Trumans Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
Order ID 53563633773 Type Essay Writer Level Masters Style APA Sources/References 4 Perfect Number of Pages to Order 5-10 Pages
Trumans Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
Name: _________________________________________ Date: _________________ Per: _________
DBQ Assignment: Truman’s Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
Central Historical Question:
Did President Truman make the right decision when he chose to drop the atomic bomb on Japan?
Part A: Document Analysis
Examine the documents that follow. For each document, consider what information helps you interpret the document or put it in context. Make notes on information about the author, dates, source type, audience, etc.
Then answer the document analysis question(s).
Part B: Write the Essay
Your essay should have a strong thesis at the end of the first paragraph. You must use evidence from the documents along with outside knowledge to support your points. Your conclusion should reinforce your thesis without adding new information.
Document 1: President Harry S. Truman’s Press Release Announcing the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and Statement Defending the Use of Atomic Weapons
“…The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many folds. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development… We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war… It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”
“We have used it against those who attacked without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have abandoned the pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.”
1.) According to President Truman, for what reason(s) was the atomic bomb used on Japan?
Source: Memoirs of General H.H. Arnold, Commander of the American Army Air Force in the Second World War (1949)
The surrender of Japan was not entirely the result of the two atomic bombs. We had hit some 60 Japanese cities with our regular H.E. (High Explosive) and incendiary bombs and, as a result of our raids, about 241,000 people had been killed, 313,000 wounded, and about 2,333,000 homes destroyed. Our B-29’s had destroyed most of the Japanese industries and, with the laying of mines, which prevented the arrival of incoming cargoes of critical items, had made it impossible for Japan to carry on a large-scale war . . . Accordingly, it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.
- Do Gen. Arnold’s comments seem to indicate that it was necessary to use the Atomic bomb?
Document(s) 3: Critics of Truman’s Decision to Use Atomic Weapons
“…It is the Survey‟s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945 (well before the date of the [proposed] invasion) Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped.”
-United States Army Air Force Strategy Bombing Survey, 1946
“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons…My own feeling was that being the first to use [the atomic bomb], we adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and that wars cannot be won by destroying women and children”
-Admiral William D. Leahy, President Truman‟s Chief of Staff, in his memoir “I Was There” (Whittlesey, 1950)
3.) For what reasons do these critics of President Truman‟s decision oppose the use of the atomic bomb?
4.) Based on the above statements, why do you think President Truman ordered the use of atomic bombs to end the war with Japan?
Source: Henry L. Stimson, The Decision to Use the Bomb. Harpers. February, 1947.
The principal political, social, and military objective of the United States in the summer of 1945 was the prompt and complete surrender of Japan. Only the complete destruction of her military power could open the way to lasting peace.
Japan, in July 1945, has been seriously weakened by our increasingly violent attacks. . .There was as yet no indication of Japan to accept unconditional surrender. If she should persist in her fight to the end, she has still a great military force.
In the middle of July 1945, the intelligence section of the War Department General Staff estimated Japanese military strength as follows: in the home islands, slightly over 2,000,000; in Korea, Manchuria, China proper, and Formosa, slightly over 2,000,000. The total strength of the Japanese army was estimated at about 5,000,000 men.
Two great nations were approaching contact in a fight to a finish, which would begin on November 1, 1945. Our enemy, Japan, commanded forces of somewhat over 5,000,000 armed men. As long as the Japanese Government refused to surrender, we should be forced to take and hold the ground.
In order to end the war in the shortest possible time and to avoid the enormous losses of human life, I felt that we must use the Emperor as our instrument to command and compel his people to cease fighting. The bomb seemed to me to furnish a unique instrument for that purpose.
My chief purpose was to end the war in victory with the least possible cost in the lives of the men in the armies which I had helped to raise.
The face of war is the face of death; death is an inevitable past of every order that a wartime leader gives. The decision to use the atomic bomb was a decision that brought death to over a hundred thousand Japanese. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki put an end to the Japanese war. It stopped the fire raid and the strangling blockade; it ended the ghastly specter of a class of great land armies. . .
- Was Stimson for or against the use of the atomic bomb? Do you find the evidence that Stimson offers convincing?
