Atomic BombIn 1945, two bombs were dropped on Japan, on in Hiroshima and one in Nagasaki. Theses bombs marked the end to the world’s largest armed conflict. Despite the ghastly effects of such a weapon, it offered the best choice for a quick and easy defeat of Japan. President Truman, who authorized the use of the atomic bomb, made a wise decision under the circumstances of the war.
Fifty years ago this is what people thought. Now many people are starting to find out that there might be more to the story than what was originally thought (Grant 26). The bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima caused massive amounts of damage and ruined thousands of lives, but they saves many more lives by ending the war quickly. Many questions pop into the heads of people that might have doubts whether or not the bombings were necessary. Such questions might include: Why, exactly, was the bomb dropped? Was the second bomb necessary? Was Japan about to surrender? Was there a way to end the war less savagely? Would our current leaders have made the same decision? Was any authority opposed to the idea? Should we have bombed military bases instead of cities? These and many other questions arise. Before these are analyzed, a brief background on the bombs and the tests are in order (O’Neal 47).
When a man from the Soviet Union successfully split an atom, the question of a bomb immediately arose. Einstein wrote a letter to President Truman stating that if a bomb was possible then the country to own it would have complete power. In light of this information, Truman formed an Interim Committee to research the topic and find out if it was possible. It was funded by Truman’s multi-million dollar personal budget. The results came back positive and full financial support was given to the team to start working on it immediately (Grant 29). The calculations made by the research team were as follows.
The bomb would be equivalent to 4,000 planeloads of the current explosives. And estimate on cost and time could not be predicted because some still believed it wasn’t possible (Reflections 1). At the end of a three-year research, a bomb was ready for testing. A test site was cleared in New Mexico. It had a 120-mile radius.
Once the President gave the final confirmation, the test commenced. The test was on July 16, 1945, 30 min. before dawn (Teller 4). The scientist booth was 20 thousand feet away from ground zero. The bomb, weighing nearly 2 ton, was placed on a 70-foot tall tower made with 220 tons of steel.
The scientist wore wielding goggles, dark sunglasses, and suntan lotion. When the bomb went off one scientist recalled lifting his glasses a bit and saw the sand as if it were noon. The light was brighter than any ever seen on earth before. The core temperature exceeded that of 3 times the surface of the sun.
The mushroom cloud was instantly formed and climbed to 40 thousand feet. The bomb was equivalent to about 18 thousand tons of TNT. The tower it sat on completely demolecularized. A test rod of about 70 tons of steel embedded in a 20 foot wide concrete base 1000 feet away was never recovered (Purcell 14). The scientist had mixed emotions about the results of the test.
They were happy that it had worked, but they soon realized the awful thing that they had created. The head scientist took a pole that most signed not agreeing to any decision to use the bomb (Grant 47). Truman was soon notified and a committee to determine alternates to the drops was formed. Few suggestions were made. Many thought that Japan was ready to surrender and a few more months of bombing and they would surrender.
Truman didn’t want to wait. Also he believed that Japan was willing to fight to the bitter end (Ferrell 34). Japan possessed little or no offensive threat to American forces. Despite this fact the Japanese were the most tenacious and driven of American foes throughout the war.
The battles for Okinawa, Wake and Guam all were ample testament to the Japanese willingness to die in the face of overwhelming .