Did the US have to use nuclear weapons to achieve Japan's unconditional surrender?

Perspective Writers' Votes
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The U.S. had to use nuclear weapons to achieve its goal of Japan unconditionally surrendering.

Pros
Cons
  • Only the use of nuclear bombs could convince Japan to surrender and thus was necessary.

  • The use of nuclear weapons was necessary to limit civilian and military human costs. If the U.S. stuck with conventional military strategies, many more lives would have been lost.

  • Only the use of nuclear weapons gave Japan a legitimate reason to surrender while keeping face. This would not have been the case with conventional bombing.

  • Dropping the nuclear bomb on a side that is not a civilian target would have sufficed to induce unconditional surrender.

  • US didn't need to use nuclear weapons. Japan's only condition for surrendering was for the US not to try emperor for war crimes. After Japan surrendered, the US ordered the emperor to stay on the throne and order Japan's military to fight anti colonial movements until Britain and France could re-occupy their colonies. In short, Japan's only condition for surrendering was something the US was agreeable to. The nukes were used to deliver a message to the Soviet Union & the world.

  • Japan would have surrendered, irrespective of the use of nuclear weapons, because the Soviet Union joined the war.

  • The nuclear bombing was unnecessary because it did not alter the Japanese leadership's perception of the threat that America was posing to them.

  • The bombs were not dropped out of necessity to end the war, but rather to justify the $2 billion cost of the Manhattan Project.

  • The bombing was a diplomatic tactic in negotiating with the Soviets and had little implication for Japan.

  • There was no pressing military need for dropping atomic bombs on Japan.

  • The targets of the nuclear bombs were selected by a desire to test the technical effects of the nuclear bombs, rather than by military necessity.

  • The US was aware of the Japanese intention to - nearly unconditional - surrender since they decoded a communication on a mediating request by Japan to Moscow on July 11.

  • The bomb(s) were also dropped, in part, out of racial prejudices against the Japanese people, which had escalated in American society following the attack of Pearl Harbor.