War is an ever changing, advancing type of combat. From swords to guns, the weapons used are always developing and becoming much more powerful. Nuclear bombs are one of the most forceful weapons that exist today. On August 6, 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped an Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a Japanese city and Military center. About 130,000 people were reported dead injured, or missing. Another 177,000 were left homeless. It was the first Atomic bomb ever used against an enemy. The effects of this explosion were so devastating and long lasting that they are still felt today. Was the United States justified in the dropping of the atomic bomb?
On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was deliberately attacked by the Japanese. Reports show that 2,400 people were killed and 1,300 were wounded. The reason Japan bombed, Pearl Harbor was because that was where all of the U.S. Navy ships were kept. They were hoping to take out the Navy and were almost successful. They expected the aircraft carriers to be in the harbor, but luckily were not. Although the attack may have been a success to the Japanese, it became a huge mistake in the end. One reason it was a mistake was it caused the U.S. to enter the war. The United States was the ultimate cause to Japan losing the war. Secondly it made the Americans angry and determined to destroy the Japanese. Recruiting offices were flooded with young patriots who wanted to help their country out. This attack was just an example of what could have happened if the war had continued. If the war had continued another attack on U.S. soil could have taken place. This could have turned the 6,000 dead American civilians into 9,000 dead civilians. That is one of the main reasons the war needed to be stopped immediately.
The United States made the thought of the Atomic bomb and the building of it possible. The power behind such a weapon was just what the United States needed. Many scientists manufactured and constructed the Atomic bomb, including Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Harold Urey. The group was headed by a United States Army engineer, Major General Leslie Groves.
The United States came up with a list of cities that could be possible targets for the detonation of the bomb. The list included Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, and Nagasaki. They later decided that Hiroshima would be the first target. Then in the early hours of August 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay, along with three other B-29′s, headed out from Tinian Airbase to Hiroshima. They equipped the Enola Gay with the A-bomb, a single 4-ton nuclear device with 12 pounds of uranium. At 8:15 a.m. (Japanese standard time) the Enola Gay let the Atomic bomb fall to the ground. The bomb exploded around 2000 feet above the ground. The explosion caused all wooden buildings to collapse within a radius of 1.2 miles. The blast itself demolished three fifths of the city within seconds. The United States scientists estimated that only 20,000 Japanese would die, instead 75,000 people perished instantly.
Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima it was decided that another Japanese town must be hit with am A-bomb. Three targets remained, the city of Kokura was the chosen target. Because visibility was so poor, due to smoke and pollution they changed the target to the city of Nagasaki. The smoke and pollution were just as bad over Kokura, but through a gap in the smog the bombardier spotted the target. They then released the 4.5 ton bomb, at 11:02 a.m., killing 30,000 people instantly. A day after the Nagasaki bombing the Japanese government offered to surrender. This ended the first ever nuclear war.
Yet, while the first atomic bomb was a success, it raised many ethical and controversial issues. Most of the people in the United States of America supported the use of the atomic bomb, even President Truman commented on what a great invention it was. Many people, including the scientists that developed the bomb, opposed the bombings and felt that killing that many innocent people just to get an influence in the war was immoral. One famous figure, Albert Einstein was quoted saying, “I made one great mistake in my life, when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that the atomic bombs be made.”
The atomic bomb was considered a “quick” and even economical way to win the war; however, it was a cruel and unusual form of punishment for the Japanese citizens. The weapon that we refer to as “quick” was just the opposite. On one hand, it meant a quick end to the war for the United States, and on the other hand, a slow and painful death to many innocent Japanese. The effects of radiation poisoning are horrific, ranging from purple spots on the skin, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, bleeding from the mouth, gums, and throat, weakened immune systems, to massive internal hemorrhaging, not to mention the disfiguring radiation burns. The effects of the radiation poisoning continued to show up until about a month after the bombing. In fact the bomb also killed or permanently damaged fetuses in the womb. Death and destruction come hand in hand with war; however, a quick death is always more humane.