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The Bombing of Hiroshima Plymstock School History Department.

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1 The Bombing of Hiroshima Plymstock School History Department

2 President Harry Truman: 1884 – rd President of the United States of America Making decisions is easy. I never loose any sleep over the hardest of decisions. I just ask myself ‘ is it in the best interest of the United States and her allies…it’s as simple as that. And remember the ‘the buck stops here’

3 President Truman In January 1945 Harry Truman became Vice-President of the United States, the deputy to President Roosevelt. However, an aging Roosevelt died suddenly in April 1945 only weeks before the end of the war with Nazi Germany and Truman became President. He was hardly qualified to do the job. His role had been largely symbolic, making speeches and smiling to the cameras. Roosevelt had kept him out of the business of running the war and sidelined him. Truman's only experience of running an organisation had been as the owner of a hardware store. Was he up to the job? Would you be?

4 President Truman – The Decision Before his death President Roosevelt had given the American and British Combined Chiefs of Staff (the senior officers of the armed forces) the go ahead for two secret operations. 1.Operation Olympic – the invasion of the Japanese home islands 2.The Manhattan Project – the construction of the atomic bomb These operations will now go ahead unless you as President change your mind. Can you make the choice?

5 President Truman – The Decision It is now August You are in a meeting with your Chiefs of Staff. They inform you, following the decisions of the late President, that a B-29 Super Fortress bomber has just taken off from the island of Okinawa. The plane, the Enola Gay, is ten minutes way from releasing an Atomic Bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. You have ten minutes to confirm either: 1.The order to drop the bomb 2.Order the Enola Gay to turn around 3.Inform the Chiefs of Staff that you are unable to make a decision as they have rushed you

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7 The Japanese had defended Okinawa to the last man. 110,000 Japanese alone had died. Invading Japan would cost many more lives (Allied and Japanese).

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9 No-one in Britain or America cared how many Japanese would be killed. Public opinion would support harsh measures

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11 The United States wanted to end the war before Russia could join in. This would give the USA a free hand in running Japan.

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13 Scientists wanted to see how the bomb would work on a real target. The bomb has not yet been dropped from a plane

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15 Blockading Japan and starving her into surrender would have taken a long time

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17 The Allies had been bombing Japanese cities with incendiary (fire) bombs. In one raid on Tokyo 100,000 people are thought to have died, the biggest air raid in history

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19 The use of atomic weapons was a war crime against humanity that was as bad as anything the Japanese or Nazis did. Can the dropping of the bomb be justified?

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21 A demonstration explosion on an uninhabited island might not have convinced the Japanese to surrender. They might think it a sign of weakness or, generosity

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23 The use of atomic bombs was bound to start an arms race among the great powers. It would lead to worse weapons

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25 The Japanese would never consider surrender unless some terrible catastrophe overtook them. The bombs gave them an excuse to end the war.

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27 Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not military targets. Women, children and old people suffered rather than members of the armed forces. War crimes

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29 The allies should have their revenge for the way Japan entered the war in 1941.

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31 The bombs would end the war quickly and might save the lives of thousands of allied prisoners of war.

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33 The bombs cost a vast amount of money. The allies needed to test their effects on real targets

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35 The Allied leaders had warned Japan they would use the bomb. Not using it now would be a sign of weakness to the Japanese and maybe Stalin

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37 Generations of Japanese have been punished down to the present day because of the effects of radiation

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39 Japan was finished; it could not have carried on much longer anyway.

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41 Mr President What is your decision? Do you recall the Enola Gay? Do you need more time to make a decision? Do you drop the bomb?

42 History lies in your Hands


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