It’s been over 70 years now since the end of the biggest event in World History; World War II. A war that had spanned from 1939-1945; from Germany’s invasion of Poland, to Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. This conflict cost the lives of over 60 million people. What brought upon the end to the War, was U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s infamous decision of dropping atomic bombs on the cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, part of present-day Japan.
By early May, 1945, Japan’s only remaining ally (Germany), surrendered to the Allies. Japan was now the only remaining Axis power left. The situation seemed dire for Japan, but the Japanese government had too much pride to accept defeat. They had refused the Allies demand for their unconditional surrender and stated that they were willing to fight to the last man.
The Allies (U.S. primarily and excluding the U.S.S.R.) were presented with two options; build up an immense army and navy to launch an amphibious invasion of Japan, or drop the newly developed atomic bombs.
On the 6th of August, 1945. The new U.S. President, Harry S. Truman, gave his approval to drop one atom bomb on the city of Nagasaki, in an attempt to avoid having to invade, to save thousands of American lives. The Japanese nonetheless, still refused to surrender. On the 9th of August, 1945, the Soviet Union began its’ invasion of Manchuria (region in modern-day China). President Truman acknowledged the fact that the Soviets would overrun the Japanese, and would be ready to invade the Japanese main islands sooner. During this era, The Soviet Union and The United States of America had opposite economic,political, and societal ideologies they both wanted to spread across the world. With this in mind, Truman, approved the dropping of a second atom bomb in the city of Nagasaki, later that day (Aug. 9th). 6 days later, Japan announced its’ surrender to the Allies.
President Truman made a public statement explaining why the bombs were used:
Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.
The statement implies that dropping the bombs were justified as a way to avenge the pain and suffering that Americans went through from the Japanese and to avoid having to invade the Japanese main islands. Based on this we can garner the following premises:
Premise 1: One of the purposes of dropping the atom bombs was to avenge the Americans who died and suffered from the Japanese.
Premise 2: Another purpose of dropping the atom bombs was to save thousands of lives
Conclusion: Therefore the dropping of the atomic bombs were necessary
We can determine the soundness of the statement by determining whether the premises are factually correct:
- Premise 1 is factually correct
- Premise 2 is factually correct
Although the premises are factually correct; the conclusion, however, is not. This is because the dropping of the bombs were due avenge fallen Americans, to save thousands of lives by ending thousands of others, and many other unmentioned reasons (e.g. Beat the Soviets in conquering Japan and spread capitalism in the country). Therefore, the statement is valid (conclusion follows premises), not factually correct, and not sound.