Though official claims have presented prevention of US, Japanese and British military life losses on large-scale as a ground to decide about dropping devastating bombs on Japan, some more independent research administered later has dismissed the official claims as being fabricated.
The period of World War-II remains the single most devastating in recorded human history. Millions have been killed, injured and crippled besides changes in the geography and political perceptions. After six years of war, the world was already war-weary when the most destructive weapon ever made was launched over two industrial cities of Japan. The United States entered war with the invasion of Japan on Pearl Harbor three years prior to the detonation of the atomic bomb (Lawrence et al. 2015.
As one of the stakeholders of war, Winston Churchill puts, “History is written by the victors,” three-quarters of a century has passed, but the history remains ambiguous as the victors were not the sole power that controlled the planet. Rather, studies have been guided over the time to find the second opinions, and have remained successful too.
The assertion after the immediate end of the war had made the world adopt the reasons put forward by US officials. Thus, the stance of the US had become a part of history (Walker, J. S. 2005). However, half a century later, the classified documents from war times were made public. As the decades-long beliefs were solid, general public paid no importance to the new revelation. Careful research on the documents has shown the potential to change the historical context against the assertion forwarded earlier. It refutes past beliefs as unfounded because the probability of life losses, in case atomic bombs were not used, was extremely less. Some researchers maintain that the most number of losses that could have occurred was 20,000 (Groves, L. R. 2013).
The background information used from primary and secondary sources is extracted and compacted to write a thesis statement. The primary source, more or less, provides the information about the historical context and scenario before and immediately after the event occurred. Secondary sources focus on the research carried-out a few decades later after declassification of documents. The two set of sources have laid the foundation for historians to set the course of history in a particular way. The contradiction among references has made the backdrop to find the realities which have been molded so far.
Secondary Source Compilation
What was the historical context of the event? What was going on in the world around this event?
The World War-II had alreadykilled tens of millions of people and permanently disabled almost as much. The Berlin had already fallen with Allied forces taken control of most of Europe. Japan was the only major hurdle in the way of Allies despite heavy losses incurred by the country. Massive air raids were conducted to weaken Japanese resolve. The raids turned many major garrison cities and towns into ruins. All of the major islands, towns, and regions in South of Japan including the Philippines that were previously controlled by Japanese had been captured. By the end of July 1945, Japanese resources, especially military men had significantly depleted, but surrender was still not on cards.
Though Japan was immensely weakened and apparently lacked the resources to invade by the half of 1945, there was a potential threat of a strike similar to Pearl Harbor on US military which would trigger a loss of half a million American lives. Therefore, a preemptive strike to prevent such Japanese invasion was becoming inevitable for the US.
The United States under Manhattan project had prepared atomic bombs which were ready to be delivered several months before the event. The project was kept top secret. Even the newly sworn president Truman came to know about the bomb preparedness after he came became president. The US, with the consensus of the UK, dropped the bombs. The files with most closely monitored estimated numbers of casualties had been kept classified for several decades.
How did the historical context influence the event?
People celebrated the end of the war, and they were told by the government that the bombs had saved millions of American lives. Since researchers were precluded from studying the figures regarding threats to the US, people readily adopted the details released by American officials. The surveys and studies conducted across the US had shown over 90% of people endorsing the decision of dropping a bomb. Most of them had a viewpoint that the bomb averted the catastrophic loss of lives to US military men.
However, as the secondary source reveals, the actual figure could have been entirely different. American control over the world was cited as the reason (Groves, L. R. 2013).
Primary Source Compilation
Discuss how primary source relate to the secondary source? Do the primary sources support or contradict the secondary sources?
While primary source provided the historical context, the events of dropping the bomb and the immediate reactions of the world, secondary source discusses the findings of research decades later. The secondary source further adds that the research could not be conducted immediately after the event occurred and hence suspicion around official claims has been raised. Thus, the two sources are related to each other in an event-reaction relationship.
The Secondary source in direct contradiction to primary source claims that the belief residing among the people all around that the bomb prevented half a million lives was merely a myth. In support of this claim, an argument is presented that since the researchers were disallowed any research over the data associated to the build-up to bomb drop decision, the notion of lives prevention was fabricated. Furthermore, it maintains that the potential military loss to the US were 20,000 at most. In fact, no loss at all was more likely.
Explain how primary sources add to your info of topic? How primary sources are better than secondary?
The primary source provides the information about how the US officials reached consensus to detonate the bomb over Japan. It shares the excerpts from the conversation, biographies, and interviews of top officials, historians, journalists and the general public from Japan and US including the president. The source further adds the belief that was established to drop bombs. It discusses the losses already incurred by Japan and the state of its survival in the event of continuation of the war. The source brings together the viewpoints of historians and officials of those times to show how inevitable it had become to make such a decision (Walker, J. S. 2005).
It is admitted by the quotations shared in this primary source that Japanese army was trained to fight till death or suicide in case they are out of bullets. It shares the gruesome stories that people were experiencing the bomb have told.
Groves, L. R. (2013). The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the Manhattan Engineer District.
Walker, J. S. (2005). Recent literature on Truman’s atomic bomb decision: a search for middle ground. Diplomatic History, 29(2), 311-334.
Lawrence, M. J., Stemberger, H. L., Zolderdo, A. J., Struthers, D. P., & Cooke, S. J. (2015). The effects of modern war and military activities on biodiversity and the environment. Environmental Reviews, 23(4), 443-460.