This GCSE assignment is based on the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. This bomb proved to be significant because on the 14th of the same month, Japan surrendered and the Second World War was finally over.
This piece of coursework will concentrate on three questions, all source based.1) Study sources A and BWhich source is more useful as evidence of the physical effects of the Hiroshima bomb? Explain your answer [5marks]Source A is a photograph of the centre of Hiroshima taken on August 7th 1945, the day after the bomb was dropped, and source B was an eyewitness’s account of the bomb. These two sources have both usefulness and limitations and how I will determine which one is more useful is by comparing them.Source A was taken at the time, and is a high quality photograph which shows the destruction that the Atomic bomb.
It cannot be interpreted because it a photograph and it shows the clear fact that Hiroshima has been clearly destroyed. However, the limitations of this photograph are that it is only showing the actual place where the bomb was dropped, what about the area surrounding it? Had that been damaged? We cannot be answered that from this source.This source however, does not have any intended audience because it is a photograph showing the aftermath of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima – therefore this source can be used usefully as evidence of the physical effects.Source B is an eyewitness’s account of the bomb, the narrators name is Mr Kazuo who is very descriptive and the reader can have a good understanding of what he saw.
Because the narrator has written very well and has described in extensive detail, it gives the reader that sense of truth in the source.However, the source could be seen as being biased. This is due to the fact that he was actually there and he was a civilian. His motives would be to make sure that America is seen as the ‘bad’ and ‘evil’ country that has killed thousands of innocent civilians. Also, the text seems to be a little farfetched. For example, ‘In their terror of dying they clawed their way, over one another, their eyes hanging from their sockets..
.’ The reader may think that this is trying to influence them by describing the event as worse as possible. You have to take into consideration the narrators motive. It does not state when he was there. Was he there after the bomb was set off? Was he near the centre where the bomb was dropped? This is a limitation of this source.In conclusion I believe that source A is clearly the more useful source to understand the physical effect of the Hiroshima bomb.
This is due to the fact that source B has a very clear motive, and it is biased. Its motive is to make the Americans to be seen as the guilty party and to influence the reader by gaining some sort of sympathy (its very ‘gory’ and manipulative).Source A however, is a photograph and cannot be interpreted in any way because it shows what actually happened visually. It shows the destruction of Hiroshima. It shows no life form which suggests to the reader that nothing and no-one survived. That is the clear reason why source A is more useful for evidence of physical effects on Hiroshima.2) Study source ESource E is written by a Soviet Historian during the Cold War.
Is it reliable as evidence of American motives in August 1945?Explain your answer. [5marks]To evaluate the reliability of this source, I will have to read the source, understand the content, uses, intended audience, motives and experiences to come up with a conclusion. This source is written in 1984 by Vadim Nekrasov. This is very significant because the Soviet Union and the USA were (at the time) in the cold war. This period was known as the ‘new Cold War’. This was due to many things that were occurring during the 1980’s.
The Soviet Union and the USA were going through a very difficult period. These events include; revolution in Iran in 1979. The USA supported the Shah because they needed Iran’s oil. The new government were both anti-American and anti-Communist. Problems also occurred in Afghanistan in 1979 where the pro-Soviet regime was under threat from the Mujahideen. Soviet forces entered Afghanistan on 25th December, 1979. President Carter described this as ‘the most serious threat to peace since the Second World War’.
Also Jimmy Carter, USA President, 1977-81) openly criticised the USSR over human rights. New nuclear weapons were another threat to the relationship of these two countries. In 1977 the USSR began updating their nuclear weapons. This caused the American’s to create the Cruise missiles which were an answer to the USSR’s SS-20s. This source already could be seen as biased even before the source is examined.However, the source claims that the USA used the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to send fear to anyone opposing the USA – especially the Soviet Union. The source states the Americans ‘decision to use atomic energy for military purposes was meant to produce a diplomatic and psychological impact, and this has since involved the world of nuclear arms.’ This source has experience because the writer has the ability of hindsight because it is written 39 years after the bombs were dropped.
The intended audience could be seen in two different ways. One perspective is that is it to be balanced because the writer has the advantage of hindsight, and his objective should be to have a balanced view and an overall conclusion. However, because the Soviet Union (at the time) was in a communist state, censorship was a device used by the government.
