Butler 1 Nicholas Butler Professor McDonnell English I 11 May 2005 Decisions to Drop the Bombs on Japan War in itself is an atrocity, to kill or be killed in the name of whatever government chooses to go to war over. Taking lives in order to save lives is the most outrageous oxymoron ever heard, yet during the end of WWII taking the lives of Japanese people saved America from fighting on home soil. Many factors play a role in the final decision to drop the atomic warheads on America's enemy, yet in the end after all is said and done America was simply defending her land and right for freedom. America was under attack in a war fought on foreign soil. No one wanted the war to be brought on American soil and all American's wanted the war to be over to assure safety of the American people. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to bring the war with Japan to an immediate halt.
Dropping of the A-bomb took thousands of lives and rendered many others sick while completely destroying in total two entire cities. The force of the first atomic bomb (Hiroshima, code name: 'Little Boy') was equivalent to 12.5 kilotons of TNT and the second bomb (Nagasaki, code name 'Fat Man') was equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT (Clancey). It is difficult to fathom the power held within each bomb. Twenty thousand tons of dynamite! To dream of dropping this much power on any living thing is total genocide.
Many members of the atomic bomb scientists because of the tremendous power each nuclear reaction would generate had discouraged the use of such power. William L. Laurence composes a beautiful picture with words of the cataclysmic energy released from the Nagasaki bomb: Observers in the tail of our ship saw a giant ball of fire rise as though from the bowels of the earth, belching forth enormous white smoke rings. Next they saw a giant pillar of purple fire, ten thousand feet high, shooting skyward with enormous speed. (233-4) The atomic bomb had such an excess amount of energy it makes one question the reason or absolute need to use such tremendous force. May be slightly too much power than should be needed. Living as a civilian in Hiroshima on the dark day of August 6 1945 would be the most frightening thing to imagine.
First an amazing brilliant flash drawing attention as if a new sun is birthed with a core bursting heat in every direction. The bomb erupted into a fireball fifteen meters in diameter within a tenth of a millisecond emitting temperatures of nearly three hundred thousand degrees Centigrade (Laurduy). Doom is a certainty and a tragic event subdued by the effects of war. It is easy to say we should have dropped the bomb as outsiders. Taking the facts and coming to the most logical conclusion, yet how many would say the bomb was necessary that were near the bomb and experienced the destruction and decay the bomb brought to the land? Not very many.
John Hersey's Hatsuyo Nakamura was written about survivors of the atomic blast in Hiroshima. His work is very powerful in America and after reading his work one can not help feel remorseful for the woman in which Hersey interviews (181). As America being the perpetrator of the use of a weapon of mass, American people feel sympathetic for the people of the atomic bombings. There is a certain obligation a feeling of sorrow felt for the victims of the atomic bombing dropped from American control.
I wouldn't call it exactly a 'guilt complex. ' But you remember perhaps John Hersey's 'Hiroshima. ' It made a very great impression on America, but it did not in England. Why?
It was we who used the bomb and not the English. Somewhere, below the level of consciousness, we have a stake in the bomb, which the English don't have. Still, I wouldn't call it a 'guilt complex. ' (Szilard) Szilard makes a very good point in saying that even though America did drop the bomb, people will often feel apologetic for it and in a way maybe would have been better had we never dropped the bomb and never would have to feel remorseful. Bombing Japan changed the history of the events that followed the end of WWII. Dr. Leo Szilard, scientist who worked on the creation of the atomic bomb, strongly opposed the use of the bomb.
Dropping the bomb over civilian soil posed immoral war tactics, which were defined under the international law.
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181-88. Laurence, William L. 'Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki Told by A Flight Member. ' Fields of Reading. Ed Nancy R. Comley, et al. Bedford / St. Martin's, 2004.
229-33. Szilard, Leo. 'Leo Szilard, Interview: President Truman Did Not Understand. ' U.S. News and World Report, August 15, 1960: 68-71.