drop the atomic bombs in World War II?

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besure77 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki was bombed on August 9th. These are the only two atomic attacks that have occurred in history.

By dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we showed the whole world how technologically advanced we were. We had capabilities that other nations did not have. After we dropped these bombs, World War II ended very quickly. On August 16th, Japan surrended to the allied powers.

The atomic bombings led Japan to adopt the "Three Non-Nuclear Principles." Although it was never adopted into law it stated that Japan will never have nuclear weapons in their country. They came to this conclusion because of the devastation they seen caused by the bombs droped in their country at the end of WWII.

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kapokkid eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The bomb was actually dropped mainly to demonstrate to the Soviet Union that we had it.  Truman believed very strongly that he had to do something to show Stalin who was boss and this was one way they thought they could do it.  The idea of ending the...

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moustacio | Student

Perhaps one of the reasons that motivated the Americans to drop the atomic bombs on Japan was the fact that by using the bombs, the US could seek to control the circumstances of post-war Japan and to impose American control in the redesigning of Asia. The sheer costs and effort spent on developing the nuclear warhead during the Manhattan Project also meant that the concentration of cutting-edge scientists and engineers employed were generating a momentum that could not be stopped - they wanted to see the atomic bombs in use and Japan provided the best opportunity, at that time, to do so. Casualties were also a key factor. Truman had been informed by his military advisers that it was necessary to invade the Japanese mainland since the imperial army would fight on a suicidal scale to counter the American troops. Due to such a tenacity in fighting, a high casualty count was to be expected from the American forces. This estimation greatly influenced Truman in his decision-making, since the operationally-ready nuclear weapons could be used to force Japan to surrender without an invasion of the mainland and the incursion of high casualty numbers - they could be used to preserve American life.

stephanforsetikrone | Student

Certainly it saved many American Lives. But in addition,  because of the no-surrender culture of Imperial Japan, had a mainland invasion succeeded, there likely would have been more Japanese killed on the home islands from conventional warfare.

Germany was militarily defeated long before its' surrender. But Hitler insisted on fighting until the Russians were within hundreds of meters of the his headquarters in Berlin. It still took until May 7 (or 8th depending on your version) before Nazi Germany surrendered.

And the new Reich President of Germany, after Hitler's suicide, Admiral Doenitz, didn't surrender his government until about May 23, 1945.

Imagine having to occupy all of the Japanese home islands and what the battle of Tokyo would have been like! (For both sides).



krishna-agrawala | Student

USA was fighting a major bloody war with Japan when they dropped a bomb on Japan. This war well known as World War II had caused major devastation for people of countries on both sides of the war. Any action at that time taken to end the war swiftly was definitely justified to some degree.

USA dropped atom bomb on Japan to achieve just that objective, which it did achieve in reality also. Whether this option used by USA was the best is open to discussion. I personally believe, it may have been worthwhile to demonstrate the power of atom bomb without causing so much destruction, and then used this demonstration to force Japan to surrender. But his may or may not have achieved the desired result. In case of failure, it could have further strengthened the Japanese resolve to fight and thus cause more destruction.

figlover | Student

Basically it was to end the world word 2.

Japan was not surrendering despite the world's oppression, so the us president felt that japan needs something strong to stop them.

Righ after the drop of atomic bomb in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Japan surrendered and the war ended.

Apart from that, some experts think that the drop of atomic bomb also somewhat frightened soviet forces which was a benefit for US during the cold war.

But other experts say that there was no such ulterior motive, and US dropped it because they have spent millions of dollars to build the bomb and they could not waste it.

it was kind of out of topic but basically, the bomb was dropped in order to end the war quickly but killed so many people in return.