POL208 Introduction to I.R w/1 Sept.14th
Bombing of Hiroshima. Second Crucial event is the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989; symbol of the
end of the cold war. Third event, 9/11.
Those three events still effect to date. Aim is to illustrate understanding of these events.
Drop of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima:
August 6th 1945(3 days later, Nagasaki) 2 nuclear bombs were dropped on cities, killing 200 000
civilians. It was the first and last use of Nuclear weapons. These two decisions to drop bomb
ended WWII. Lead to captivation of Japan. Every battle against Japanese forces has lead to large
U.S casualties. Nearly 250 000 U.S killed. Prospect of facing an invasion of inland japan was a
daunting task. By using nuclear weapons we saved american lives; was argument used. Japan
was obviously willing and able to fight until last man. They suffered huge casualties defending
pacific islands, so projection of civilian and japanese casualties were above 1 million. From a
U.S perspective, nuclear bombing was part of a campaign of mass bombardment. Tokyo was
targeted weeks before, 60 000 killed before. Tip of a campaign for “shock and owe”
Decision making Process: president of the time Harry Truman was inexperienced. Wasn’t aware
of program leading to the nuclear bomb, Manhattan project. Very secretive. Even vice president
was not aware of it. He faced pressure from military official, all of the government, everyone
was telling him to sign the paper for the manhattan project. The chances that a president like
Truman would oppose an already made decision were slim to none. Truman was just a pawn.
Some diplomats consider the use of atomic weapons against Japan was a good way to show to
Russia that the U.S was the most powerful nation in the planet.
At the time, Russia is an ally of the U.S. Tension among the two. Stalin had a tension regarding
the countries that the soviet union liberated from nazi germany. Use of nuclear weapons was a
good way to tell russians they’re still ahead. Controversial opinion.
Why didn’t the U.S drop an atomic bomb on a deserted island, inviting japanese officials to see
the effect of the bomb without killing?
Bureaucratic reasons and strategic reasons.
Bureaucratic reasons:Not sure the bomb will actually function. Any scenario of a demonstration
was unlikely because there was a risk that it may fail.
Strategic Reason: The U.S at the time had only very few nuclear bombs, 3 are operation 6 are
not. We just don’t know if these bombs will be sufficient for a japanese defeat. Do not want to
waste one bomb for a demonstration; use the bomb as a weapon immediately. Not clear at all that
these bombs by themselves will end the war. After the fact (nuclear weapons got their status due
to japanese capitulation) were so powerful it changed the world. Equivalent of 12 000 TNT.
Strategic reason, relationship with Japan, a weak president, some bureaucratic politics, all these
factors help understand why decision to drop the bomb was unanimous. No concern about the