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Moral Considerations and the Atomic Bomb

Moral Considerations and the the Atomic Bomb in 1945

This paper will discuss the ethical considerations which went into the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan in the Summer of 1945. The first part of the paper will examine the background of the Second World War in the Pacific theater, particularly looking at the Allied insistence upon Japan's unconditional surrender and the brutal nature of the combat operations compared to those in the Western European theater. The second part of the paper will examine the physical and military condition of Japan by the summer of 1945 and discuss whether Japan was already defeated militarily. The third part of the paper will discuss the decision on the part of the American military and political leaders to use nuclear weapons, focusing on the particular decision-making process and the attitudes of the American leaders towards Japan and nuclear weapons. The final part of the paper will critique the decision-making process.

By the Summer of 1945, the Pacific war was in its fourth year and both sides were fatigued. Although ground operations were not nearly so large as those in the European theater, air operations on the part of the United States in the Pacific nearly equaled those in Europe, and naval operations were considerably larger. The Pacific war was also different from the war in Western Europe in one other important respect: it involved levels of brutality rarely seen in warfare since the end of the Thirty Years War in the 17th Century. From the very beginning of the war, the Japanese Army inflicted countless and vicious acts of violence on its captives, both military and civilian. By 1943, every person in the United States and the United Kingdom was well aware of the Bataan Death March and the rape and murder of civilians of all ages and races in Singapore and Hong Kong. As a result, little or no quarter was given to Japanese soldiers during the island campaigns and th...

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Moral Considerations and the Atomic Bomb. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:31, January 20, 2019, from