Ronald Takaki's Hiroshima
Although WW II ended over 50 years ago there is still much discussion as to the events which ended the War in the Pacific. The primary event which historians attribute to this end are the use of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although the bombing of these cities did force the Japanese to surrender, many people today ask "Was the use of the atomic bomb necessary to end the war?" and more importantly "Why was the decision to use the bomb made?" Ronald Takaki examines these questions in his book Hiroshima.
The official reason given for dropping the bomb was to bring a quick end to tht war and save American lives. However, Takaki presents many different explanations as to why the decision to use the bomb was made.
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Leahy believed that it was not necessary to force Japan to utter collapse but that a conditional surrender which would allow them to retain their emperor would be more in order. Japan was ready to make this type of surrender in July of 1945. Many scientists also were concerned about the use of the atomic bomb. They worried that this new type of weapon would compromise the United State's "whole moral position". One of the most prominent scientists who felt this way was Hungarian scientist Leo Szilard. Szilard believed that the decision to use the bomb should be left to the highest political leadership" and not to the military. Szilard and several other atomic scientists sent a petition to President Truman protesting the bomb on moral grounds. This prompted a poll of the Manhattan Project scientists concerning the use of the bomb. The poll concluded most of the scientists were opposed to using the bomb in the manner it was deployed. One day after the test of the bomb sixty-seven scientists signed Szilard's "A Petition to the President of the United States" which stated that they had concluded that atomic power could bring about a quick end to the war. This petition presented the scientist's belief that their were no limits to the power of atomic destruction and any nation that uses this power must "bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale
". (136) The petition also stated the scientists did