The Atomic Bombs, End of World War II and Begining of Nuclear Age

A nuclear weapon of the Little Boy type, the uranium gun-type detonated over Hiroshima. It is 28 inches in diameter and 120 inches long. Little Boy weighed about 9,000 pounds and had a yield approximating 15,000 tons of high explosives. (Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC)

A nuclear weapon of the "Little Boy" type, the uranium gun-type detonated over Hiroshima. It is 28 inches in diameter and 120 inches long. "Little Boy" weighed about 9,000 pounds and had a yield approximating 15,000 tons of high explosives. (Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC)

Sixty years ago this month, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and the Japanese government surrendered to the United States and its allies. The nuclear age had truly begun with the first military use of atomic weapons. With the material that follows, the National Security Archive publishes the most comprehensive on-line collection to date of declassified U.S. government documents on the atomic bomb and the end of the war in the Pacific. Besides material from the files of the Manhattan Project, this collection includes formerly “Top Secret Ultra” summaries and translations of Japanese diplomatic cable traffic intercepted under the “Magic” program. Moreover, the collection includes for the first time translations from Japanese sources of high level meetings and discussions in Tokyo, including the conferences when Emperor Hirohito authorized the final decision to surrender.

ver since the atomic bombs were exploded over Japanese cities, historians, social scientists, journalists, World War II veterans, and ordinary citizens have engaged in intense controversy about the events of August 1945. John Hersey’s Hiroshima, first published in the New Yorker in 1946 made some unsettled readers

A nuclear weapon of the Fat Man type, the plutonium implosion type detonated over Nagasaki. 60 inches in diameter and 128 inches long, the weapon weighed about 10,000 pounds and had a yield approximating 21,000 tons of high explosives (Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC)

A nuclear weapon of the "Fat Man" type, the plutonium implosion type detonated over Nagasaki. 60 inches in diameter and 128 inches long, the weapon weighed about 10,000 pounds and had a yield approximating 21,000 tons of high explosives (Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-AEC)

question the bombings while church groups and a few commentators, most prominently Norman Cousins, explicitly criticized them. Former Secretary of War Henry Stimson found the criticisms troubling and published an influential justification for the attacks in Harper’s.During the 1960s the availability of primary sources made historical research and writing possible and the debate became more vigorous. Historians Herbert Feis and Gar Alperovitz raised searching questions about the first use of nuclear weapons and their broader political and diplomatic implications. The controversy, especially the arguments made by Alperovitz and others about “atomic diplomacy” quickly became caught up in heated debates about Cold War “revisionism.” The controversy simmered over the years with major contributions by Martin Sherwin and Barton J. Bernstein but it became explosive during the mid-1990s when curators at the National Air and Space Museum met the wrath of the Air Force Association over a proposed historical exhibit on the Enola Gay.The NASM exhibit was drastically scaled down but historians and journalists continued to engage in the debate. Alperovitz, Bernstein, and Sherwin made new contributions to the debate as did historians, social scientists, and journalists such as Richard B. Frank, Herbert Bix, Sadao Asada, Kai Bird, Robert James Maddox, Robert P. Newman, Robert S. Norris, Tsuyoshi Hagesawa, and J. Samuel Walker.The controversy has revolved around the following, among other, questions:

->Were atomic strikes necessary primarily to avert an invasion of Japan in November 1945?
->Did Truman authorize the use of atomic bombs for diplomatic-political reasons– to intimidate the Soviets–or was his major goal to force Japan to surrender and bring the war to an early end?
->If ending the war quickly was the most important motivation of Truman and his advisers to what extent did they see an “atomic diplomacy” capability as a “bonus”?
->To what extent did subsequent justification for the atomic bomb exaggerate or misuse wartime estimates for U.S. casualties stemming from an invasion of Japan?
->Were there alternatives to the use of the weapons? If there were, what were they and how plausible are they in retrospect? Why were alternatives not pursued?
->How did the U.S. government plan to use the bombs? What concepts did war planners use to select targets? To what extent were senior officials interested in looking at alternatives to urban targets? How familiar was President Truman with the concepts that led target planners to choose major cities as targets?
->Did President Truman make a decision, in a robust sense, to use the bomb or did he inherit a decision that had already been made?
->Were the Japanese ready to surrender before the bombs were dropped? To what extent had Emperor Hirohito prolonged the war unnecessarily by not seizing opportunities for surrender?
->If the United States had been more flexible about the demand for “unconditional surrender” by guaranteeing a constitutional monarchy would Japan have surrendered earlier than it did?
->How greatly did the atomic bombings affect the Japanese decision to surrender?
->Was the bombing of Nagasaki unnecessary? To the extent that the atomic bombing was critically important to the Japanese decision to surrender would it have been enough to destroy one city?
->Would the Soviet declaration of war have been enough to compel Tokyo to admit defeat?
->Was the dropping of the atomic bombs morally justifiable?

Here are some glimpses of power of atomic arsenels.

Links:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

History of the Atomic Bomb and The Manhattan Project

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About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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30 Responses to The Atomic Bombs, End of World War II and Begining of Nuclear Age

  1. Pradeep Menon says:

    hi,
    quite a nice and informative post. i would like to add something to the above.

    The usual justification provided for the use of atom bombs are that it was used to bring an early end to the second world war and force japan to the negotiating table. But this was just one of the reasons according to me.

    America was always doubtful about USSR and its policies. So the dropping of atomic bomb served two purposes:- a show of strength for the enemies and force the end of war.

