Courseworks

The Emergence of the A-Bomb (Rough Draft)

Plan of the InvestigationI. Subject of the Investigationsa. How can our understanding of why the United States came to make the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki be aided by studying the studying the history of the bomb and the events leading up to the decision to use it as a means of forcing Japan to surrender?II. Methodsa. Develop a bibliography by researching the history of the A-bomb making us of the Milwaukee Public Library and the Internet.b. Choosing relevant books and other sources regarding the A-bomb and World War II.c. Familiarize myself with the subjectd. Take notes on the material and produce a summary of the good supporting evidencee. Thoroughly evaluate the sources for their importance.f. Analyze my evidence in its historical contextg. Develop concluding remarks consistent with my evidence.Summary of EvidenceThe idea of atomic energy emerged during the summer or 1939. Under the impression that with this new discovery, Nazi Germany could potentially create an A-bomb quicker than the Americans, Leo Szilard became increasingly concerned. Szilard sought out to gain the support of an old friend, Albert Einstein, while he was away on vacation at his cabin. Sharing with him the current research on uranium and explaining that such a bomb was feasible, he hoped to convince Einstein to help take action and prevent the Nazis from obtaining this rare ore. Shortly after the meeting between the two, Szilard had the opportunity to share his views with an adviser to the President who recommended that Einstein should seek help directly from President Roosevelt himself. After a very daring attempt to attain the support of Roosevelt, World War II began shortly thereafter. Due to the skepticism of the high-ranking officials, the project was unimportant and overlooked issue for the next two years.Turning a dream into a reality, the US government began funding the Manhattan Project. This project foresaw the production of a viable A-bomb. During its production, the most complicated problem was extracting such enriched uranium, which was needed to maintain such a powerful chain reaction. Thus a huge laboratory was built in Oak Ridge, Tennessee that could produce the amounts of enriched uranium needed for the project. This six year project that cost the US government over two billion dollars was ran by a man by the name of Oppenheimer.Coded named The Gadget during its production, brought upon an overwhelmingly suspenseful moment for all of the onlookers, in which this God forsaken device could potentially prove itself to be able to end war or simply be an enormous disappointment and ultimately, a waste of time. On July 16th, 1945, the first A-bomb was test in Los Alamos. During that morning, it lit up the sky with a blast so powerful that it was even seen by a blind girl over 100 miles away.Furthermore, this potentially catastrophic weapon caused a lot of controversy. Many people including Oak Ridge scientists and Szilard who were involved in its development of the weapon, produced petitions as a means of taking a moral stand on the implementation of it after the German threat was no longer a problem.Despite their reasonable pleas, bombs dropped elsewhere. It just so happens I’m referring to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hiroshima suffered a devastating blow from a 4-1/2 ton atomic weapon nicknamed “Little Boy,” which killed 66,000, injured another 69,000, and ultimately, devastated a three-mile perimeter on August 6th, 1945. Three days later and missing by nearly a mile and a half, the US dropped “Fat Boy” on Nagasaki that still leveled half of the city and instantly killed 39,000 people.Although this seemly unmatchable force can devastate large areas instantly, its affect lingers on. Nowadays, nuclear fallout seems all too feasible and at the time, proved itself to be a very terrible hazard. Rain that follows was filled with radioactive particles. Moreover, further generation of survivors were strongly affected by the after effects of the blast. “We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the first destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark,” said President Harry S. Truman.1Evaluation of SourcesEinstein’s letter to Franklin Roosevelt – August 2, 1939.* By all means, this is a primary source. With the fear that the Nazis may gain an edge in the creation of the A-bomb that he believe to be possible, Leo Szilard sought support from very influential officials, which he didn’t acquire. And having been unable to persuade Fermi into agreement with him, he turned to Albert Einstein. After meeting with Einstein at his cabin and later coming into contact with an unofficial advisor of President Roosevelt, he found the support he needed. Prior to meeting this advisor, his intentions for Einstein were far less superior. Alexander Sachs, the advisor, urged Einstein to pursue the attention of the President himself. On the grounds that he didn’t support the creation of this bomb, but was unwilling to see the Nazis gain control over something so potentially devastating, he was more than willing to write to the President and do his part.Ultimately, this letter from Einstein to Roosevelt spawned the arms race. Therefore, the value of this document is of great consequences that directly affected the outcome of World War II. This letter is limited in the sense that Szilard and Einstein had no connection with government, thus had no security clearance. Their argument reflected their concern regarding what might have come of atomic fission and did not, in any significant way, reflect the issues regarding the World War that broke out shortly thereafter. Had either of the two been more influential, their opinions and the significance of the issue may have been taking more seriously. On the contrary, the issue was overwhelmed with skepticism.A petition from Szilard (and 69 others) to the President of the United States* All of the viewpoints in which this document is based reflect the consequences of Einstein’s letter to Roosevelt. Throughout the development of this new type of weapon, the respective parties involved diligently worked and were driven by the fear that America may be attacked by similar weapons during the war and may potentially be forced to use the same means for retaliation. However, after Germany was defeated, this no longer posed a problem. Thus, the creators were fully aware of its capabilities and were acting upon their moral obligations seeing no need to utilize this horrible gadget.This was their means of conditioning the