WorldWar 2 was a war that involved the majority of the world’s countries.
It lastedfrom 1939 to 1945 and was formed by 2 opposing military teams – The Allies(U.S, U.K, Russia & China) vs the Axis powers (Germany, Japan & Italy).By the end of the war, the cities of Japan – Hiroshima andNagasaki – suffered a pernicious attack, that involved 2 atomic bombs, drivenby the Americans. This is an event that has, and still raises many questionsregarding the reasons behind it.
Despite the U.S being oneof the Allies’ leaders, it officially only entered WW2 two years after it hadbegun, on December 8, 1941. Up until then, they had remained neutral in the war,providing war materials to the Allies, and meanwhile, tensions between theUnited States and Japan had been consistently escalating.It was when Japan launched? a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, a U.
S militarynaval base located in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, that the U.S entered thewar. This attack was portrayed to the Americanpopulation as an act of treachery and cowardice. It was indeed wrongful,but it was also taken as an offence and a defiance on U.S’s pride.
And so with this,U.S declared war on Japan and, in response, Germany and Italy also declared waron the United States, making them officially part of WW2.Although the attack was the breaking-point for the entry of the U.S in the war,they showed that, like the rest of the world, the main reason they decided toenter was for a greater humanitarian cause – to put a permanent end to thehorrific fascist regimes and to foster democracy around the world.It is indeed true this was one of the main reasons, but it seems to be toosimple. Was it only and mainly about these humanitarian purposes? Weren’t thereother interests involved? As it has been speculated by Howard Zinn in “A People’s History of the UnitedStates” (2005):Didthe behavior of the United States show that her war aims were humanitarian, or centeredon power and profit? Was she fighting the war to end the control by somenations over others or to make sure the controlling nations were friendswith the United States?” (p.
411, 412). He then shows aninteresting fact that demonstrates this other interest in war, explaining thatin Autumn of 1941, President Roosevelt (U.S) and Winston Churchill (U.K) had metand established the Atlantic Charter – An agreement that set forth goals forthe postwar years, such as freedom of the seas, global cooperation,self-government and no unwilling territorial changes. But, in contradiction,the U.S had earlier implied they would help the French regain their overseasempire (Indochina) after war, which goes against the “self-government” ethic. Thisshows that they were interested inmaking friendships with other nations, nevertheless, it’s understandable thatthe U.
S wants good alliances to have what’s best for them, aswell as any othercountry.War in Europe was finallyover when Germany signed its ‘Instrument of Surrender’ on May 8, 1945. However,Japan did not accept the terms for unconditional surrender, and the war in thePacific Ocean continued. In the mean time, the U.S were starting to plan a hugemain-land invasion on Japan, codenamed “Operation Downfall”.
After Americans succesfully tested the first atomic bomb in July 16, 1945, theAllies called for the unconditional surrender of Japan once again, on July 26,1945, under the so called ‘Postdam Declaration’, threatening that, ifrejecting, they would face ‘prompt and utter destruction’.Japan once again refused to surrender unconditionally and the U.S did nothesitate to carry out they’re threat. And so, on August 6, 1945, the uranium gun-type bomb named “Little Boy” wasdropped on Hiroshima. The results were catastrophic; almost everything within a3 mile radius was completely destroyed. Accordingto the “Manhattan Engineer District” this massive blast caused approximately135.
000 casualties, of which an estimated 66.000 died, and 69.000 were injured(Atomic Archive). And according to journalist and historian Daniel Ford (2017),another 20.000 deaths can be added if counting the Korean slave workers thatlived in Japan, rounding it up to 80.000 (assuming they didn’t all die).The main cause of these deaths were obliteration, burns, falling debris andradiation exposure.