It was April of 1945 and Harry Truman had been sworn into office following the death of a beloved president, Franklin Roosevelt. President Roosevelt left Truman with the hardest and still most controversial decision of all time, whether or not to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. This decision would determine whether or not the outcome of World War II would be quick or prolonged. The Manhattan project for developing the bomb began with the fear of Germany inventing a type of nuclear weapon. The Allies had just defeated Germany and now, the United States focus was ending war with Japan. America had been in war for four years accumulating 1 million casualties in the process.
The United States wanted Japan to surrender unconditionally, as the Germans had done, to the Potsdam Declaration. Japan refused; talk of a land invasion on Japan transpired. A land invasion would result in heavy casualties against on either side. The United States would be facing a different type of enemy as well. The only choice was to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.
While some may argue moral and ethical beliefs, they cease to think about who the real victim was and how many lives it saved on either side. On December 7, 1941 Japan surprisingly attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, killing 3,000 Americans. This act alone was an awakening to the type of vicious enemy Americans would have to face. The treatment of Japanese prisoners alone would be reason enough to drop the atomic bomb. Thirty-seven percent of US prisoners in Japan had died in captivity while only 2 percent died in Germany.
Tokyo issued that all prisoners of war were to be killed by 1945. Many citizens of countries throughout the world have only recently begun to unfold information of experiments that the Japanese did on their prisoners of war. Eight American airmen were knocked out of the sky near southern Japan and were taking to Kyushu University where they were "torn apart organ by organ". 70-year-old physician Ken Yuasa recalled, "A prisoner was shot in the stomach, to give Japanese surgeons practice at extracting bullets. While the victim was still alive, the doctors practiced amputations. It just wasn't my experience, it was done everywhere".
Critics of the bomb often defend their claim by stating it to be immoral. Other words that could be used to define immoral would be wicked, cruel, and malicious. These words could not come close to matching the intensity of barbarism the Japanese performed during the war. In 1937, the Japanese troops took Nationalist Army headquarters city and spent seven weeks killing 300,000 men, women, and children by hand in the Rape of Nanjing. "Death from two atomic bombs are pale shadows to the deaths resulting from the Japanese military's systematic abuse and killings of prisoners of war and slave laborers from Korea, China, and Southeast Asia", Ohio University Professor of History Donald Jordan. In the Rape of Nanjing thousands of women were forced to become sex slaves for the Japanese.
Not only was this enemy fanatical with their treatment of prisoners, the action on the battlefield was even more dreadful. Kamikaze pilots would fly their planes into US ships and naval bases. They believed in the Brushido, which emphasized on not surrendering. If a Japanese person were to surrender, it would be in vain towards their country, and should commit suicide rather than surrender.
With this type of mentality, how could one argue Japan was leaning towards surrendering? The Japanese wanted Soviet mediation for a settlement in their best interest. If it was not met to their approval, Japan would prepare a bitter, suicidal resistance that could last for months until meeting their desired terms. In July of 1945, Admiral Kantar o Suzuki told the Japanese Cabinet that thousands of kamikaze pilots would fly against enemy ships even in training planes, that millions of soldiers would fight the "Decisive Battle" by suicide banzai charges and that civilians would strap on explosives and throw themselves under enemy tanks. The Japanese would fight to the very end even if it meant 100 million casualties. Thousands of Russian and Chinese were killed in human testing to develop chemical and biological weapons.
Men, women, and children were killed by hand and raped. The Japanese were willing to risk millions of casualties in fighting rather than surrender to the United States Potsdam Declaration. The question shouldn't be whether we should have drop the bomb or not on Japan, it should be who were the real victims and have they met their justice? Causalities were an important factor to President Truman's decision on dropping the bomb. As the United States continued to island hop towards Japan's mainland, causalities increased drastically each time. 5,000 Americans and 18,000 Japanese died in Iwo Jima, followed by 12,500 American deaths and 185,000 Japanese deaths at Okinawa.
With Japan's intense belief in the Brushido, hope of ultimate surrender was dim; land invasion seemed the only other choice. However, with the atomic bomb, a land invasion could be prevented along with the salvaging of United State's soldier's lives. An invasion of Japan would have created causalities that would " ve easily exceeded the amount of deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman was thrown many different estimates of causalities in retrospect towards a land invasion.
The highest number was from General Douglas MacArthur who estimated about 100,000 American deaths. With numbers like these, and the attitude and insane military tactics the Japanese were displaying, Truman had no other choice but to drop the bomb. Truman was not deliberately trying to prolong the war so the atomic bomb could be used on Japan to intimidate the Soviets. He believed the use of the atomic bomb was necessary to shorten the agony of war and save the lives of thousands of young Americans. Many would agree that Truman did the right thing in dropping the atomic bomb on Japan.
Dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was an extremely brutal decision. Truman must have spent many sleepless nights debating the decision in his mind. Hopefully, he rests in peace and knows he fulfilled what needed to be accomplished at that crucial point in world history. The Japanese were a barbaric and immoral enemy.
Experiments on human beings and the slaughtering of prisoners can not be justified. Suicide missions and teaching women and children to fight is extreme warfare that needed to be stopped and prevent from ever occurring again. The only way to stop an enemy like the Japanese was to drop the atomic bomb. Victim were they not, justified we may question, but proof that this type of barbarism shall never be taken nor accepted.