President Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has always been a highly debatable topic. According to Truman himself, he did this from a purely military viewpoint: dropping the bomb would end the war quickly and effectively, with the least amount of casualties on the U.S. side. He believed that ending the war swiftly this way would also save a lot of Japanese lives. As even the scientists had no idea what horrible effects radiation sickness could cause, in Truman's eyes there wasn't much of a difference between dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or fire bombs on Tokyo or Dresden.
Summary of Possible Reasons:
- Ending the war early while minimizing casualties
- Justifying the expenses of the Manhattan Project (creating the bomb)
- Simply using the bomb because it existed and to test its effects
- Impressing the Soviet Union
- A response to Pearl Harbor
- Forcing Japan to surrender
This article is part of our larger educational resource on World War Two. For a comprehensive list of World War 2 facts, including the primary actors in the war, causes, a comprehensive timeline, and bibliography, click here.