Reflection Paper | Atomic Bomb

The key message of the primary sources

It is not a secret that primary sources play an important role in the study of history. Actually, primary source documents have been used as significant components of education, “bringing history alive.”1 Primary sources are effectively used in historical research as these documents provide first hand evidence of an important historical event, the “view of an eyewitness.”2

The two primary sources that will be discussed in this paper are Dr. Michihiko Hachiya’s diary, first published in English in 1955, and Robert Guillain’s diary, published in the form of a book in 1946. Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was a witness of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. He lived through that terrible day and kept a diary of his personal experiences about the event. Dr. Michihiko Hachiya served as Director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital and lived near the hospital approximately a mile from the explosion’s epicenter. His diary was published in English in 1955. Robert Guillain’s was a French reporter, who was a witness of the Tokyo Fire Raids on March 9-10, in 1945.

It is rather difficult to identify which of the two events seems worse because the consequences were devastating in both cases. During the bombing of Hiroshima, “a single bomb dropped by a single airplane destroyed the city, leading to the end of World War II and introducing mankind to the Atomic Age.”3 During the Bombing Raids on Tokyo, hundreds of clusters of the incendiary cylinders were dropped by the bombers. “334 B-29s were involved in the bombing attack.”4 From a psychological perspective, the second event seems to be worse. Besides, the higher death toll was produced by the Bombing Raids on Tokyo in 1945than it was by the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima several months later. Thesis statement: The two primary sources, Dr. Michihiko Hachiya’s diary and Robert Guillain’s diary can be used as a sign for modern day states to effectively use diplomacy to prevent nuclear war, which can lead to the world-wide catastrophe.

My relation to the FDR’s decision to fire bomb major Japanese cities

I agree with FDR’s decision to fire bomb major Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese could create a serious threat for the humanity because Japan was focused on the continuation of the WWII. The war in Europe ended in 1945, when the Battle of the Bulge was won, and the Nazi war machine was stopped due to the joint actions of American and British troops in the west and Soviet Army in the east. However, in the Pacific, Japan did not want to surrender, planning a full-scale invasion. American troops attacked Okinawa in April, 1945, but the three months battle let to the irreplaceable combat losses, including the deaths of “7000 Americans, 4000 wounded.”5  Actually, that battle had “the highest casualty rate” in the WWII.6 This was a right decision to stop Japanese aggression and fascism in the whole world.

My response to Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs

I believe that Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs was a right decision. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, and Vice President Truman became the US President. Undoubtedly, it was his duty to continue FDR’s plan. It is known that FDR spend more than “$2 billion on research and development of the bomb.”7 The researchers state that “Truman came to office just as these monumental events in Europe and Asia were unfolding.”8 Truman was uninformed on many issues. He did not want to make serious changes in his political activity and decided to allow predetermined decisions to be carried out.” 9 As a result, his first crucial wartime decision was to use the atomic bomb against the Japanese aggression, which could lead to the spread of fascism across the world. Truman was decisive in his actions. He knew that the atomic bomb was tested successfully to be used in war. Americans knew that the atomic bomb’s power would convince the Japanese to surrender – “On August, 14, 1945, the Japanese asked for peace.”10 I believe it was the right decision to drop the atomic bombs and stop the Japanese aggression.

The impact of these events on today’s society

These events have affected our society today. In Japan, thousands of people died in the next years from the effects of radiation poisoning. Our society has realized that the atomic bomb can lead to the global catastrophe. Genetic effects of atomic bombing in Japan were widely discussed by scientists across the world. The Committee on Genetic casualties provided much important information on “detectable genetic effects on the Japanese.”11 These effects include significant mutations, which influence body dimension and life span, death in infancy, abnormalities, etc.

Besides, the events of 1945, the atomic bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the incendiary bombing raids on Tokyo proved that it is possible to stop any aggression. One of the significant factors in the decision of American government to use the atomic bomb was the desire to demonstrate the US power and confront Soviet Union. Today many countries use this idea to remain powerful. Nuclear weapons play an important role in diplomacy issues. For many countries, atomic weapon is a so-called evil necessity. There is a term “atomic diplomacy” which is often used in the global political environment. Truman’s atomic diplomacy has strengthened the belief of Americans in the persuasive power of nuclear weapons.

            Undoubtedly, everyone today understands the consequences of atomic bombing and the effects of possessing nuclear weapons are devastating. Nuclear-weapon states are more powerful that the states without nuclear weapon. Today our common goal is to prevent nuclear war, which can lead to the world-wide catastrophe.

Notes

  1. Maurice Matloff, “The nature of history,” in A Guide to the Study and Use of Military History, ed. by John E. Jessup and Robert W. Coakley (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2005), 9.
  2. “The Incendiary Bombing Raids on Tokyo, 1945,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2004), http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm
  3. “Surviving the Atomic Attack on Hiroshima, 1945,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001), http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/hiroshima.htm
  4. Gary A. Donaldson, The Making of Modern America: The Nation from 1945 to the Present (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012), 3
  5. Wainstock, Dennis D. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 1945. (New York: Enigma Books, 2013), 50
  6. Gary A. Donaldson, The Making of Modern America: The Nation from 1945 to the Present (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012), 3
  7. James V. Neel & William J. Schull. The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study (New York: National Academies Press, 1991), 9

 

Bibliography

Donaldson, Gary A. The Making of Modern America: The Nation from 1945 to the Present. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.

Matloff, Maurice. “The nature of history” in  A Guide to the Study and Use of Military History, ed. by John E. Jessup and Robert W. Coakley. Washington: Government Printing Office. 2005

Neel, James V. & Schull, William J. The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study. National Academies Press, 1991.

“The Incendiary Bombing Raids on Tokyo, 1945,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2004). Retrieved from: <http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tokyo.htm>

“Surviving the Atomic Attack on Hiroshima, 1945,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001). Retrieved from:<http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/hiroshima.htm>

Wainstock, Dennis D. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: August 1945.New York:  Enigma Books, 2013.

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[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]