Blink once; you now have an idea of the amount of time that is elapsed between an atomic bomb exploding and the instantaneous death of thousands of people. This is the sheer amount of power the U.S. had in their possession with the development of the atomic bomb. The need to construct such a diabolical weapon in the first place was essential to the United States, for they were concerned about Nazi Germany’s advancements in the technological field early on in World War 2. At first, the United States tried to avoid getting involved in the war, but then Japan drug them in forcefully. As the Pacific War and World War 2 in general raged on, the Americans searched for a new strategy to put an end to the war sooner rather than later. After going through the process of creating a functional atomic bomb, the question then became should the United States drop the atomic bomb on Japan or not. President at the time, Harry S. Truman, and countless other government officials had to tackle difficult questions such as this while at the same time having to consider the ethical and sensible side of things before making the decision that was best for both the country and the nation. Altogether, the brutal conflict in the Pacific led President Truman to an incredibly tough decision between war and ethics; Where in the end he chose to save countless American and allied lives by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, which led to the end of World War 2, at the costly expense of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians.Leading up to December of 1941, the United States had been for the most part staying out of World War II. There had been many slight infractions from Japan that made them intervene, but they never engaged in any sort of warfare directly. For instance, in July of 1937 the Japanese attempted to provoke China so that they had a viable reason to launch a full-scale invasion. They knew they were a small island country that needed to conquer others in order to expand their own empire and capture the key resources they lacked on their mainland. So on the 7th they began a military training exercise next to the Marco Polo Bridge without informing the local Chinese guards to make them think that they were attacking the nearby town. The Chinese reacted as anyone would have and fired a few shots towards to the Japanese who then fired back. Both sides then felt the need to call in reinforcements and that gave Japan a big enough reason to commence full-on war with China. The United States did not take kindly to this because it knew that if Japan conquered any substantial territory in China that their empire’s power would grow exponentially due single handedly to the areas abundance of resources. As time passed by, World War II kicked off and Japan had already captured China’s most important cities and territories. Their next move was to conquer Southeastern Asia, but they saw the United States naval fleet as a threat to this operation. So in January of 1941, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto began planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. He believed that this surprise attack would both wipe out the U.S. threat towards the Japanese navy and also catch them off guard damaging the entire countries moral. The combination of these factors would allow the Japanese to move freely through Southeastern Asia, without having to worry at all about the U.S. attacking them. Near the end of June in 1941, the U.S. knew it had to do something about Japan. The Imperial Army had began to move into Southeastern Asia and was becoming more and more a threat to the United States. They had even captured a naval base only 800 miles away from the Philippines, where American troops were stationed. So on July 26th, President Roosevelt froze Japanese assets, preventing them from receiving any and all economic resources from the U.S.. This was devastating to the Japanese economy because it meant that they lost 75% of their overseas trade and 88% of their oil imports. The Japanese did not appreciate this because they needed every war resource they could get for they were much more involved in the war at this point in time than the United States was. As tensions soared to new heights Japan sent diplomats to Washington D.C. in what they called a attempt to avoid war in late November. But at the exact same time 6 Japanese aircraft carriers and other battleships headed for Pearl Harbor for the surprise attack they had been planning since January. On the morning of December 7, 1941 the Japanese began their attack on Pearl Harbor. They struck in two waves with a total of 350 planes targeting the naval yard and the main harbor. The Americans were most certainly caught off guard but they could have been better prepared if the radar operators had known that the fifty plus planes that were approaching the Island were from Japan. This error proved to be very costly as the men and women soldiers  had very little time to fire back before the attack had ended. When things were all said and done the U.S. had lost 8 battleships, 3 destroyers, 188 aircraft, and more disturbingly 2,403 lives, half of which went down with the USS Arizona. In comparison, the Japanese lost only 129 lives and 29 aircraft. One day after the attack and the declaration of war from Japan, President Roosevelt spoke to Congress and asked for a declaration of war of their own in what is called the Infamy Speech. Congress went along with Roosevelt’s plan and declared war on the Empire of Japan on December 8, 1941.

Written by