Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Exploratory Essay, Position #3 and Conclusion

John J. McCloy, assistant Secretary of War during the Truman administration, best communicated the compromise view during a meeting of top military advisors on June 18, 1945, when he summarized the changes he would make to U.S. policy in two key points: Before dropping the bomb the U.S. should tell Japan “that we had the bomb and that we would drop the bomb” and that upon surrender “we would permit them to choose their own form of government, including the retention of the Mikado (or Emperor)” (Giovannitti and Freed 136). The reasoning behind this argument is, first, that telling the Japanese specifically and explicitly about the atomic bomb, possibly with the support of film or photographs, would have caused the Japanese to move more quickly to the then inevitable surrender process. Secondly, offering the Japanese people the retention of Emperor Hirohito would preserve Japan’s national honor, a cultural trait of much importance in their society. Because President Truman had called for unconditional surrender some that hold this viewpoint believe that not enough consideration was given to the Japanese Emperor compromise. While there are many variations on this perspective, the basic elements remain the same. It has the backing of many respected scholars and historians and is considered a relevant third voice in the debate of the dropping of the bomb.

The United States’ decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan had repercussions that have carried to the present day. The nuclear age has brought us a new world with all its benefits and dangers. Whether the benefits brought in 1945 were worth the horrors seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and those feared of a rogue government with nuclear weapons—are still fiercely questioned today.

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