morality of high-ranked officials, since “the people” were not aware of the inevitable repercussions that would come. The purpose of this petition was to attempt to prevent an unnecessary catastrophe that would be the result of the use of the A-bomb and to maintain the honor and respect; fore they saw it as our moral responsibility as the United States of America. The controversy, which this document arises, has value in the sense that it is merely based on moral consideration and attempted to influence the one person who has the authority to make the decision to use this weapon in war. It is limited since it only reflects that single viewpoint and doesn’t represent in any way why the final decision was made. And of course, it proved to have little effect on the mentality of the President.Analysis of EvidenceIt’s hard to say whether or not using the A-bomb on Japan was the right decision. Had that not happened, we couldn’t be certain that things would have ended up the same. Originally inspired with hopes of using the technology of atomic energy for mining and perhaps building another Panama Canal, these ambitions soon faded and the development of the technology was solely focused on its military application. The switch in focus is a direct result of Einstein’s letter to President Roosevelt. The biggest consequence was the fear aroused in many Americans that Germany and the Nazis may act upon this opportunity and with that power, put us in a position to defend ourselves using the same means, in which we were attacked with.As the war with Germany was coming closer to an end, the United States’ allies were closing in on the surrender of Japan, which seems more and more inevitable. The Mariana Islands had played a key role in Japan’s defense of its perimeter, but were subject to defeat in July of 1944. Therefore, after that point, Japan took many big hits from B-29 non-nuclear attacks. While these attacks were occurring, a Naval blockade was in place to hinder Japans ability to import oil and other crucial items; not to mention their overall ability to produce materials for the war. When Germany was finally defeated in May of 1945, the US and its allies could solely focus on the defeat of Japan.The Potsdam Proclamation ordered “the unconditional surrender of all the Japanese armed forces. Although this proclamation did not in any way, demand for Japan the yield the position of the Emperor. This position was of the utmost importance to Japan. They viewed their emperor as a God. And this proclamation didn’t offer any assurance regarding the Emperor’s fate.The United States wasn’t considering negotiation with Japan. After having not surrendered, the first A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later any peace-seeking attempts on their part were truly diminished when the Soviet Union declared war. Later the same morning, the US dropped a second A-bomb on Nagasaki. At that point, rumors were being spread throughout Japan that the next hit may come closer to home, in Tokyo. Japan’s administration frantically attempted to determine the type of the bomb that destroyed two of its cities and even after determining both bombs to be atomic, they refused to give in.The main issue the obligated the Japanese not to surrender was there concerns regarding honor, not the destruction of the country. And the Cabinet was the only group of people who could choose to surrender and failed to come to any conclusions. However, the following day the Cabinet unanimously decided to surrender based on the wishes of the Emperor. The Emperor was believed to be a God by the Japanese. Their devotion to the Emperor gave them the ability to give in, whereas fear and reason failed to accomplish this.Without the influence the development of atomic power had on World War II, the outcome could never have been the same. It was important to analyze the importance of Einstein’s letter to Roosevelt, because it’s a variable that impacted world history. Had this not been the case, for all we know, the Nazis may have developed the bomb and ultimately, became an even greater super-power, if not the biggest super-power with that sort of technology at their disposal. Being fully aware of the possible ramifications of atomic fission, Einstein’s letter overwhelmingly spawned the arms race.It was Szilard who first introduced Einstein to the importance of this discovery and several years later is the one who started a petition to prevent a possible catastrophe, if the technology were to fall into the wrong hands. It is the view of him and his other 69 constituents that attacking Japan with such a brutal weapon would be unjust, unless conditions called for it. They plead to the President not to attack unless the situation called for such radical actions and for the decision to be made with an open-heart. By all means, the samurai resistance was not willing to surrender. And probably would not haven given up so easy without the use of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A decision to destroy two cities and kill over 100,000 people has to be carefully thought out morally and the necessity need be assessed. And that is the main argument of this petition. Despite this petition, General Carl Spaatz gave the official bombing order eight days later.ConclusionUranium fission discovered in the summer of 1939 allowed the Nazis to stumble on to this technology. It was Leo Szilard who first saw the importance of America and the A-bomb. In an attempt to share something few were aware of, he turned to Einstein for help. Leo Szilard could very well have written the letter sent to Roosevelt, but Einstein took full responsibility for it. That letter started the arms race. Through the course of history and the various events encompassing World War II, this race ended in the American’s dropping two atomic bombs on two Japanese cities; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The samurai residence and the Japanese’s loyalty to the Emperor made for a very difficult opponent for the United States and its allies, since they were willing to die for their faith.Therefore, it very well could have required the total annihilation of Japan or simply the use of two atomic bombs to make Japan surrender. It’s impossible to beat an army who will fight to the end. Fortunately, it was the Emperor who finally impressed on the people the need to surrender; more particularly the impression he left on his Cabinet members. In conclusion, history as we know it (the consequence of WW II) would not have been possible without the use of those weapons.

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