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The most influential weapons for the U.S. during WWII were the aircraft carrier, the aircraft, and the atomic bomb. For a number of reasons, these powerful beasts helped us to win. World War II was a particularly deadly war, mostly because weapons had been improved significantly. Guns could shoot faster and at longer distances. Tanks could fire with extreme power and protect those inside like never before. The most important weapons for the U.S. during WWII shared in common three characteristics: lethality, versatility, and speed. Aircraft carriers were a revolutionary innovation and proved to be crucial assets to America during the war. In order to beat the Axis powers, the U.S and its’ allies would have to take back the land that was lost. This required many landing operations which is where the aircraft carrier shined. Rather than launching planes from distant places, it launched them from areas closer to battle. This allowed aerial assaults to last longer and go further inland. It could launch deadly attacks quickly and could be used in a wide range of assaults. Aircraft carriers directly influenced the outcome of landing operations such as D-Day, which in turn helped change the tides of war for the U.S. Aircraft go hand-in-hand with aircraft carriers. Technological advancements made planes far more effective. Some were capable of short-ranged assaults and air support. Reconnaissance aircraft gathered intel. Bombers were capable of long-distance, precise bombings. Others included cargo transports, gliders, blimps, and jets. The age of air superiority began and it became essential to rule the skies. The United States had a strong arsenal of some of the best planes, including the P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-29 Superfortress. In The Battle of Midway (arguably the only turning point in the Pacific), the Americans discovered the position of the Japanese naval fleet and “all the aircraft in the world rained down on top of them.” The U.S. bombed and sank all four Japanese carriers, all 248 planes, and one heavy cruiser. That is only one example of the power of aircraft, but planes assisted in most battles and helped the Allies win the war. The atomic bomb goes hand-in-hand with aircraft. It was extremely effective, capable of causing mass casualties and mass damage in a matter of seconds. Bombs of this class were (and still are) some of the deadliest weapons available. Lyndon B. Johnson once said “The atomic bomb certainly is the most powerful of all weapons, but it is conclusively powerful and effective only in the hands of the nation which controls the sky.” America controlled the skies, and therefore the atomic bomb was most useful in their hands. The United States was the first and only country to use them and they directly influenced the war efforts of the U.S. by ending war with Japan. The U.S. dropped the first one, Little Boy, on Hiroshima killing 75,000+ and the second one, Fat Man, on Nagasaki killing 40,000+. We had entered a modern era of war where casualties had become mere tallies. Two days later, Japan surrendered. All of these weapons, in one way or another, helped the Allies seize victory in World War II. Without them, the U.S. quite possibly could have lost the fight. With them, we were the masters of power. Lethality makes a weapon good, as does speed and versatility, but together, they make a weapon great. These three weapons proved their awesome power in World War II in countless battles. What would this country be had we lost them? Not only did aircraft carriers, aircraft, and the atomic bomb influence the outcome of WWII, but they influenced the outcomes of the many wars to follow.

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