It is important to United States History as it marks the first time war had been brought to the country’s shores. It ended the belief that the United States was untouchable because of its distance from other worldly powers and it propelled the country into the spotlight as a world power to be reckoned with. In the early morning hours of December 7th 1941 an intelligence report was obtained by United States government officials indicating that an attack on a United States port by the Japanese was imminent. But the information was not passed on to officials at Pearl Harbor until after the attack was already in progress. The attack came in two waves, the first of which consisted of 183 planes and the second of which consisted of 167 additional planes.
“It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing” – Dwight Eisenhower Discuss this quote in relation to historian’s views on the United States decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. On August 6th and August 9th 1945, atomic weapons were used as weapons for the first and only time in human history. President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan has since created some of the most controversial debates in history. Historians have been divided since that day, as to whether or not it was necessary to drop the atomic bombs, and what the real reasons for dropping them were. In fact, the debates behind using the atomic bombs against Japan began even before the decision was made.
In August of 1861, Alcatraz became an official military prison, housing mainly secessionists (George 9). After the civil war ended Alcatraz was no longer needed to protect the harbor, and so turned its attention on holding prisoners and in 1907 Alcatraz was named the U.S. Army’s Pacific Branch Military Prison, and then in 1915 the name changed again to Pacific Branch, United States Disciplinary Barracks (George 13 14). During the Great Depression the crime rates in the U.S. greatly rose, and the government was looking for ways to stop crime. In 1933, U.S. Attorney General Homer S. Cummings proposed Alcatraz as a use to hold more dangerous and vicious criminals, as it was completely isolated and nearly totally escape proof (George 16 17). In 1933 ownership of the island was transferred form the War Department to the Department of Justice, and $263,000 was invested to convert the island into the U.S. Penitentiary.
Germany, Italy, and in the beginning Russia were the only Axis powers that were present until Japan entered the war in 1940 joining that side. The Allied powers in the war included France, Great Britain, and in later years Russia and the United States. The United States did not get involved until 1941 with some stress as well as the continuing war in Europe; the United States had no other choice than to enter war against Germany and Japan. On December 7, 1941, the country of Japan, an Axis power of World War II, sent 353 kamikaze torpedo bombers to attack the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese attacked at the morning where most of the soldiers were still asleep and not prepared for anything.
This was the first arms limitation conference in history, with the United States, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan participating. The main goal of this conference was to set limitations on battleships, with carriers being just a minor discussion. However, it was carriers that would determine the course of the next war, not battleships. The current naval doctrine before World War Two was to get the battleships in close enough to strike the death blow to the enemy’s battleships. Aircraft carriers were seen as scouts to direct the fire of the battleships.
Andrew Tull Hiroshima On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the equivalent of 67 million sticks of dynamite on the heavily militarized city of Hiroshima, Japan. Earlier that year, in the month of July, Robert Oppenheimer directed the scientific campaign of creating and testing the bomb. All information about the bomb was top secret. It was so top secret that President Truman was not even told about it until after he took office. The airmen that dropped such a force of destruction did not know much about it either.
Even after the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8th, the war against Japan continued. The United States threatened to destroy Japan in the Potsdam declaration, but this threat was ignored by the Japanese. This prompted the use of the atom bomb. The first atom bomb was dropped on Heroshima on August 6. Three days later, another atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
Luckily some of the ships were out doing routine training at the time of the attack. The day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the U.S. had joined the War. When America joined the war it created thousands of jobs. Companies stopped making their regular products and started manufacturing parts and materials needed for the war. Many Louisville factories produced and supplied the Armed Forces during World War 2.
At this conference, the Soviet Union promised to begin helping in the battle in the Pacific Theater three months after the defeat of Germany. At that time, there was no knowledge of whether an atom bomb was even possible, and especially possible to create in time for the use as an offensive tool in the war. The way the date was set up for this bombing, merely 2 days before the Red Army was to join in the war, would seem to indicate that the US dropped the bomb to end the war without the need of help from the Soviets. Japan at the time of the bombing in Hiroshima was a country in shambles. The bombing runs of the Allies had destroyed over 2 million homes, and much of the Japanese industry had already been destroyed (Document B).
Global Essay The main focus of the United States when it dropped the atomic bombs on Japan was to force Japans unconditional surrender in order to save American lives. Many documents in government history support that this was the main focus. In 1947 Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson had in his memoirs that he believed that the Japanese would fight to the death and very end. This meant putting more American lives at risk in the war. Although the U.S. would’ve defeated Japan in the war eventually, the bombs made it so that they would surrender quicker so lives would be saved.