    Secondly, eventhough the weapons had been made, the exact strength of the weapon was still untested.

    The aiforce was instructed to visually attack the target rather than radar attack so that photographs of the damage could be taken. The primary target of Hiroshima and Kokuro, and the secondary target of Nagasaki were mainly excluded from the night air raids for this very reason.

    There were 3 B-29 bombers involved in the bombings:-
    One (Enola Gay) carried the actual bomb, the second one (Great Artiste) carried instrumentation and the third one (previously unnamed,later called “The Necessary Evil”) carried the photography equipments.

    The second attack on Nagasaki could have been avoided. Japan, thinking the Soviet Union was a friendly neutral in the war in the Pacific, submitted unofficial peace feelers to the United States through them. The Soviet Union, secretly wanting to join the war against Japan, suppressed the feelers. Ironically, the Japanese military made it impossible to pursue peace directly, as they arrested or killed anybody who tried to extend official peace offerings. As it was, these unofficial feelers were completely unacceptable to the U.S. as they merely made vague offering to return conquered territories in exchange for peace.

    So you see it was a combination of many factors that led to the bombings and many people loosing their lives.

    You can read more about these here
    1. http://www.atomicarchive.com/History/twocities/index.shtml

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombing_of_Hiroshima#The_bombing

    Like

  2. bob says:

    BOOOOOOM

    Like

  3. John McHenry says:

    Since WWII, weren’t the nuclear bombs more powerful 10x?

    Like

  4. skull33 says:

    i <3 World War II

    Like

  5. christian abercrombie says:

    duuuuuude. krazy stuff, i wish i was ther i would have totally punched thate nuke rite in the face

    Like

  6. christian abercrombie says:

    i would have punched that nuke rite in the face

    Like

  7. haha man says:

    hahahaha my WHAP teacher plagiarized the questions and used it make us write an essay

    Like

  8. fiona says:

    whattttttt a very dangers wepon of mas destrucktion

    Like

  9. tezerboy says:

    this is totally awsome i wish i could use 1 of these bombs on my neighboor lol

    Like

    • doll says:

      Why you feel like that? Why you are willing to use this on your neighbour? I think you are joking but I dont think its a good joke dont you see the body of different people being victom of atomic bombs?

      Like

  10. anian says:

    really it is a big disastour

    Like

  11. usman ali says:

    Wtf is this about

    Like

  12. sidra riaz says:

    Why we make bombs? for destroying humanbeings? Why we dont feel the pain of people being victom of bombs and other blasts. Why we make people criplled?Why we destroy there whole life? Why we feel happy when we give pain to other people? Why dont we use our sense that the victoms are just like ourselves? Why we love to give pain? Why we dont realise that we are here for small period and go back to our Allah. Why we became stourght hearted. please wakeup the humanbeing in yourself and say good bye to animal like thinkings. Aaah but animals are much better then our selves the dont make atomic bombs,splinter knails under nails, slaughter others. Please please every one who is reading this message, love humanbeings because we are made for loving please dont abuse humanity please!

    Like

  13. Chelly says:

    To think that a human beeing is the most distructive creature on earth, and not realising that they are even destroying their own habitat…. oh, so stupit !!!

    Like

  14. blazing orb says:

    mankinds inability to contain its own nature has led to this scenario,so the kill or be killed nuclear age has evolved,we only live in relative peace because we are collectively assured of mutual destruction.when logic can compute emotion,then,and only then may these “necassary evils”be dismantled.history is rich with human folly,individually we can see the futillity of war,but collectively,we have to fight.only when the metaphorical thorn is removed,will true peace reign.god is that the time?must go.

    Like

  15. daisy says:

    tick tick booooooooooooooooooooooooom

    Like

  16. aire says:

    prepare for JUSTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  17. userdomaine says:

    Yea I cant wait to the war breaks out in da streets of america and we have to fight off terrorists and other threats to the states, Only then can I truly beable to determin if i am worthy of streinth. It would be fun….
    but then again no it wouldnt, We do still have to keep our good deeds intact if we sure to survive.

    Like

  18. Hello Everybody

    Definitions for the earths temperature increase – or global warming are most often disregarded as too scientific – however, earthquakes and mass death should not be another disregarded statistic. Hundreds of thousads are dead and homeless

    Please offer financial or volunteer assistance to Chile and Haiti

    http://www.google.com/relief/haitiearthquake/

    Like

  19. Britt says:

    Why so much Violence

    Like

  20. bobmanuel tonye says:

    this is a v.brutal way of wiping out the entire Japs in those 2 cities. where did dialogue go2 as at the time of the war,afterall it is said that Dialogue IS THE BEST FORM OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION.

    Like

  21. Jose Luis Zero says:

    At Least they didin’t trow a Neutron Bomb!

    Like

  22. spa says:

    its all about balancing the powers that be, i think,we should all be pleased with our own positions at this time in life, becouse the out come could of been a lot lot worse,

    Like

  23. im so yummy says:

    it looks like the nuke that they drop in nuke town in a COD black ops. map

    Like

  24. SHOAIB says:

    THIS NUCLEAR BOMB IS FOR DESTROY HUMAN BEINGS IF A WORLD WAR WILL START I MEAN 3 WORLD WAR THE EARTH WILL BE DESTROY

    Like

  25. ta pain says:

    people must open thier eyes for these are the last days

    Like

  26. chuck says:

    Wasn’t there a third atomic bomb ? what happened to it ?

    Like

  27. stoopididiot says:

    :D

    Like

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