Was The Use Of Atomic Bomb On Japan Justified?

Over 50 years ago the atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is still controversy on whether this should have been done. The reasoning at the time was that many more people would be lost in an invasion of Japan. Also, an invasion would take much longer than bombing. A demonstration of the atomic bomb was not feasible because there were only two bombs. Truman was justified in using the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

An invasion would have caused even more deaths than the atomic bombs did. It was predicted that an invasion would leave 500,000 Americans dead and 2,000,000 Japanese dead before the Americans finally won. This prediction was based on the Japanese fighting fiercely to the last man, which is what was expected from experience on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The bombing of Hiroshima took 80,000 lives and the bombing of Nagasaki took 40,000 lives. Estimates of over three times those numbers have been suggested, but are still far less than the estimate of causalities from an invasion. The awesome destructive power of the atomic bombs pales in comparison to the predicted loss in an invasion.

The atomic bombs ended the war quickly. The prediction was that an invasion of Japan would take eighteen months before the Allies finally won. Instead, the bomb ended the war in five days. The war had already been going for several years and no one wanted the war to last any long than it had to. The use of the atomic bomb greatly shorted the already long World War II.

Many have suggested a demonstration of the atomic bomb before using it on a populated area. This would not have been a good idea because the United States only had two bombs (plus one tested), and the bombs were very expensive and time-consuming to manufacture. If the Japanese were not sufficiently impressed with the show of strength, then the United States would only have one bomb left to attack Japan with. Since they did not surrender after the bombing of Hiroshima, the Japanese definitely would not have surrendered after a demonstration. A demonstration would not show the full power of the bomb as clearly as actually using it on a target. Also, the demonstration may not have shown any of the power of the bomb: the bomb could have been a dud. Even if the bomb did work, the United States would have to tell the Japanese where to look ahead of time, and the Japanese might have put prisoners of war or other people in the target area. There are many flaws with the idea of have a demonstration of the atomic bomb’s power.

The use of the atomic by the United States on Japan was justified. It shortened the long war and decreased the enormous death toll of World War II. Truly, the question is inconsequential because it already happened. No matter how much the point is debated the bomb still will have been dropped. At least the show of its full power will make anyone think more than twice about using it again.


  1. Movies & reading in class (sorry, I have no way to find out correct citing for them)
  2. http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1186788&displaytype=printable

I got apparently the same assignment Disco Jesus got, and partially based my essay off of his (teacher didn't care).

It is important to note that this entire arguement is void if the Japanese were in fact ready to surrender before the bombs wre dropped. Some claim that it was the United States's demand for unconditional surrender which cased the Japanese to continue fighting. The Japanese did not want their emperor to be captured. In fact, it ended up the Emperor Hirohito was allowed to continue ruling anyway, so the entire argument of conditional vs. unconditional surrender was made void. Unforunately, this was after the bombs were dropped, which given this evidence was unneeded after all.