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The first Atomic Bomb

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The dropping of the First Atomic Bomb

Atomic Bomb explosion
Image depicting an Atomic Bomb explosion

Use the following links to examine the significance of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. It is still an extremely controversial issue and these internet links have been selected to try and give you information from each different perspective. Read the brief summary below to help you understand the key facts and then use the links to answer the questions.

Background: Brief overview giving you somewhere to start from.

The first atomic bomb was dropped by the USA on Japan in August 1945. It was dropped on Hiroshima and it is estimated that around 80,000 people died instantly.

Those in favour of dropping the bomb say it actually saved lives - due to the difficulties the Americans faced fighting the Japanese. Japan had trained its soldiers to fight to the death and never surrender. America had suffered huge casualties attempting to take islands on the approach to Japan. Those in favour say that hundreds of thousands on both sides would have died - whereas the dropping of the atomic bomb forced an end to the war. They state that Japan would never have surrendered and would have fought to the very last person. The atomic bomb forced the Japanese to change their tactics. The fact they didn't surrender until another bomb was dropped indicated that even with this enormous threat they still tried to hold out.

Those against the dropping of the atomic bomb point out that Japan was near to surrendering anyway. They explain that the fierce resistance the USA was experiencing was Japan's final efforts. They identify that the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima was basically an attack on the civilian population who had no hope of survival. Those against the bomb also suggest that the bomb was more of a test and a show of American power to their main rival the USSR. A second bomb was dropped a week later - a different type of bomb - some suggest that this is proof it was more of an experiment than anything else. Most significantly hundreds of thousands suffered radiation poisoning as a result of the bomb - even those not born at the time.

Questions to consider: You need to come to next lesson with these written out.

  • When was the first atomic bomb dropped?
  • What was the impact of the bomb?
  • Why did the Americans say they dropped the first atomic bomb?
  • Why do some people say the bomb was unnecessary?
  • Why do you think the issue is still so controversial?

Use these internet links to find out the answers:
You should use all of these links to find the full range of opinion.

You can also post a question on the Student History Help forum on this site.
Page updated Sunday, August 19, 2007

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