The Atomic Attack on Japan

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On August 6 and again on August 9, 1945, Japan endured attacks by the most powerful weapon ever devised. The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the targets of U.S. warplanes carrying the newly developed atomic bomb. The atomic age had developed a weapon so horrendous that it had elevated the war making capability of the world's armies to an oppressively intimidating state.


After Germany's surrender in May 1945, the U.S. and its allies were able to concentrate their efforts on forcing Japan to surrender. With the fall of the Marianas Islands in July 1944, it had become apparent to military leaders on all sides that the fall of Japan was a foregone conclusion (Long). The increased capability of B29 bombers to strike Japan opened Japan's cities and industry to severe attacks. Coupled with a Naval blockade that crippled Japan's ability to gain the resources to wage war, it was only a question of when the surrender would occur. By June 1945, General Curtis LeMay estimated that U.S. airstrikes would have no Japanese targets left by October 1945 (Long). As early as June 1945, the U.S. had intercepted cables from the Japanese to the Russians seeking aid in an offer to surrender (Lewis).
With Japan weakening, the Potsdam Declaration of July 1945 called for Japan's unconditional surrender. The harsh rhetoric of the declaration, aimed at the Japanese, indicated that Emperor Hirohito would be deposed and treated as a war criminal. ...
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