Henry Truman and the Atomic Bomb (Research Paper Sample)
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624: Research Paper 02: Henry Truman and the Atomic Bomb
After the constitution was adopted it clearly separated the roles between the President and Congress commander in Chief. The U.S President has the powers to make treaties, nominate foreign policy makers and receive representatives from government. On the other hand, Congress can declare war and support armies when the need arises. The Cold War impacted on foreign policies changes with growth in presidential powers, but the president’s decisions are not necessarily absolute the executive branch is better placed to make major decisions on foreign policy making since they can act decisively given that they have experts of foreign policy and act with secrecy. As challenge of the Cold War was emerging, and Congress was more willing to allow the President initiate military actions.
Thesis Statement: Henry S. Truman’s decision to bomb Japan
Choice of A-bombs
Even though, the development of the atomic bomb started prior to Truman’s presidency he had the option of either using it or not. Young-Gun Ko, and Jin-Young Kim points out that Truman in his memoirs stated that, ‘the final decision of where and when to sue the atomic bomb was up to me.” Given the need to end hostilities with Japan the use of the atomic bomb was attractive ton Truman since the unconditional surrender would not result in retaliation. In any case, it was likely to cement the U.S position as a superpower. Despite the likely benefits that would accrue to the US for dropping the A-bomb, there was no certainty on whether President Truman would choose this option.
A reasonable and just decision
Victory is the ultimate objective for the opposing camps and the Allies wanted the Japanese to surrender unconditionally. However, even after Japanese losses started to mount the Japanese leadership still supported hostilities and war efforts. President Truman considered ground invasion to ensure there was an unconditional surrender since bombing was unlikely to achieve this objective, but there was also concern about estimates on troop losses. Hence, ending the war the soonest possible was attractive and since the Japanese had refused all ultimatums bombing would force them to surrender. Hiroshima was an important port with the army headquarters and there were war plants in Nagasaki, and the noncombatants were simply collateral damage. There was no intention for direct attacks on civilians, and hence this satisfies the ‘discrimination’ condition of Just War Theory.
Since the President oversees military activities as the Commander in Chief, the decision to bomb Japan was not undertaken unilaterally, and was well within his constitutional powers. Truman had already been briefed about the destructive capabilities on the atomic bomb, while relying on the recommendations, and advice from civilian advisers and the military. America had suffered casualties while fighting against the Japanese prior to the bombing, and clearly it was a climate of war. Consequently, Truman’s decision to identify targets and set military times was based on formal constitutional power as the Commander in Chief. A ground invasion of Japan was likely to meet resilience from the public and Congress given that the number of causalities would likely have increased substantially.
Even though, Congress has the power to declare war, there have been instances where there has been active involvement in war without the Congress’s approval in Korea, Vietnam, Gulf war, Afghanistan and Iraq. Truman had first-hand information about the atomic bomb only after he became president and since Presidents are obligated to defend the country there was no explicit constitutional provision ba...
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