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1988 Dbq

Essay by review  •  November 22, 2010  •  Essay  •  843 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,908 Views

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The atomic bomb is the subject of much controversy. The original desire of the United States government when they dropped Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not, in fact, the one more commonly known: that the two nuclear devices dropped upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki were detonated with the intention of bringing an end to the war with Japan, but instead to intimidate the Soviet Union. The fact of Japan's imminent defeat, the undeniable truth that relations with Russia were deteriorating, and competition for the division of Europe prove this without question.

Admittedly, dropping the atomic bomb was a major factor in Japan's decision to accept the terms laid out at the Potsdam agreement otherwise known as unconditional surrender. Their casualties in defending the doomed island of Okinawa were a staggering 110,000 and the naval blockade that the allies had enforced whittled trade down to almost nothing (Document A). Americans had hit some 60 Japanese cities with out High Explosives and incendiary bombs (Document B). Japan was quickly on the path to destruction. Of course, the Allies ignored this for the reason that dropping the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would intimidate Russia. Had they truly been considering saving more lives and bringing a quick end to the war in Japan, they would have simply waited them out without the major loss of life seen at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the Yalta conference, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Josef Stalin for Russian support in the war with Japan (Document D). In return for Russian Support against Japan, Roosevelt agreed to terms that some historians feel helped create more tension between the two countries because it gave Russia too much power in world affairs. At the time, Roosevelt was not confident that the United States could win the war easily without Russian support. He simply assumed that Japan would have to be invaded (Document C). After Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Truman was sworn in as President of the United States. As situations developed and progress on the atomic bomb continued to increase, Truman felt that a Russian invasion of Japanese territory might not be necessary. It was quite apparent, in fact, to many world leaders that the United States did not want Russian intervention once work on the atomic bomb had been completed. In fact, Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been quoted writing: "Ð''It is quite clear that the United States do not at the present time desire Russian participation in the war against Japan" (Document E). As World War II came to a closure, two new superpowers emerged: the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States obviously felt that if they could prove to the world that they had superior weaponry, that it would be held in the highest regard by all nations of the world. Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave them the power to do just that. It is apparent that because of the troubled relations with Russia, and the confidence

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