Why did the United States go to the extreme of dropping 2 atom bombs on Japan?
- ?Lv 76 months agoFavorite Answer
The United States had been waging war with Japan for years. The conflict had been costly in terms of money and lives. The Americans had managed to develop a new type of weapon that they believed could bring the war to an end. There were two types of bombs available and it was decided that plans would be drawn up to use both, in the event that the Japanese refused to surrender after suffering the effects of the first one.
Prior to committing to the decision to drop the bomb(s), the Americans had considered an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. Estimates varied among experts, but the general consensus seemed to be that no fewer than a quarter of a million casualties would be incurred in such an operation. Obviously the number of dead among the Japanese would be catastrophic.
It was decided that the first bomb would be dropped. The Japanese, even after seeing the unparalleled destructive power of the weapon, still refused to surrender. The second bomb was then dropped days later.
Over the course of the past 75 years, there's been debate about whether or not dropping the two atomic bombs was the right decision. Some people believe that Japan had essentially already been defeated and that a blockade of the Home Islands would have been sufficient to encourage the Japanese to give up the fight. It's true that there would have been fewer immediate casualties had the Americans decided to cut off all food and fuel shipments to Japan, but we can't know today whether or not that might have steeled the resolve of the Japanese people. A blockade being implemented may have led to a complete collapse of Japanese society as masses of people starved, and things could have been exacerbated by the fanatical high command seizing all existing food supplies to feed whatever was left of the army in preparation for the invasion they must have believed would come eventually.
Would it have been better to allow women and children to starve? To have allowed things to degrade to a point where each and every human being in Japan was forced to participate in the defence of the Home Islands?
We must also keep it in mind that the bombings served a double purpose. Not only did they hasten Japan's surrender, but they provided an excellent deterrent against a Soviet land-grab in the Far East. What would things be like today if the Soviets had been permitted to invade Japan from the north? Would Hokkaido be just another North Korea? Would Japan ever have become the economic powerhouse that it did if the Soviets had decimated a good portion of the country and killed millions of people in the process? We can't know.
But we DO know that the bombings were instrumental in forcing the Japanese High Command's hand and bringing them to the bargaining table to negotiate a surrender deal. The Americans allowed them to maintain the institution of the Emperor. That was indeed a step back from "total, unconditional surrender." It's doubtful that the Soviets would have shown that type of quarter.
And we DO know that the bombings gave the Soviets pause. Did they also compel them to design and build their own weapons, and did that compulsion lead to the Cold War? Yes, but WITHOUT nuclear weapons, it's almost a guarantee that war would have broken out in Europe, and to repel a full-scale Soviet invasion when the USSR was at the height of its power would have been an absolute nightmare, even in an all out confrontation with only conventional weapons.
The truth is that the Americans didn't have any ideal options on the table. And considering that the war in Europe was over, time was of the essence. Implementing a blockade would have taken time and its effects would not be felt for weeks, if not months, and the Soviets would certainly not have agreed to sit on their hands all that time. It's certainly not blaming the victim to point out that the Japanese government could have easily surrendered after the first bomb. The fact that the sheer devastation and loss of life that occurred in Hiroshima wasn't enough to convince them to give up the fight is a clear indication that the Americans were not dealing with an enemy that valued human life - even the lives of their own people. And in that sense, the bombings could be seen as a mercy that prevented a Soviet invasion.
Lastly, let's not forget the atrocities committed by the Japanese - their brutal treatment of the Chinese, Koreans, the peoples of Southeast Asia and the Pacific... Not to mention the unspeakable acts they committed against Allied Far East Prisoners of War. American, Australian, British and Dutch soldiers, sailors and airmen were starved, beaten, tortured, mutilated, worked to death, cannibalized... The Japanese locked FEPOWs in the airless, stiflingly hot holds of the Hellships where they were denied food and water and the Japanese refused to mark those ships as carrying POWs, so they were often sunk or strafed by Allied ships and planes... The Japanese forced FEPOWs to build railroads through dense, disease-ridden jungles, to construct airstrips on far-flung coral atolls where the men went blind from the relentless sun... They forced them to mine zinc in Japan itself where the temperature in the shafts was like an oven... They used FEPOWs for bayonet and target practice. The Japanese raped and slaughtered their way across Asia and the Pacific and they didn't discriminate - man, woman, child, civilian, soldier, it was all the same.
Let no one say that they got one atom of an iota more than they deserved for what they had done.
- Anonymous6 months ago
That's all we had at the time. We should have dropped more on them. They were a bunch of cruel jerks. Did you lose a loved one in the Pacific War? What they did to prisoners and captives was much worse than dropping a couple of A-bombs on them. They beheaded Americans for no reason, am I supposed to feel sorry for them?
- 6 months ago
because we hate them we might do it again
- 6 months ago
To reduce US casualties.
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- Anonymous6 months ago
America dropped the bombs and got the desired result. It warned the Japanese of impending doom and to surrender which is more than the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl. The first hand witness of the destruction redefined the dynamics of war and they haven't been used since. The only losers are the Japs who refused to surrender in the face of near impossible odds. The only people who don't see the bombs for what they were are people today who didn't live the place and time to know how many lives the bombs saved. The US didn't spend billions of dollars on a weapon w/ no intention to use. Any of the Axis countries would have used it on the US.
- bluebellbkkLv 76 months ago
Because - incredibly - the first one wasn't enough to make them surrender.
- Anonymous6 months ago
the Japanese were eating Australian Soldiers whilst they were still alive
Edit to my thumbs down i never Lie
Tanaka, an associate professor of political science at the University of Melbourne, said he uncovered more than 100 cases of Japanese Imperial Army soldiers eating the flesh of Australian troops, Asian laborers and indigenous people in Papua New Guinea.
Aug 11, 1992
If i had my way the Third bomb would have been on the Imperial palace
- 6 months ago
Because Japan was a whole different animal compared to Germany. Their culture heavily discourages surrender and it was costing the US the lives of too many American soldiers to take them on island to island. The war would have dragged on indefinitely with massive casualties. The 2 atom bombs were dropped to be the endgame.
- IIIIILv 56 months ago
The other option was full on frontal warfare in which the US would have to invade Japan, and cost millions more lives. Japan was unwilling to surrender.
- hbsizzwellLv 46 months ago
The extreme would have been invading Japan resulting in the deaths of probably millions of troops and civilians. The two bombs prevented that.