Atomic Bomb – UPSC GS1

Critically examine the factors that forced US to drop atomic bomb on Japanese cities during the Second World War. Also examine the consequences of the bombing. (200 Words)
USA dropped nuclear bombs names “little boy” and “fat man” on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August 1945 respectively. The official justification offered by President Truman was that the bombings were necessary to stop the war immediately, which otherwise would have dragged for another year. However, it is believed that the bombings were needless as Japan was going to surrendered anyway. The more plausible causes are:-
  1. U.S.A wanted to demonstrate its military strength to U.S.S.R specifically and to the world generally.
  2. The bombing was used to stop Russians from capturing too much Japanese  territory after the war was won.
  3. It was also a vengeance on the earlier Japanese bombing of U.S. naval base, Pearl Harbour.
  4. US wanted unconditional surrender of Japan under Potsdam Declaration which was ignored by Japan.
  5. The spirit of Japanese military and civilian population was considered to be more stronger and aggressive than the Germans which created the mindset in allies of the unwillingness of Japan to surrender even after seeing the worst.
The immediate consequence of the bombing was the death of around 2,00,000 people and complete destruction of the two cities. It was followed by the surrender of Japan and the end of the second world war.
However, there were other consequences of the use of nuclear weapons for the first time. It led to more nations developing the nuclear bombs, as a measure of security and showcase of military strength.
On the other hand, also began the propagation of Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty by nuclear weapon states, to prevent any nuclear war in the future. Destruction was so huge that Japan adopted “war renouncing” policy and became one of the staunch critique of possessing a nuclear weapon. It became supporter of NPT and CTBT. DNA of people got distorted and till today children born with genetic defects in Japan.
The presence of nuclear weapons in today’s world does leave a possibility of a nuclear war, but the horrific destruction in 1945 acts as a deterrent for states against using these weapons. Cold war era started. Later on many countries (France, India, UK, China, Pakistan, North Korea) developed nuclear bomb with reason given that it will avoid war and establish peace in world.
PS: Obama visited the site in Hiroshima. First ever US President to do that.


Why bombing is considered a wanton act?
  • The bomb was dropped on the innocent civilian population.
  • Even before the bombing, Japanese fight was considered to be over and it was the matter of months for Japan to surrender.
  • There is no explanation as to why 2nd bomb was dropped after couple of days which added to the casualties.
  • The atomic bomb was said to be of no use from purely military point of view.

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