Japan at war is an oral history narration of the experiences of the Japanese during the Second World War. The two authors, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore cook recount of the impact of the WWII on the populations as they seek to eliminate the contradictions between the official historical views of the war and the actual living testimonies. The book, in a sweeping panorama, moves from the Japanese attack on China to the deadly human raids that happened in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo in the 20th century. During the world war II between 1939 and 1945, a B-29 bomber was dropped in Japan that wiped out 90% of the population instantly and later on, more died of the radiation emitted from the bomb.
Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Japan
The atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had devastating economic, political and social impact. The bombs were instrumental in the devastation of almost the entire city's metropolis (Browne, 2016). A conventional bomb could destroy the wooden structures and a few concrete buildings. However, the atomic bombs destroyed everything within 2 kilometers and burned down 85 percent of the buildings in the city. The destruction of the buildings and infrastructure left millions without homes or social amenities. It also killed thousands of people and left others injured. Those people who survived the bombings found themselves jobless because almost the entire city had been destroyed. The result was a crumbling Japanese economy. The government had to use billions of dollars to reconstruct the city. The radiation emitted by the bombs were also a big part of causing cancer-related illness to the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Despite these devastations, the atomic bombs have been credited for their role in ending the war. The Japanese government was surprised by the weapons and realized they had no chance of winning. The military decided to stop the war and withdraw from the territories that it had occupied. The end of the was helped in preventing further deaths both in Japan and the allied countries.
Why the US Dropped the Bombs in Japan
The US has been researching atomic weapons since Albert Einstein warned them that Germany was working on developing such weapons. By 1945, the US had developed its weapon, and on July 16, 1945, they detonated the bomb in the desert of New Mexico. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had 15 kilotons while the one dropped in Nagasaki had 21 kilotons. President Harry Truman believed it was the duty of the US to be the war to a quick stop. The consensus in Washington was that the American population would want to know why the war has not ended. Since it would be hard to justify the prolonged war, the president decided the country should use the Atomic bomb on Japan. Japan had also fought fiercely and refused to surrender. The Japanese invasion of other nations had caused thousands of deaths of both civilians and the military. The US president and his advisers were also afraid the Japanese would invade the country leading to the deaths of thousands of people and destruction of property. The US experience while fighting in Iwo and Okinawa had shown that Japan would fight to the last man even if its air force and navy is destroyed. The US of Kamikaze or the suicide attacks had changed the way the US viewed Japan (Hoyt, 1989). The typical fighters involved the military who would surrender if the enemy overwhelms them. The Japanese army, on the other hand, went to war not expecting to come back. They were willing to die and carry out as much destruction as possible. The US was afraid the Japanese government would recruit the whole country to defend the nation. The United States, therefore, agreed to use the bomb as a way of forcing the Japanese to surrender. Hiroshima was bombed because of its military importance for the country.
Critics of the Decision
Critics of the decision to attack Japan have argued that Japan was planning to surrender (Hoyt, 1989). The Japanese authority was willing to stop the war as long as the emperor stayed in power. The US decision to use the atomic bombs was therefore unnecessary as the enemy was already weakened. The force applied compared to the threat that was existing at the time was disproportionate. There was, therefore, no justification why the US would choose to use such a force when it knew the threat was not significant. The use of the weapons was also unethical. The US knew where the military bases and installations were located. If they wanted to end the war, they had the option of using these weapons on military targets rather than on civilians (Pew Research Centre, 2018). There are also those who believe the president could have dropped the weapons in areas that are not inhabited as a way of warning the Japanese government. If the tactic did not work, the US could have been justified in dropping the bombs on the people. Finally, there have been critics for the US of the bombs especially after Truman refused to express remorse for the use of the weapons. However, president Truman defended his decision and claimed it was the right thing to do to save the lives of Japanese and Allied forces and civilians.
Browne, R. (2016, May 27). Why did the U.S. bomb Hiroshima? Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/27/politics/hiroshima-obama-explainer/index.html
Hoyt, E. P. (1989). Japan's war: The great Pacific conflict, 1853 to 1952. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.
Pew Reseach Centre. (2018, May 11). Fact Tank: News in the Numbers. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/
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