Evidence and source questions

Do you agree or disagree? I feel that this leaflet is very useful to historians, although it is admittedly very biased towards America and written from a desperate American perspective, we can look at this source and gather essential information about their aims behind this leaflet, the overall perception of America as a leading force and the mentality of the Japanese. The leaflet was dropped the day after the raid on Hiroshima.

The main and clear purpose of the leaflet was to scare the Japanese people, it needed to hit them hard and make clear that the aftermath of flotsam that lay in Hiroshima was likely to be repeated should the Japanese not surrender unconditionally. America knew the mentality of the Japanese and the calibre of civilians they were dealing with. Their loyalties to the country were epitomised at Iwo Jima and Okinawa where thousands of Japan’s troops lost their lives while only a minority surrendered.

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America knew that this mentality was a hard one to combat, they feared that invading the country conventionally would mean great loss of American life, and, for that matter Japanese life. Before the bomb had been dropped both US and Japanese forces were preparing for a conventional onslaught of troops, the Japanese even going to the extent of using ‘Sherman Carpets’ (children strapped with dynamite who threw themselves under tanks). Such horrendous events were probably against the US principles.

It is clear to see that the primary purpose of this leaflet, therefore was to intimidate the Japanese and overpower their great sense of pride without having to drop the second bomb. I understand that America only had only 1 bomb left after having constructed 3 bombs and actually detonating 2 of them. This highlights the false impression the leaflet tends to give when it states that America will drop bombs like they did on Hiroshima ‘Again and Again’, when in fact they wouldn’t have the ammunition.

The leaflet also states that it equals the power carried by 2000 of their super fortresses and claims that it is the most destructive weapon ever designed by man. Although this would have been key in scaring the Japanese the Americans would have been so emotive for another reason, re-enforcing their military might to other world powers, namely Russia, who were one of their main threats. The leaflet, however, is very one sided and one must remember this when analysing it. It fails to mention some key aspects of the situation.

For example, it fails to explain the other options America had before dropping the second bomb, such as a penetration of the country with troops, or even conventional bombing which had been effective in Tokyo. Ultimately the leaflet is very useful to an extent, one can gather the intentions of the United States. It is quite apparent that America do not wish to drop the second atomic bomb unless completely necessary, but some may argue that they still wanted to prove its might.

Additionally, historians have revealed that the Americans may have wanted to test the last bomb as it was a plutonium bomb and an unknown entity, while the previous two bombs had been uranium and they knew what to expect. W We are in possession of the most destructive weapon ever designed by man. A single one of our atomic bombs equals the explosive power carried by 2000 of our Super Fortresses….. Before using this bomb again and again to destroy every resource which your military leaders have… we ask you to petition your emperor now to end the war

Question Two In source C Truman says that the atomic bomb would be used against military objective and not against women and children. Source B shows the destruction of a whole city. Does this mean that Source C is unreliable as evidence? Explain your answer using Sources B and C and your own knowledge. I feel Source C is quite unreliable, Source B depicts the complete destruction of a city, even on the horizon there are few signs of survival. This photograph was taken on the day of detonation, giving us a good idea of its true effects.

Such a violent and comprehensive destruction could only have meant women and children too suffered in the dropping of the bomb. One major indication that the source is unreliable is the fact that it has been written for a diary. Some may argue that this suggests truthfulness but I believe otherwise. President Truman would have know the likeliness of his diary being published was high. His diary entries would have been manipulated due to this fact and while they will have bared some truth, one could argue that they are very much geared to exonerating himself from blame. “I have told the Secretary of war to use it…

” shows clear a strategy from Truman to pass the responsibility on to one of his colleagues (in this case Stimson) of the dropping of the bomb and who they targeted. Truman knew that unpopular outcomes of US actions would therefore, not all be blamed on him. He also states that they are issuing a ‘warning statement’ to the Japanese people, perhaps another example of making the bomb seem an unavoidable and inevitable resort. I don’t believe this is an objective source at all, it fails to discuss that the Japanese had already shown some mercy, and I quote “… to surrender and save lives.

