Was Truman Justified in dropping the atom bomb?

Essay by mpagriHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2004

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The order to use atomic weapons against another country has only been carried out once in the entire history of the world. The invention of nuclear weaponry impacted the worlds' arsenals in a way that no other weapon had; the A-bomb was a super bomb, the first in its class. President Harry S. Truman - unexpectedly thrust into the position of Chief of Command - was confronted with the raging World War II and the creation of this new mystery weapon. It is known to all that Truman gave the order to drop two atomic bombs over two Japanese cities on Aug. 6th and Aug 9th 1945, but what is not known is Truman's exact decision process leading up to the order. Did Truman have no choice but to order the use of these annihilating weapons, which leveled entire cities? What were the factors that made Truman risk the use of these revolutionary bombs?

In order to understand how grave and dire this decision was, a brief history of the bomb itself is necessary.

The Manhattan project, the United States code name for the program developing the atomic bomb, began in 1940 . The project was led, in all scientific manners, by Dr. J. Oppenheimer, an American physicist, who ironically became very opposed to its use and campaigned actively against the creation of the hydrogen bomb . The estimated costs of the Manhattan project, through 1945, are $2 billion, which each atom bomb costing one fourth of that . The new technology was tested only once - in its plutonium version, not the uranium core that was used on Japan. The Trinity test was detonated near Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16th . General Leslie Groves, head of the Project, wrote a detailed informal memorandum to Secretary Henry Stimson after...