- How does the date when this document was written influence your interpretation of it?
Document 5: Reactions of U.S. Servicemen
“The day was August 6, 1945. I was a G.I. who had weathered the war in Europe and now awaited my place in the storming of Japan’s home islands. On Truman’s orders, the first atomic bomb ever wielded in war exploded over Hiroshima. For Americans in uniform and those who waited for them to come home, outrageous as this might appear from the moral heights of hindsight, it was a sunburst of deliverance.” —Lester Bernstein, New York Times, 10/24/65
“When the atom bombs were dropped and the news began to circulate that we would not be obligated in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared and shelled we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live. We were going to grow to adulthood after all.”
– Paul Fussell, U.S. Infantryman in Europe,
upon Receiving Word of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
As recalled in:”Thank God for the Atom Bomb” by Prof. Paul Fussell
- What words in these quotes let the reader know how soldiers felt about the dropping of the atomic bomb?
8.) Why would American troops assigned occupation duty in postwar Germany be relieved that American bombers had deployed two atomic weapons on Japan?
Document 6: Thoughts from the men who dropped the bomb
Colonel Tibbets was the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B29 Superfortress that dropped the world‟s first atomic weapon on Hiroshima. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Tibbets was asked how he felt about his role in the world-altering events of August 1945:
“I was anxious to do it… I wanted to do everything that I could to subdue Japan. I wanted to kill the bastards. That was the attitude of the United States in those years…I have been convinced that we saved more lives than we took. It would have been morally wrong if we‟d have had that weapon and not used it and let a million more people die.”
-“The Men Who Brought the Dawn: The Atomic Missions of Enola Gay and Bock’s Car”, Smithsonian Channel (1995)
9.) Does Col. Tibbets appear to have any remorse for dropping “Little Boy” on Hiroshima?
10.) For what reason(s) does Col. Tibbets support President Truman‟s decision to use atomic weapons?
This is the mushroom cloud rising over Hiroshima, Japan. The city of Hiroshima was the target of the world‟s first atomic bomb attack at 8:16 a.m. on August 6, 1945. The cloud rose to over 60,000 feet in about ten minutes.
About 30 seconds after the explosion, the Enola Gay circled in order to get a better look at what was happening. By that time, although the plane was flying at 30,000 feet, the mushroom cloud had risen above them. The city itself was completely engulfed in a thick black smoke.
After the detonation and the subsequent destruction of Hiroshima, one of the crewmembers of the Enola Gay muttered, “Good God, how could anyone survive that down there?”
11.) From an altitude of over 40,000 feet, how immense must the destruction of Hiroshima been for the Enola Gay‟s crew to have been able to see it?
12.) The atomic bombing of Hiroshima actually killed less Japanese civilians than the fire-bombing of Tokyo several weeks earlier. Why was there no outcry after the Tokyo bombing?
Doc. 8: Photos of Victims
This boy, who was burned to death with his hands placed on his chest, leaving an impression of agony, is believed to have been a mobilized student exposed to the A-bomb in Iwakana township, which is about 700 meters from the hypocenter.
Central Historical Question
Did President Truman make the right decision when he chose to drop the atomic bomb on Japan?
When writing your essay it might be helpful to consider the following:
- What other options did the United States have to bring an end to war with Japan?
- What additional political/strategic considerations may have been a part of the decision?
- How was this decision viewed by leaders/people in other countries?
- How does hindsight / knowledge of consequences change our perspective on this situation?
When selecting and using evidence consider the following:
- Which documents best support your thesis?
- You should refer to a majority (more than half) of the documents presented.
- How will you introduce and refute counter-arguments?
- Can multiple pieces of evidence be used together to make a stronger point?
This assignment will be graded using IB rubrics for Critical Thinking and Communicating.
