1988 Dbq: Should We Drop the Bomb?

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The United States' decision to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima was more of a diplomatic measure calculated to intimidate the Soviet Union in the post-Second-World-War era rather than a strictly military measure designed to force Japan's unconditional surrender. The United States Government's decision was influenced somewhat by popular sentiment of the war. Japan had an army of an estimated 5 million people. In his memoirs, Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson wrote: "I was informed that such operations might be expected to cost over a million casualties, to American forces alone." A strategy was already devised to defeat Japan "without reliance upon the atomic bomb, which had not yet been tested in New Mexico." (Document A) From a report of a Scientific Panel, a moderate consensus was stated that "the opportunity of saving American lives by immediate military use, and believe that such use will improve the international prospects, in that they are more concerned with the prevention of war than with the elimination of this special weapon," helped bring support for the cause to use the bomb to end the war quickly. (Document G) But the United States seemed not to be concerned so much with the defeat of the Japanese which as General H. H. Arnold, Commander of the American Army Air Force stated: "atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse," (Document B), but instead with Soviet involvement in the war. The United States and Britain felt threatened by Russia. They knew that Russia was bitter from their loss of territory and dignity after Japan defeated them in 1904. At the Yalta Conference, Russia demanded its lost territory back. It sided against Japan on the condition that Outer Mongolia remain the same, and that what was taken from Russia in 1904 be given back to them. (Document D) Dwight D. Eisenhower recollected from a meeting
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