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Why shouldn't the United States have dropped the atomic bomb on Japan? Please answer with three criteria.

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The most commonly cited argument against the use of the atomic bombs against Japan is that they were inhumane. They killed over 200,000 people in the blasts alone. Many more died later as a result of burns and radiation-induced sickness. The bombs killed civilians indescribably. The atomic bombs were not used against military targets, but rather against whole cities and their civilian populations. It is true that the firebombings of cities occurred throughout the war. Tokyo itself had already been devastated by the use of conventional firebombs resulting in around 100,000 deaths. However, it has been argued that the type of injuries and wholesale destruction caused by nuclear fission is completely unacceptable in war.

It has also been argued that the use of atomic bombs was unnecessary because Japan was already on the verge of defeat. By the summer of 1945, their Pacific empire had been dismantled by the American island-hopping strategy. They had retreated from much of mainland Asia and were just barely holding on in Manchuria. Their combat capacity had been decimated by years of fighting and a series of major military defeats. They were simply running out of personnel and supplies to effectively continue the war. Conventional warfare had already crippled Japan's fighting forces, so it was likely not necessary to use atomic weapons to complete the job.

A third reason against using the atomic bombs was that it did not allow the Soviets time to enter the war against Japan. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin had agreed to enter the war against Japan two to three months after the defeat of Germany. With Germany's surrender on May 9, the Soviets had until August 9 to declare war against Japan. A weakened Japan could not offer much resistance to being attacked by both the United States and the Soviet Union at the same time. However, the United States (perhaps partly to send a message to the Soviets) bombed Hiroshima on August 6, without waiting for the Soviets to start their attack, which began three days later in Manchuria.

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There were reasons for and reasons against the United States dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. I will focus on why we shouldn’t have dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.

One reason why we shouldn’t have dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan was that it would kill many innocent civilians. Many Japanese people would die from the radiation and/or would suffer long-term consequences. This weapon wouldn’t just affect the Japanese soldiers. It would affect many Japanese people for generations to come.

Another reason for not dropping the atomic bombs was that it would usher in the atomic age. There would be other countries that would try to get the atomic bomb. If one of these countries got the atomic bomb and believed in different ideologies and philosophies than we believed, it could cause serious worldwide problems. Back in the 1940s as well as today, we worry about the “wrong” countries getting atomic or nuclear weapons.

A third reason for not using the atomic bomb is that we didn’t give Japan enough time to respond to the Potsdam Ultimatum. It was only one week after we issued the warning that the first atomic bomb was dropped. Then we dropped the second bomb just three days after the first atomic bomb was dropped. Many people believe we should have waited longer before dropping the first atomic bomb and then dropping the second atomic bomb.

Finally, some people believe Japan was near defeat in 1945. If we used conventional warfare involving the air force, the army, and the navy, Japan may have surrendered without using these devastating bombs.

There were several reasons why the atomic bombs should not have been dropped on Japan.

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