QUALITY OF RESPONSE NO RESPONSE POOR / UNSATISFACTORY SATISFACTORY GOOD EXCELLENT Content (worth a maximum of 50% of the total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 20 points out of 50: The essay illustrates poor understanding of the relevant material by failing to address or incorrectly addressing the relevant content; failing to identify or inaccurately explaining/defining key concepts/ideas; ignoring or incorrectly explaining key points/claims and the reasoning behind them; and/or incorrectly or inappropriately using terminology; and elements of the response are lacking. 30 points out of 50: The essay illustrates a rudimentary understanding of the relevant material by mentioning but not full explaining the relevant content; identifying some of the key concepts/ideas though failing to fully or accurately explain many of them; using terminology, though sometimes inaccurately or inappropriately; and/or incorporating some key claims/points but failing to explain the reasoning behind them or doing so inaccurately. Elements of the required response may also be lacking. 40 points out of 50: The essay illustrates solid understanding of the relevant material by correctly addressing most of the relevant content; identifying and explaining most of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology; explaining the reasoning behind most of the key points/claims; and/or where necessary or useful, substantiating some points with accurate examples. The answer is complete. 50 points: The essay illustrates exemplary understanding of the relevant material by thoroughly and correctly addressing the relevant content; identifying and explaining all of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology explaining the reasoning behind key points/claims and substantiating, as necessary/useful, points with several accurate and illuminating examples. No aspects of the required answer are missing. Use of Sources (worth a maximum of 20% of the total points). Zero points: Student failed to include citations and/or references. Or the student failed to submit a final paper. 5 out 20 points: Sources are seldom cited to support statements and/or format of citations are not recognizable as APA 6th Edition format. There are major errors in the formation of the references and citations. And/or there is a major reliance on highly questionable. The Student fails to provide an adequate synthesis of research collected for the paper. 10 out 20 points: References to scholarly sources are occasionally given; many statements seem unsubstantiated. Frequent errors in APA 6th Edition format, leaving the reader confused about the source of the information. There are significant errors of the formation in the references and citations. And/or there is a significant use of highly questionable sources. 15 out 20 points: Credible Scholarly sources are used effectively support claims and are, for the most part, clear and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition is used with only a few minor errors. There are minor errors in reference and/or citations. And/or there is some use of questionable sources. 20 points: Credible scholarly sources are used to give compelling evidence to support claims and are clearly and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition format is used accurately and consistently. The student uses above the maximum required references in the development of the assignment. Grammar (worth maximum of 20% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 5 points out of 20: The paper does not communicate ideas/points clearly due to inappropriate use of terminology and vague language; thoughts and sentences are disjointed or incomprehensible; organization lacking; and/or numerous grammatical, spelling/punctuation errors 10 points out 20: The paper is often unclear and difficult to follow due to some inappropriate terminology and/or vague language; ideas may be fragmented, wandering and/or repetitive; poor organization; and/or some grammatical, spelling, punctuation errors 15 points out of 20: The paper is mostly clear as a result of appropriate use of terminology and minimal vagueness; no tangents and no repetition; fairly good organization; almost perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. 20 points: The paper is clear, concise, and a pleasure to read as a result of appropriate and precise use of terminology; total coherence of thoughts and presentation and logical organization; and the essay is error free. Structure of the Paper (worth 10% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 3 points out of 10: Student needs to develop better formatting skills. The paper omits significant structural elements required for and APA 6th edition paper. Formatting of the paper has major flaws. The paper does not conform to APA 6th edition requirements whatsoever. 5 points out of 10: Appearance of final paper demonstrates the student’s limited ability to format the paper. There are significant errors in formatting and/or the total omission of major components of an APA 6th edition paper. They can include the omission of the cover page, abstract, and page numbers. Additionally the page has major formatting issues with spacing or paragraph formation. Font size might not conform to size requirements. The student also significantly writes too large or too short of and paper 7 points out of 10: Research paper presents an above-average use of formatting skills. The paper has slight errors within the paper. This can include small errors or omissions with the cover page, abstract, page number, and headers. There could be also slight formatting issues with the document spacing or the font Additionally the paper might slightly exceed or undershoot the specific number of required written pages for the assignment. 10 points: Student provides a high-caliber, formatted paper. This includes an APA 6th edition cover page, abstract, page number, headers and is double spaced in 12’ Times Roman Font. Additionally, the paper conforms to the specific number of required written pages and neither goes over or under the specified length of the paper.
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