Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Purpose and Effect

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The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 took the lives of more than 200000 people leaving others with numerous injuries. At that time, Japan conducted a conquering policy by invading China and planning to expand its power on other Asian countries further. Fearing to lose his army and his own life, Harry S. Truman decided to use a bomb. The purpose of the bombing was to surrender Japan without many losses, adhering to the politics of “unconditional surrender.” This act resulted in Japan’s defeat and ended World War I.

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The first purpose of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the US President Harry S. Truman’s desire to win the war as soon as possible. According to Hamby, this decision resulted from Truman’s temperament and his perspective on the war. After returning from World War I, he realized that he could have been killed if the war lasted longer, and that another, much faster approach, was needed to defeat Japan (Frankforter and Spellman, p. 728). He also concluded that “the projected loss of American life in an invasion of Japan was too great” (Frankforter and Spellman, p. 728). This instance affected his decision to use the atomic bomb. The second reason, as Hamby suggests, was President Roosevelt’s legacy. Roosevelt adhered to the policy of “unconditional surrender” that was implemented to persuade the Soviet Union that the Western countries will fight through the end. Moreover, American citizens were hostile towards Japan, and demanded Pacific’s victory and Japan’s “unconditional surrender.”

Later, countless experiments were conducted by scientists, some of which were refugees from Nazi Germany, to create a powerful bomb, a program known as the Manhattan Project. Nearly 2$ billion were spent on these experiments to research the use of nuclear power (Frankforter and Spellman, p. 729). Thus, on April 6, 1945, the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, immediately killing 80000 people and affecting thousands by radiation. Three days later, the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing another 50000 people. The Japanese government did not realize the scale of destruction until the bombing of Hiroshima. The dominant country for which surrender was worse than death, was defeated on September 2 by decree of the emperor. The submission was formalized by the US flagman’s arrival in Tokyo Bay. With Japan’s surrender, World War II came to an end.

Some critics argue on the ethical issue of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They think that the surrender could be achieved without using bombs, and just by demonstrations on the empty Pacific island (Frankforter and Spellman, p. 730). Others suggest that Japan’s total blockade and the bombing of transport would serve the same purpose. It was clear that Japanese people were unquestioningly obeying their emperor and considered him divine. All the above-mentioned strategies would lead to the emperor’s decision to surrender and thus to the surrender of the whole of Japan.

To conclude, the purpose of using a nuclear bomb was to surrender conquering Japan as soon as possible without many losses and to continue Roosevelt’s “unconditional surrender” politics. The result of this action was Japan’s defeat in 1945 and the end of the war. The explosion took the lives of thousands of people and deserted the cities. Some experts argue that the US’s aim could be achieved without bombing, by, for example, blocking Japan and starving people to surrender or by performing a demonstrative performance.

Works Cited

  1. Frankforter, Daniel L., and William M. Spellman. The West: A Narrative History. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2013.
  2. Hamby, Alonzo L. “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb”. Britannica. Web.

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Premium Papers. (2022, April 24). Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Purpose and Effect. Retrieved from


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Premium Papers. "Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Purpose and Effect." April 24, 2022.