16 September 2009


So we are analyzing Hiroshima in class. One can argue that the single most important decision that any President every made happened in August of 1945. The US became the first and only nation ever to use the atomic bomb against another nation. The decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains as controversial today as it was then.

To my 21st Century Students: You recently saw a video in class that explored Truman's decision. For this bonus activity, simply post a comment on the following question -- responses should be roughly 250 words. Also, provide 3 reasons in support of your position (recall our discussion of how to develop logical arguments).

Successful completion will mean 5 bonus points added to your test grades for the term.

Did President Truman make the right decision in 1945? Why or why not?



Brandon Skelding said...

I think that Truman did not make the right decision because according to many high ranking officials the war would've been over in around than a year because the Soviets had joined. Another reason that Truman did not make the right decision is that it began the nuclear arms race which included the hydrogen bomb in the early 50s. If he wouldn't have given the go ahead we might have not had a nuclear arms race with the Soviets even though they already knew about the bomb before we used it. The detonations of the bombs made the USSR try even harder to catch up to us which they eventually did. The final reason was that it killed many innocent civilians that had not done anything wrong. The misconception about the Japanese was that every single one was bad and a popular saying was that "the only good Jap was a dead one." One excuse was that it was on a military target, but the center of a large and populous city is not a military target and another one was that if Truman asked for surrender and let Hirohito stay in power, Truman would have a lot of political pressure about him being soft. Overall I do not think that we had to take away so many innocent lives to prove a point to the Soviets.

zachary said...

At the time droping the bomb was accepted by the public, they saw it as a way to bring the war to an end quickly and without the loss of more americans. I believe the bombs dropped on the two japenese cities, were to accomplish three things. 1: punish the japenese, because americaans were very angry after pearl harbor.
2: to justify the cost of the manhattan project (around $2 billion
3: show that in the comming years that america was not afraid to use all of its weapons on its enemies.

Anonymous said...

Danton Green said....

The president i think had to make the most hardest decision ever made. Whose right is it to say who lives and who dies? You cant play god. So many innocent lives died in the bombing of Hiroshima. The people and childeren that did nothing but look up to their country the same way the american people and childeren do. Watching the video in class broke my heart everytime i seen a child alone, or parents looking for their childeren. The pain that evryone must have felt must have been horrible. And that is why i think that President Truman was wrong on droping the bomb on Hiroshima. The scientist that made the atomic bomb, even thought that it was a bad idea to drop the bomb. Because they knew that not even would the just destroy the area it was drop that it would have many other side affects. I dont know what i would do if i lost my parents and everything that i loved. But in the long run it could have gone a different way, maybe if the president didnt drop it, they may have drop a bomb on the U.S.A.

when we take revenge against another, we lose some of our innocence. --Patrice Redd Vecchione

Sierra Fox said...

In my opinion, President Truman did not make the right decision in dropping the two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.
You’ll notice that in the above sentence I said “two atomic bombs.” I think that it is sometimes overlooked that we used the nuclear bombs twice on the same country within 4 days. I can somewhat understand using one bomb, but I think that the second was uncalled for and unnecessary.
Another reason for my position is that there were other methods that should have been tried before resorting to the atomic bomb to get the Japanese to surrender. All other possible methods should be attempted before resorting to these amazingly destructive bombs. I realize that the war needed to be ended, but I don’t feel that this was the correct way to do it.
The majority of casualties from the nuclear attack were civilians. The use of the bomb would have had a different perception had it been centered on a Japanese military base. I don’t think that these civilians, as well as many future generations affected by the radiation, deserved to die.
The use of the nuclear bomb is still debated today, and probably will continue to be argued about for a long time. I agree that the war needed to be ended for the safety of the United States and our allies, but I do not agree with the way Truman used the nuclear bombs in 1945 against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

byron finck said...

Truman definitely had the hardest decision ever to make. He probably could have done several other things to Japan other than launch the nuclear attack. We launched two nuclear bombs. We probably should have only launched one and I think that is all that was needed. What launching these nuclear bombs did for us: first it soon stopped the conflicted between U.S.A. and Japan, second showed our dominance across the world, and last it helped the allies win the war because the axis knowing that we had a weapon so powerful at our disposal that it basically scared them and forced them to surrender. There are several downfalls to what happened. Few being the nuclear arms race and the several thousands...millions of innocent people killed. So I would honestly say I'm more in a split decision. I thought it was right idea to drop "A" bomb, but maybe not one to that magnitude. Showing them we’re not afraid. We also could have sent them a warning that if they don't back down that we will drop a bomb that will destroy many cities and many lives. If they thought that we were bluffing then we should have gone a head with the launching of the nuclear bomb. It would have been a lesser fault on us because we warned them telling them what dropping this bomb will do and the consequences to it. So yet I’m sitting at a split decision.

Anonymous said...

