3. The Bomb Itself

Let us ask the following questions about the bomb, and read the museum’s answers:

Why did the U.S. develop the bomb?

The United States of America began studying the atomic bomb when World War II began in 1939. In August 1942 the U.S. launched a development program called the Manhattan Project. The bomb was successfully tested on 16th July 1945.

Why did the U.S. decide to drop the bomb on Japan?

With Japan in an extremely weak position, the United States was considering the following ways of bringing the long war to an end: invade the Japanese mainland, ask the Soviet Union to join the war against Japan, assure continuation of the emperor system, or use the atomic bomb. The U.S. believed that if the atomic bomb could end the war, Soviet influence after the war would be restricted and domestically the tremendous cost of development would be justified.

Why was the bomb dropped on Hiroshima?

To ensure that the effects of the atomic bomb could be accurately observed, potential targets were selected from cities with an urban area at least three miles in diameter, and air raids in those cities were prohibited. An order was issued to drop the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, or Nagasaki. Hiroshima is thought to have been the first choice because it was the only one of the four target cities without an Allied prisoner-of-war camp.

So, the museum believes that the use of the atomic bomb was unnecessary to end the war; rebutting the American narrative of ‘lives saved’, it is stated that the Japanese would have surrendered if the continuation of the imperial line had been assured. Perhaps the bomb was to send a message to the Soviets; that the U.S. possessed weapons of incredible destructive power and wouldn’t hesitate to use them against civilians. It is also highlighted that the dropping of the bomb was viewed as a sort of scientific experiment; indeed the hibakusha are our only example of the effects of nuclear radiation on the human body.

The narrative is clear: the use of the atomic bomb was unjustifiable.


4 Responses to “3. The Bomb Itself”

  1. matt Says:

    the bomb was/is justified in the 100s of thousands of lives the japanese snuffed out, chins, for one, was a massacre.

    do not let the humble modest japanese fool you, these were blood thirsty people ready to rein destruction all over the earth.

    thank god harry truman had the good sense to end their war on the rest of us the way he did.

  2. Jyang Says:

    matt, I beg to differ;
    True, what the Japanese did was cruel, unjustifiable, cold hearted, and yes, to an extent, bloodthirsty.

    But to take revenge by sending the bombs isn’t justifiable, either. Yes, it stopped the war; but there were other means to do it.

    To kill so many innocent civilians, to make so many people suffer a long, painful death (as well as an immediate one) is not justifiable at all, whether or not all Japanese people were/are “blood thirsty”.

  3. Brian Says:

    The use of the bomb was inevitable; once developed it was going to be used somewhere. Europe was too close to home, Japan was seen as being deserving of the ultimate punishment for its foul deeds and murderous actions of WW2. It also served to show the Russians the power of the west at a time when they looked as dangerous to peace in Europe as the Axis powers had done. The fact that it has never been used since is testament to its message to the rest of the world that mutual destruction is assured between combatants who possess the weapon; it is the ultimate deterrent.

  4. Ripple effect « CJF "LOL"CHEN Says:

    […] https://perilousmemories.wordpress.com/the-bomb-itself/ […]

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