Therefore, anything that was against the Soviet Union was never published.In this extract of the text, it states that, ‘killing hundreds of thousands of civilians’ which suggests to the reader that a lot of people died e.g. 600,000. In fact, the death tally was approximately 70,000 in Hiroshima and approximately 36,000 in Nagasaki. These statistics were judged on the actual Atomic bomb being dropped, not the later generations.To make a good assessment, I will have to cross reference this source with another source.
This is done because we can see if there are any similar arguments and/or ideas that relate to one another. The second source I am considering is source D. This source is from the memoirs of Harry S. Truman, President in 1945.
It states that he met up with 10 men (military) to discuss what they should do about Japan. It had been estimated that the war would continue until late ’46. They all decided to use a bomb which should be only dropped on a military target, according to the ‘manner prescribed by the laws of war’. It states, ‘…
and never had any doubt that it should be used.’ This is not at all surprising that Truman does not state it was wrong for the bomb to be dropped. This source contradicts with source E.
Source G is from an interview made in 1963 with Saburo Hayashi, secretary to the Japanese War Minister in 1945. He states that the Japanese were prepared to fight the USA on the Japanese mainland. But, if the second and third attack came from the Americans, then there would be a blockade of food and supplies, and Japan would lose. ‘…if the Americans chose to come without haste the Japanese forces would have eventually had their arms up without the Americans resorting to atomic bombs.’This source suggests that the atomic bomb was not at all necessary.
But its origins come from the Japanese; therefore this source cannot be fully trusted. It only states one point of view, does not state if the Japanese would have ever surrendered. This source’s intended audience would be people wanting to know why the Atomic bomb was dropped, especially the Japanese people.
This source however, does link in with source E and how the Americans used the bomb for their own purposes, not just to end the war.So in conclusion, this source is quite reliable to understand the motives of America. This is due to the fact that two of three sources stated that the USA did not intend just to end the war, but to experiment their new creation of an atomic bomb. However, this source cannot be fully trusted because its motives are to make the USA seem the ‘evil ones’. This is due to the fact the he was a Soviet Union civilian and the government censored all articles and books criticising the Soviet Union regime. Therefore, he could not fully express his ideas and feelings towards the whole situation, only parts that were for the USSR.3) In source I Admiral William Leahy suggests that the use of nuclear weapons against Japan was wrong.
To what extent do the sources support this interpretation? Use the sources and knowledge from your studies to explain your answer.[15 marks]Source I is from the memoirs of Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to the US President in 1945, written in 1945. So instantly, you would believe that he would support the nuclear bomb because he was a fellow American and he worked directly for President Harry S. Truman. However, what we see here is that Admiral William Leahy is totally against the nuclear bomb. It states in his memoirs, ‘The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and were ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.
‘ What is meant by ‘barbarous weapons’ is that it is uncivilised. This suggests to the reader of the source that America were barbaric to use the nuclear weapon.It also states that the conventional bombs were more effective. This is proven by the fact that more people died in Tokyo than they did in Hiroshima. Another statement in this source that despises that use of the nuclear bomb is the ‘no material assistance’ – meaning there was clearly no point.Reading this source, the reader becomes aware that even Americans working directly for the President and people who should support every act the US government did. However, this source suggests that Japan would have surrendered regardless of the nuclear bomb.
This makes the dropping of the nuclear bomb demoralising and suggests the US were ambivalent towards the bombing of Hiroshima.But to evaluate the source and to see if the sources support Admiral William Leahy, I will have to see what all the sources are saying, the reliability and purpose of the source and finally to evaluate it.The first source I will study is source A. this is a photograph of what Hiroshima looked like one day after the bomb. It shows that there is nothing left, there is no life. It shows what was once a city is now just rubble. This interpretation is that the nuclear bomb was not at all necessary because the devastation that it did.
This source’s motive is to show the physical disaster of the nuclear bomb. It does not have any intended audience so it could be argued that this source is balanced. However, it does not show all of Hiroshima, only where the bomb was dropped. I personally believe that this does not have any reference towards Admiral William Leahy’s memoirs.This source supports Leahy because less damage would have been caused by conventional bombing but the same casualties would have occurred.Source B is an eyewitness’s account of the bomb, but this source does not state where he was when the bomb was dropped and does not say what area he was in.
