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Why did the USA Drop Two Atomic Bombs on Japan in 1945?

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Presentation on theme: "Why did the USA Drop Two Atomic Bombs on Japan in 1945?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why did the USA Drop Two Atomic Bombs on Japan in 1945?

2 The Atomic Bombing of Japan On 6 th August 1945 the Americans dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a military base. Three days later they dropped another bomb on Nagasaki, the planned landing point for the US invasion of Japan. On 10 th August 1945, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan surrendered.

3 Terror Bombing Terror bombing was used by both sides during the Second World War. The tactic was first perfected by the Germans who used it as a key part of their Blitzkrieg attacks in both Europe & Russia/.Both the RAF & USAF bombed Germany throughout the war. The main aim of terror bombing was to destroy key industrial and military centres and their workers in the hope of destroying morale.

4 The Fire Bombing of Tokyo The capture of Iwo Jima and the total destruction of the Japanese air force meant that the USA could now bomb every major Japanese city. In May 1945, the USA decided to firebomb the capital city Tokyo. It was hoped that the massive civilian casualties would break Japanese morale and force them to surrender.

5 Enola Gay B – 29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It was flown by Paul Tippets on the right

6 The A-Bombs used over Japan; Little Boy (left) and Fat Man (right) Hiroshima Nagasaki

7 Map Showing the Damage Done to Hiroshima The centre of the explosion was hotter than the surface of the sun!

8 Photograph of Hiroshima

9 Survivors from Hiroshima These victims are covered in blisters created by radioactivity

10 Photo of atomic bomb exploding over Nagasaki (9 August 1945) Burnt remains of the victims of Nagasaki

11 Casualties from the US bombing of Japanese cities in 1945

12 Different Interpretations Why did the USA drop The Atomic Bombs on Japan? Eastern Europe A military weapon to end the war quickly, save lives and keep the Russians out of the war. Revenge for Pearl Harbor and Japanese war crimes against Allied prisoners of war To test the weapon on live human beings to see what affect it had. To frighten the Russians so that they wouldn’t confront the West.

13 Interpretation 1: Military Weapon The war in the Pacific was expensive for the USA. For example, on Iwo Jima it took five weeks of bitter fighting at a cost of more than 24,000 casualties before the USA took the island. In taking another island, Okinawa, the US incurred a further 20,195 dead and 55,162 wounded. US Government estimated that both Japan & the USA would each lose 250,000 soldiers during the invasion of Japan!

14 Interpretation 1:Military Weapon “.. it was done to save 125,000 youngsters on the American side and 125,000 on the Japanese side from getting killed and that is what it did. It probably also saved a half million youngsters on both sides from being maimed for life. Harry Truman, 1963

15 Casualty Figures for 1945 The Japanese government threatened to put to death 400,000 Allied prisoners of war if the USA invaded Japan!

16 Interpretation 2: Revenge On 7 th December 1941, 2400 American servicemen, six battleships and ten other ships were destroyed during a surprise attack by the Japanese. Roosevelt described the Japanese attack as a ‘day that shall live on in infamy’ because the Japanese didn’t declare war on the USA or give any warning that they were about to go to war.

17 Revenge for Pearl Harbor “Pearl Harbor was done while we were at peace with Japan and trying our best to negotiate a treaty with them… All you have to do is to go out and stand on the keel of the Battleship in Pearl Harbor with the 3,000 youngsters underneath it who had no chance whatever of saving their lives.. It was plain murder!” Harry Truman, 1963

18 Interpretation 2: Revenge POWs The Japanese religion Bushido believed that people who surrendered were cowards and should be mistreated. Allied prisoners of war were beaten, deliberately starved, tortured, worked to death and even experimented on with chemical & biological weapons by the Japanese. Some were even crucified on trees and beheaded by their captors! There was a strong feeling in both the USA & Europe that the Japanese should be taught a lesson!

19 Interpretation 3: Frighten the Russians At the Yalta Conference in March 1945, the big three agreed that there should be early free elections in Eastern European countries like Poland as soon as the war was over. With the death of Roosevelt in April 1945, Harry Truman became the President of the USA. Truman did not trust Stalin to keep his promises. RIP

20 Interpretation 3: Frighten the Russians By the time the big three met again at Potsdam on 23 rd July 1945, Stalin did not trust the Americans. He wanted to create a buffer between USSR (Russia) and Western Europe to protect her from future invasions. He started putting his Communist supporters into power in the Eastern European countries that he controlled. He is trying to spread Communism! We have been attacked twice in less than 25 years! The USA dropped the first atomic bomb 14 days later!

21 Interpretation 3: Frighten the Russians Russian Historian: Vadim Nekrasov, 1984 “Officially the Americans claimed that the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was aimed at bringing the end of the war nearer and avoiding unnecessary bloodshed and casualties. But they had entirely different objectives. The purpose of the bombings was to intimidate other countries, above all the Soviet Union.”

22 Interpretation 3: Frighten the Russians By October 1944 the Japanese had been cut off from 80% of their oil supplies. The US secret service had cracked the Japanese diplomatic codes and knew that they wanted to surrender before they dropped the bomb! The use of this barbarous weapon was of no assistance to our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated. Admiral Leahy, 1950

23 Interpretation 4: To Test the Weapon The Atomic Bomb cost $2,000 million to develop! Many of the Scientist & military advisors were keen to test the atomic bomb to sell what affect it would have on human beings. No one knew about the affects of radiation from a nuclear explosion. Later many US & British troops were exposed to radiation from the testing of nuclear weapons.

24 Interpretation 4: To Test the Weapon A demonstration of the bomb might best be made on the desert or on a barren island. Japan could then be asked to surrender. Robert Oppenheimer, June 1945

25 Interpretation 4: To Test the Weapon A demonstration in an uninhabited area was not regarded as likely to make Japan surrender. There was the danger of the test being a dud. Also we had no bombs to waste Henry Stimson, American Secretary for War, 1945

26 Conclusion: Now You Decide! Why did the USA drop The Atomic Bombs on Japan? Eastern Europe A military weapon to end the war quickly, save lives and keep the Russians out of the war. Revenge for Pearl Harbor and Japanese war crimes against Allied prisoners of war To test the weapon on live human beings to see what affect it had. To frighten the Russians so that they wouldn’t confront the West.

27 Counting the Cost Hiroshima 100,000 Nagasaki 81,000 POWs 400,000 US 250,000 Japanese 250,000 US Invasion of Japan Use the Bomb What would you do?


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