75 years ago
For which was meant US Atomic bomb ?
On August 6,1945, Japan’s Hiroshima was bombed by US atomic bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” exploded with a force equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT fired an area that covered three square miles, killing instantly 140000 civilians. On August 9, Nagasaki was bombed by the plutonium core atomic bomb the U.S. dropped that day from the B29 Bockscar, captained by Major Charles Sweeney, killing instantly around 70000 civilians. Despite the Nagasaki bomb was more powerful than that of Hiroshima, material and human damage was limited by the fact that the bomb missed its target and that the mountains surrounding Nagasaki, which is located in a valley, contained the blast. However, in Urakami Valley, where the bomb landed, nearly 70 percent of the population perished.
In the aftermath of the WWII, politicians, military and historians have challenged the official narrative of Truman’s administration that the launch of atomic bomb was aimed at “saving American lives” Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s personal Chief of Staff, was critical of using the atomic bombs saying the U.S. “adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the dark ages.” Even the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in Washington, DC acknowledges that the vast death and destruction wreaked by atomic bombings “made little impact on the Japanese military.
Truman even knew very well, through the intelligence reports, Japanese leadership were looking for honorable conditions to surrender. Truman was aware of civilians that were becoming increasingly demoralized for lack of food and energy supplies. To this must be added the huge destruction as the U.S. had firebombed and largely destroyed more than 100 Japanese cities, leaving millions homeless.
The question is not whether the atomic bombs were militarily or morally justifiable—they clearly were not. The question is why Truman chose to use them when he knew the end of the war was imminent and said so repeatedly and knew they were putting humanity on a glide path to annihilation.
Some studies point out that the U.S. wanted to test the uranium and plutonium-type bombs to show off their military muscle and take the advantage in the post-World War II diplomacy. As historians have increasingly come to realize, Truman had been obsessed with the Soviet Union since April 13, 1945—his first full day in office. Truman’s confrontation with Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov on April 23, in which he erroneously accused the Soviets of having broken their Yalta promises, marked how dramatically the wartime alliance between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had deteriorated in the 11 days since Roosevelt’s death.
James Byrnes, who became Truman’s Secretary of State in early July but had been his most trusted advisor since his first day in office, and Gen. Leslie Groves, the driving force behind the Manhattan Project, both asserted that the Soviet Union loomed as the real target behind the bomb project. Groves stated on another occasion, “There was never from about two weeks from the time I took charge of the Project any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and the Project was conducted on that basis.”
Byrnes told three visiting scientists in late May that the bomb was needed to reverse Soviet gains in Eastern Europe. The future Nobel laureate physicist Joseph Rotblat who quit the project a few months later, when he said in March 1944, “You realize of course that the main purpose of this project is to subdue the Russians.” Some studies point out that the U.S. wanted to test the uranium and plutonium-type bombs to show off their military muscle and take the advantage in the post-World War II diplomacy.