So the source’s motives can be questioned already. It describes in very effective detail when the bomb was dropped and how people were suffering. However, it seems a bit farfetched where it states, ‘…
unrecognisable as human beings, but still moving.’ It seems that he is trying to make out that the Americans did this to innocent civilians who didn’t deserve this pain and suffering. This source questions the moral of dropping the bomb. It questions why did the American’s do this? I believe that American thought that the Japanese would see the destruction it caused and that the people would not support the Empire. It also questions the strategic reasons for it. If conventional bombing did the same destruction, what was the need of the nuclear bomb?So the motive and intended audience of this source is people who opposed the dropping of the nuclear bombs, which is the same interpretation of Admiral William Leahy’s, however this source cannot be trusted.
This is due to the fact that this source has a motive and is totally biased.Source C is from ‘Sanity, the Voice of the CND’ – (campaign for nuclear disorderment). So this source already has a motive and this is to get rid of all nuclear weapons. So this source is going to be bias and proclaim that America didn’t have to drop the bomb, which is what Leahy states, but source C cannot be trusted.
It states that the Japanese were going to surrender, and in mid-July Japan sent out peace feelers via Sato, the Japanese ambassador in Moscow. However, the USSR refused all offers of peace because of the Yalta agreement. On February 11th 1945, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met up to sign a treaty stating that the Soviet Union had to invade Japan after Germany had surrendered. (VE day – 8th May). The military equipment was available and cost $2,000 million.
It would have been difficult for Truman and his advisers to justify not using the bomb, after a vast financial investment. However, the American scientists failed to mention the long term effects of the bomb to President Truman and his advisers.Source C is written by peacemakers, so therefore they would not want any type of violence. It gives some facts but these facts are just to influence the reader. This is not at all a balanced source. But however, it does support the idea that the nuclear bomb was not necessary.Source E is by Vadim Nekrasov, a Soviet Union civilian who wrote, ‘The Roots of European Security’.
What has to be taken into consideration is the fact the Soviet Union was under communist control so there would be very strict rules on what was not published. This questions the source, is it really reliable? Or is it what the Soviet Union wanted to hear from its own people? It was published in 1984, and this was the period known as the ‘new Cold War’. This was due to many incidents occurring around the world which involved both powers.So the sources intended audience is people who hate the USA, i.
e. the Japanese and the USSR. The narrator of this source has the advantage of hindsight but his motives have to be questioned.
He would not be able to tell his true feelings because of the situation between the two countries.This source also agrees with the interpretation of Admiral William Leahy but this source is prejudiced and therefore cannot be trusted.Source F is a British cartoon produced in the 1960s. The British and the Americans were on good terms during this period so one would suggest that the British would agree with the bomb being dropped. However, the cartoon questions the moral of the dropping of the bomb..
.was it necessary?The source states, ‘Japan was seeking peace BEFORE the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima according to documents just leaked to the U.S press ”Don’t you see, they HAD to find out if it worked.
.”’ the source also shows two children looking upset with a destroyed city behind them in the background. This picture is a good device to influence its reader. It is an immoral image of children having their life’s destroyed.
This source links quite well with source C which also questions why was the bomb dropped? The Americans did not take into account the long term problems this would cause, such as radiation poisoning.This source agrees with what Leahy claimed in his memoirs. This source is a very useful one because Britain and Americans were allies but they agree with the Chief of Staff of USA which was the bomb was not necessary.Source G was from an interview in 1963 with Saburo Hayashi, Secretary to the Japanese War Minister in 1945. This gives him the advantage of hindsight. His point would be valid.
This is due to the fact that he was there. This source suggests that Japan were not going to surrender and were prepared to fight on Japan mainland, but were not willing to fight a second or third flee from the USA. This is comparison with source C, because source C also stated Japan were going to surrender. So this source contradicts itself because it says they were not willing to surrender, but not willing to fight after the blockade.
This source therefore is not clear-cut and makes the source not trustworthy simply for that reason. Also it is from a Japanese War Minister; therefore it is going to be biased. It is going to claim that the bomb was not at all necessary.
This source agrees with the reading of Admiral William Leahy but cannot be trusted because of the motives of the source.One British journalist managed to get into the Hiroshima city 30 days after the bomb was dropped and described it as the ‘atomic plague’. Seeing as though he is a journalist, he does not have a particular motive except telling the truth. So this source can be trusted. This is due to the fact that he was a British journalist, and also the fact that America had banned all journalists in Hiroshima does make you wonder..
