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Dropping The Atomic Bomb On Japan

5263 words - 22 pages

Dropping the Atomic bomb on Japan
Currently, the United States of America is in the aftermath of a military action in which the U.S. used a preemptive strike with a weapon of unmatched technology and power. The United States went after an enemy who had attacked without warning (the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001)… or at least they went after whom they thought had attacked us. By heading into Iraq, the U.S. was attempting to finish what could become a messy, complicated war. The United States has tried this before, lets see how it worked.

On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an unprecedented atomic bomb on Japan, which effectively ended the ...view middle of the document...

12]. These actions forced the rest of the world to recognize Japan as one of the strong powers in the East. As a result of the Treaty of Versailles (January, 1919), they gained the former German territories in the Mariana, Caroline and Marshall Islands [McKay p.926, Smurthwaite p.7]. This extended their empire 3,000 miles into the Pacific and put pressure on the United States by threatening the U.S. bases in the Philippines. To further expand its empire, Japan declared war on China in July of 1937 and invaded Manchuria. In response to international calls to withdraw, they instead withdrew from the League of Nations. During this period and on through the second World War, Japan’s army dominated the Japanese economy and government, with the result that Japan was at war constantly up until 1945.

While Japan was actively expanding in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the United States was turning in on itself. The end of World War I left the U.S. isolated from the diplomatic world when Congress refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. The United States did not desire any land or territory, instead they just wanted world peace and figured that isolation was the best way to go about it.

Beginning in June of 1938, the Japanese and Americans made conscious efforts to stay on peaceful terms, but their differences were too large. In the summer of 1941, Japan declared its intention to create the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, with “hostile intent for those countries that did not comply” [Smurthwaite p.14]. In response, the United States orchestrated a restriction of trade with Japan, especially threatening Japan’s oil supply. Japan was at a crossroads; they would either have to back down or they would be forced to make war. On December 1, 1941 Japan made the fatal decision to launch to launch a preemptive attack on the U.S. Navy, and six days later at 7:49 am Japan attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and attack that continued on to air bases at Wheeler, Bellows, and Hickham Fields [Smurthwaite p. 25].

Between December 7, 1941 and May of 1942 Japan attacked and conquered Guam, Makin and Tarawa in the British Gilbert Islands, Wake Island, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, Borneo, and New Guinea. At that point Japan had reached the full extent of its expansion [Smurthwaite pg’s 34-58].

In mid 1942, the U.S. was finally able to retaliate, and the first showdown between the two enemies occurred in the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942 and continued on to June 6, 1942 [Smurthwaite p.69]. This battle was jut the first of many between the U.S., fighting a war of vengeance, and Japan, fighting a war to defend its newly conquered territory and unique culture against western imperialism. The Americans plan was to continue war with the Japanese navy through a series of sea battles and to fight the Japanese army by ‘island hopping’ until they were within air range of Japan so that they could...

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