At the beginning of the August of 1945, the atomic bomb was the most powerful and lethiferous weapon that the humankind has ever had before. Possessing the most internecine weapon Harry S. Truman hold in demesne the key for avoiding a large-scale bloodshed and sudden war ending. And he did not fail to take advantage of it. Owning the nuclear weapon before hostilities outbreak president Truman faced the great moral dilemma: to use the atomic bomb, instantly destroying the whole city with all civic population and finishing the war, or chose the way of prolonged and intense battles with numerous casualties and military equipment loss from the both sides.
Alternatives to the Atomic Bomb Dropping
As Harry Truman was US Army officer in the youths and a few months was involved in the hostilities, he was aware by his personal example of the feelings and fears experienced by a soldier participating in maneuvers on the enemy territory. He also knew what overwhelming grief a soldier's death brings to his family. So, all his actions as president during the war were aimed to ensure a minimum of casualties among American soldiers. That was the weighty justification for using the atomic bomb as the lesser harm for both Americans with allies and Japanese ensnarled to the war. To ensure this statement let examine all possible alternatives to the nuke in Japan.
American generals were assured that USA can conquer Japan by assaulting and occupation of its territory. They developed the plan for the full-scale invasion into the islands of the Japanese archipelago, so called Operation Downfall . According to that operation, American forces might smash the enemy with initial casualties of 250,000 persons starting at Kyushu Island. However the Joint Chiefs did not take into account the attitude of the Japanese population.
Due to centuries-old traditions and the hard-fought advocacy of the government 35 millions of Japanese armed with old guns, scythes, pitchforks, bamboo spears and clubs were ready to sacrifice their lives preventing their native islands capture. 5,000 aircrafts destined for suicide operations were stocked at the Kyushu in the summer of 1945. There was approximately the same number of planes for conducting conventional warfare after kamikaze strikes. Thus alleged casualties in these circumstances could rise up to 1.5 millions of American soldiers.
There was some different opinion. The commander of the US Navy Admiral Ernest King opposed the plan of the general invasion. He considered that only the rigid blockade would be enough to force Japan to surrender in a few months. King believed that a huge garrison Kyushu, cut off from all sources of supply, in a few months would turn into a crowd of hungry rabble incapable for serious resistance against Americans. However, his position was not seriously considered neither the president nor other commanders, as in this plan there were too many coincidences.
Thus, the president should have realized that the fight against the Japanese people using the conventional methods would lead to terrible bloodshed among US and allies forces and the complete destruction of the Japanese nation. The only way to end this war with less devastating results was to force the Japanese government to retreat and surrender. Truman needed to conduct some impressive and formidable power demonstration that would persuade the Japanese that in this war even with such frenzied repulse their victory is impossible. Unfortunately, diplomacy in this case appeared to be powerless.
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Presidents Moral Dilemma and Admitted Decision
Since the nuclear weapon was novel and tested enough, the terrible consequences were not supposed in advance. The first atomic bombing was pre-calculated action, which would allow the significant reduce of the bloody battles casualties on both sides. Together with the USSRs entering the war it appeared to be a considerable argument for Japanese in favor of the surrender. However, the Japan Emperor did not proclaim capitulation. Perhaps it did not happen because of his irresistible confidence in the sacrifice of Japanese people or because of his misunderstanding how hopelessly exiguous were imperial forces in comparing with the powerful armament of the US army.
However, observing the aftereffects of atomic bombs explosion Truman seemed for the first time realizing dreadful murder he was responsible for. But it was still impossible to retreat. On the 9th of August 1945, Americans implemented the second atomic bomb dropping in Nagasaki. The clear demonstration of the monstrous, destructive power of the new American weapon persuaded Emperor Hirohito that his nation was at the brink of death. Unable to take on such a responsibility before history, the emperor decided to give up.
Being the commander-in-chief and realizing that missing the casualties during the war with Japan simply can not be managed, Harry Truman had to choose sacrifices. And that was the huge moral dilemma for him. Bombarding Japanese with the nuclear weapon could provide the minimum of casualties on both sides in comparison with launching of the planned invasive operation. This fact played a crucial role in the making decision by the president . At the same time, having a terrific desire to make the most sensible and humane decision, Truman put in his best licks to make the target "a purely military one".
After the explosion of the "Fat man" in Nagasaki, President Truman faced another moral dilemma. As the other atomic bomb was prepared for Tokyo destruction and if Emperor Hirohito did not retreat again, he would have to venture for entirely regrettable actions towards the people. By his own words the whole his humanity outcried against more else 100,000 Japanese, whose blood might appear on his hands after the new explosion . So, he tried to find out the other alternative to the nuclear weapon, but, fortunately, Emperor Hirohito proclaimed capitulation. Thus, Truman escaped of making drastic bloodcurdling decision, and his dilemma was solved.
opportunity at a very reasonable price
So, we can conclude, that the greatest dilemma, faced by the President Harry. S. Truman concerning the usage of nuclear weapon was the choice of possible casualties among the US' and allies' soldiers and Japanese military forces and civilians. The creation of the atomic bomb and extremely opportune Japan surrender were those foremost important facts, which facilitated president's choice and induced him to particular fixing his moral dilemmas.