Megan Rykken:

The decision to drop the atomic bomb is difficult to understand without knowing some history about WW2. The dictatorships, in parts of Europe and in Japan, were all becoming too much, pushing the US even more. As the US was creating the most ‘terrible weapon that the world has ever known’, Truman was also becoming President after the death of Roosevelt. Truman did not know much of the bomb at all, but soon found out what role it could have in world history. With the bomb in his power, he felt pressure to drop the bomb, although that is not the reasons why. Japan would not surrender, and they were going to fight until the ‘bitter end’, as they began using suicide air pilots to fly into American militia and attempted to kill several US soldiers. The dilemma of effective choice came into play—what if Japan does not stop and soon there will be bombs dropped on US soil? Or Is there any other way to stop them? Or What happens to the US and its image after the bomb is dropped? Of the 3 options on how to handle the situation, (wait for USSR to intervene or make agreements and limitations on the emperor), the final one would for sure bring an end to the war, (Atomic bomb). The war would end one year sooner, and thousands of young men and women would be safe and saved. Although the lives of thousands of Japanese were going to be taken, I believe Truman made somewhat the right decision. That may sound self-centered, like take their people before ours, but this would bring a final end to the war. There were other options, but thousands of American lives were at stake. I do think more consideration of the other option probably would have been better for the sake of the Japanese citizens, because the destruction was terrible and so many were killed and injured. It is difficult to try and decide whether the decision to drop the bomb was right or not. I’m sure that if I was from Japan looking on the history of this, I would have a completely different answer.

Anonymous said...

I am unsure if bombing Japan was the right thing or not, however if I had to make a decision, I would say that it was better for America to bomb Japan.
I understand that the U.S. is the only nation in the world that has ever an atomic bomb against another nation up to this day, and I think they may give some power. When we bombed Japan, we for sure made a statement saying “Don’t mess with us,” and this was a huge message to the rest of the world, particularly the Soviet Union.
It appeared that Japan was about to surrender after the first bomb and they were just barely hanging on. People argue that dropping the second bomb was unnecessary and it was like “killing a fly with a grenade” but how many American lives were saved because of it? What if Japan fought back, and even more American lives were lost? The U.S. does not want to lose any more American lives that they have to. One more American dead is still a tragedy.
It was Japan that attacked the U.S. first and they had planned it for a long time. They came in unexpected and attacked us, and we were just simply fighting back. We did our job to protect the American people by all means. The atomic bomb was the answer at the time. It made Japan give in and give up, something that is very difficult to do if you look at Japans history. I do not believe that America should us and atomic bomb again unless we are threatened or attacked first by one. I hope that we never enter a nuclear war, but in the situation we had with Japan back in the 1940’s, I believe America did the right thing.

Adam Nichols

Anonymous said...

In agreement with Megan, I think you need to understand somethings about WW2 to understand the decision. Since Japan did attack the U.S. first, which did kill tons of people. We had a right to defend ourselves, which Truman did by dropping both of the bombs on Japan. The Japanese did deserve to get payback for what they did to the American people. In that regard, I would say yes, Truman made the right decision by attacking them. But what I'm in disagreement with is the way he went about it. Destroying millions of peoples lives by the actual attack, and the after math when kids were born by people who did breath the the air, it didn't seem right, especially since they were mostly innocent bystanders. Dropping TWO bombs on a country, and not just any type of bomb but an atmomic bomb, just kind of showed how selfish Americans were because we would through innocent peoples lives in the way.

Truman did what he though was right at the time, and though i disagree with what he did now, i think that if i had been around in that time period, i probably would have a total different idea on it. Truman didn't know at the time, according to what brandon did say, that the Soviets were going to join and the war was going to be over. That's when hindsight 20/20 comes in because you can see things more clearly years later, but when it's right there, you do what you have to do. And Truman did just that, whether it was right or wrong, he did what he felt was right.

Moriah Deno

sean chojnacki said...

I feel that the president made the right choice in dropping nuclear based weapons on japan as stated in a previous comment by brandon skelding stated that if Truman had asked for the Japanese to surrender but allow their leader to stay sovern is incorrect the Japanese brought this issue to Truman only after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. Another thing that people seem to forget is that President Truman ask the Japanese to surrender before and after the first bomb was dropped. When the first bomb was dropped President Truman asked for the Japanese to surrender so no more innocent lives would be lost, when no response came President Truman gave the order for a second bomb to be dropped. Shortly after the Japanese talked of surrender as long as President Truman allowed their emporer to remain sovern. What some people don't know is that if Japan had refused to surrender there was a possibility of a third atomic bomb being dropped on Japan. Also the alternative to the bombing in japan would have been to send millions of foot troops to the Japanese mainland, invade and force Japan to surrender. When President Truman gave the order to drop the atomic bomb he was directly saving more U.S. soliders lives and saving U.S. citizens from buring more of their sons