.why that was the case.One other source I will look at is from an American nuclear scientist to the government in June 1945. It states that the Americans should have bombed a desert to show the aftermath of the bomb and Japan then could surrender. This shows that even that American scientists knew the destruction it could cause.
Now I am going to look at sources that do not agree with what Admiral William Leahy said. I am going to do this because I need to have a balanced argument to have a good conclusion.Source D is from the memoirs of Harry S. Truman, the US president at the time.
His motives would be to make the nuclear bomb seem justified and that it was necessary for the war to end. He tries to justify the bomb by proclaiming that the war had been calculated to have ended in late ’46 without the nuclear bomb.He also tries to justify the agreement of the bomb by stating he had agreed it with 10 men (military) so that he wouldn’t get all the blame for the destruction it caused. This is a strategic reason for why the bomb was dropped. If it wasn’t dropped the war would have continued. The intended audience for this source is people who agreed with the bombing of Hiroshima i.e. patriotic Americans.
The shire fact that he shows no remorse or regard to the welfare of the innocent civilians who tragedy died is really demoralising.So this source is the complete opposite of Leahy’s but that is quite obvious because the US president needs to say that every action he does is right and is fully justified.Source H is from Kasai Yukiko, a high school pupil in 1945. This source is showing people how the younger generations were taught and who to hate. It states that there life is not worth living if they do not kill an American. This suggests that the Japanese were not going to surrender and it shows the ‘Japanese warrior spirit’. This source goes against what Leahy’s views and ideas were on the bomb, in some way, this source tries to justify the bomb.
If the Japanese were not willing to surrender, when would have the war ended?President Harry S. Truman heard of the bombing and said, ‘This is the greatest thing in history.’ However, people are still dieing from the radiation sickness which the Americans at the time, denied all allegations and banned journalists from Hiroshima.Another source is from the Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki where it states, ‘I expect 100 million people of the glorious Empire (Japan) to join themselves in a shield to protect the Emperor and the Imperial land from the invader.
‘ This suggests that Japan were not going to surrender at all, that they were going to die for the Emperor.I also have to consider was there a motive for the Americans dropping the bomb. To have a clear understanding of this I will have to consider events leading up to the dropping of the nuclear bomb. A reason why the Americans could justify the bomb is because of Okinawa on April 1st 1945. This is where the Japanese used Kamikaze – suicide plane bombers at American targets. This killed 5000 men and 30 ships were destroyed. This was despite the fact that they had lost the Pacific, they still kept fighting.
Man made caves where found so the Americans bombed them but they found innocent civilians in there.However, the civilians were found with hand grenades and were told that when the Americans came they should kill themselves.So in conclusion I believe that in the majority of the sources agree with what Admiral William Leahy interpretation of the bomb was.
Most sources believe that the bomb was dropped for testing, not for the need to end the war. However, it has to be pointed out that in some sources; it does suggest that the Japanese were not going to surrender. This is shown in sources D and H – source H coming from a Japanese student at the time! That shows the Japanese warrior spirit that they would rather die than surrender. Also the events at Okinawa on April 1st did make the dropping of the nuclear bomb inevitable (nothing would have stopped the dropping of the bomb).It has to be considered though, if the bomb was not dropped, when would have the war officially been over? Many Americans believed that it was not their war to fight with to begin with. This is due to the fact that Americans believed in ‘isolationism’ – this is the term used for the USA staying out of international affairs to thrive on making their country the best it can be.
Europe was suffering greatly with their finances in the war and had to borrow money of countries (the main one being America themselves!).I believe that the dropping of the nuclear bomb was totally wrong. For strategic reasons and for morality. This is due to the fact that more people died in Tokyo from conventional bombing than they did in Hiroshima. The civilians of Hiroshima, after 40 years of the bomb being dropped, people are still suffering from radiation poisoning.Although President Truman tries to underline the purpose of the bomb being dropped, he does not convince me.
The fact that the war was coming to a close shows the real intent for the use of this bomb…simply testing.In spite of the fact that it is suggested in source H that the Japanese were never going to surrender, source G (from the Secretary to the Japanese War Minister), states that they were not willing to fight a second or third flee of American troops.So in conclusion, seeing as though Admiral William Leahy was Chief of Staff to the US president and he states it was wrong, it is as if it is coming out of the ‘horses’ mouth.’