Sunday, July 11, 2010

Outcome and Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In 1944, the outcome of the war was becoming clearly unfavourable for the Axis. Germany became boxed in as the Soviet offensive became a juggernaut in the east, pushing the Germans out of Russia and pressing into Poland and Romania; in the west, the Western Allies invaded mainland Europe, liberating France and the Low Countries and reaching Germany’s western borders. While Japan launched a successful major offensive in China, in the Pacific, their navy suffered continued heavy losses as American forces captured airfields within bombing range of Tokyo.

In 1945 the war ended. In Europe, a final German counter-attack in the west failed, while Soviet forces captured Berlin in May, forcing Germany to surrender. In Asia, American forces captured the Japanese islands of two Jima and Okinawa while British forces in Southeast Asia managed to expel Japanese forces there. Initially unwilling to surrender, Japan finally capitulated after the Soviet Union invaded Manchukuo and the United States atomic bombs on the mainland of Japan.

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks during World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States of America under US President Harry S. Truman. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed on August 9, 1945 by the detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. They are the only instances of the use of nuclear weapons in warfare. The United States Department of Energy estimates that, at Hiroshima, the death toll from the immediate blast was roughly 70,000 with additional deaths occurring in the time soon after the explosion and in the decades that followed. The figures for Nagasaki are slightly less other estimates vary widely, and are as low as 74,000 for Nagasaki. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the deaths were civilians. The role of the bombings in Japan’s surrender, as well as the effects and justification of them, has been subject to much debate.

On August 15, 1945 Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2 which officially ended World War II. Furthermore, the experience of bombing led post-war Japan to adopt three Non-Nuclear Principles, which forbids Japan from nuclear armament.

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