The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview

Suggested Readings:
Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (2000); Daikichi Irokawa, The Age of Hirohito (1995).
Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, this hitherto undamaged, mid-sized Japanese city experienced the first use of an atomic bomb in wartime. Making use of air superiority, a single U.S. bomber and its fighter escort dropped “Little Boy,” as the first uranium bomb was code-named. The device air-burst over the city. At least 75,000–80,000 people were killed outright (one Japanese study puts the figure higher, at nearly 120,000); another 50,000–60,000 died in less than 12months from burns or radiation poisoning. Many thousands died later from cancers. Genetic mutations continued for several generations more, at the least. In announcing the attack Harry Truman said: “The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.” The internal debate among top officials in Washington had been fierce over whether or not to drop the bomb on a Japanese city, and on which city, or whether it would be possible to make some kind of “demonstration” instead. The arguments focused on the need to end the war quickly both to avoid further casualties and to preserve certain political considerations in Asia, the expected degree of Japanese resistance to a seaborne invasion, the benefits to the Allies of avoiding an invasion of the home islands and house-to-house fighting through Japan’s major cities, and the likely casualties the Allies (and the Japanese) would incur should the bomb not be dropped. Also discussed was the probable effect on the shape of the postwar peace and the behavior of the Soviet Union and what effect the expected Soviet declaration of war on Japan (which came two days later, on August 8, 1945) might have on the likelihood of Tokyo’s early surrender. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. See also air power; biological warfare;just war tradition; Manhattan Project; J. Robert Oppenheimer; Potsdam conference; Potsdam Declaration; strategic bombing; thousand bomber raids; total war; unconditional surrender.

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The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iv
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • F 530
  • Suggested Reading: 534
  • Suggested Readings: 547
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  • G 601
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  • H 681
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  • I 752
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  • J 846
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  • K 884
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  • L 927
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