On August 6th, 1945, during World Ward 2, the US dropped the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, immediately killing 80,000 people. On August 9th, the second bomb was dropped in Nagasaki, killing 40,000 people.
On August 15th, the Emperor Hirohito, released a radio statement where he said Japan was surrendering.
If you were in President Truman's position, would you have dropped those bombs?
- Yes, I would have dropped the bombsVote A
- No, I wouldn't have dropped the bombsVote B
- I'm too ignorant about history, I don't know what I would have doneVote C
Most Helpful Girl
There's no question here.
The dropping of the bombs was horrific, but, war is horrific, and all too often people make the mistake of looking at acts of war in a vacuum.
We have to consider the question "What would have happened instead?"
If we HADN'T dropped the bombs, it's absolutely certain that the fighting would have dragged on MUCH longer, with many times more casualties.
There are at least 3 important points to consider here.
120,000 casualties isn't a huge number, in relative terms.
I mean, for comparison's sake, in the battle of Iwo Jima -- where my grandfather served as a Navajo code talker (4th Marine Div) -- there were about 20,000 Japanese casualties, and Iwo Jima was a shitty little backwater island with almost no strategic importance.
If the war had been allowed to drag on, there probably would have been MILLIONS of additional casualties.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were weapons stockpile / armory locations, if I remember right. They weren't, like, random civilian targets that were bombed out of senseless cruelty. They were chosen VERY carefully, for maximum strategic effect at minimum collateral cost.
The entire nation of Japan was indoctrinated with the Kamikaze suicide mentality -- and the USSR was right there on the border ready to strike, along with Communist China.
Basically, we had to strike fear in the hearts of the rest of the fucking world.
How best to do that?
With a really, really, really big blast, that's how.
Truman was the type who definitely put the "gentle" in gentleman. He was NOT the type who would have made this sort of decision lightly.
If someone like Truman gave the green light, he really must have had no other realistic choice.2
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Most Helpful Guy
No, I certainly wouldn't have dropped the bombs.
And here's why:
First of all, just to make clear to everyone that I'm not ignorant about history: I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in history. So clearly, I'm more of an expert than most people on here. I understand there are reasons for and against it. And I myself used to wonder if it was perhaps the right decision to drop those bombs. But here's the thing: Last year I went on a big trip to Japan with my best friend. On that trip, we also spent 3 days in Hiroshima. On one of those 3 days, we visited the Atomic Bomb Museum. It's a pretty big and incredibly educational museum. But it's not just informational, it's also heart-wrenching. I don't get easily affected by sad things and this was literally one of the saddest things I've ever experienced. We spent about 4 hours in that museum and when we came out, both of us couldn't speak for HALF AN HOUR. We just walked quietly next to each other, both lost in thoughts. I was so close to crying in that museum, I was glad my friend was a bit faster and usually already in the next room. Some of these stories that I read and heard (on audio) in that museum still haunt me today. For example of a dad who only managed to identify his completely burned 8-year old daughter because he noticed her half-molten blue bicycle next to her. I don't have children and I almost died inside when reading and hearing these stories. I don't even want to know how I would have felt had I a daughter of my own at home.
People say Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military bases - well maybe. The fact is that the large majority of victims were - and are - innocent civilians. This "are" is particularly important. There are people STILL TODAY who suffer from these bombs. There are still today children being born with gruesome disabilities and mutations. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died of cancer years and decades after the bombs had been dropped. So claiming that the bombs saved lives is extremely cynical. Yes, it saved GI-lives. But it destroyed MILLIONS of lives of innocent Japanese families. These people who had to look for their daughters and sons and their moms and girlfriends and brothers and sisters in the ruins of those cities... these people weren't fascists. They were normal people, most of whom suffered from their own government and who didn't care much about politics. Anyone who has been to that museum can't possibly say yes to your question anymore.4
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