I am sure that they will not do that” is fairly harsh. Truman at this time looked to the clauses of the Potsdam conference and an unconditional surrender from Japan, and in Source C it is clear that this is his sole intention. He does not describe how the Japanese had offered conditional surrender before this time. While it could been seen as fair to want to completely strip the Japanese of power and their hero-like emperor in order for a lasting end to the war, the Japanese were allowed to keep their emperor after the two bombs had been dropped despite Truman’s apparent determination to rid the country of him.

This points to suggest that source C is inaccurate in different ways and that Truman in fact was not so intent on Japanese surrender but combating diplomatic concerns with Russia and other global powers. Furthermore domestic pressures of the American people who were wholly disgruntled by the loss of American life and the US involvement as a whole would have weighed heavily on Truman’s mind when writing a text such as this which was likely to be published and show to the peoples of America after his death.

Truman states harsh implications within this source, and I feel, that patriotism has played its part and, in truth, is not as strong minded as the source suggests due to his post August 1945 leniency. I believe Source C could even be seen as Truman propaganda and shouldn’t be trusted. The photograph, Source B clearly disproves his claim that only soldiers, sailors and military assets would be targeted. Question Three Source D was written by a historian Source E is the work of a cartoonist Which of these two sources is more useful for a study of the atomic raid on Hiroshima?

Explain your answer using Sources D and E and your own knowledge. Source D is more useful for a study of the atomic raid on Hiroshima. It seems to be more objective in its approach and its author has more cause to be objective while the artist of Source E is likely to reflecting social cross-sections and over dramatising. Source D states that it was written for a text book for use in British schools. The author of this book presumably was writing from an unbiased, impartial perspective and taking several views into account.

A text book used in British schools, where there is little or no government censorship should be considered as reliable. Whereas Source E was produced in 1960, a time when secrets had just been leaked to the US press and worldwide emotion and sympathy would have been with the Japanese people. For this reason I don’t believe Source E is very useful. A newspaper, it is important to remember, will reflect the views of the people, society and world feeling, they tend to play on people’s emotions.

While the scenario depicted in Source E may have occurred and agrees with Culpin’s statement “the bomb was dropped because its development had cost a great deal of money and this had to be justified” it doesn’t consider other arguments, like Japanese resilience, the situation in Eastern Europe or domestic and diplomatic pressures. Having said this Source D can also be criticized at times for its lack of detail. It doesn’t discuss how the bomb possibly would have saved lives from both sides, given information about the loss of Japanese life in previous conventional onslaughts.

I get the impression that Source D is slightly anti the decision to drop the bomb while not fully exploring other aspects of the dropping. Source D is substantially more useful that Source E. In the opening of Source D however, Culpin states that 70,000 Japanese died with hundreds more dying from radiation sickness. I know the actual death toll to be 140,000, and cannot quite understand the vast difference between the two figures.

That perhaps points to the inaccuracy of Source D.Background research reveals that Vicky, the artist of Source E was in fact a “Victor Weisz” born in Berlin, Germany in 1913, his life began with his cartoons being published in German newspapers. However, he was Jewish and the rise of Nazi anti-Semitism forced him to leave the country after Hitler gained power. While this is slightly irrelevant as the cartoon would have been drawn to reflect British public opinion at the time, Vicky’s background and understanding of the extent of suffering incurred by Jewish children in Germany could have influenced the power of Source E.Source E is quite emotive in appearance and shows two innocent children, torn apart by the hands of war and super powers of the world.

The artist could have possibly related to these characters, their predicament and their suffering, dramatizing the scene somewhat and therefore making the Source less useful and more fictitious. Source D is clearly a more useful, reliable and informative source while it perhaps isn’t as comprehensive as some historians would prefer. Source E concurs with popular opinion at the time and sympathy.

It has also to be considered that the pieces’ respective creators have vastly different objectives in mind. Perhaps, also, the background of the artist of Source E could have effected its contents. By the time of 1984 (the year when Source D was written) more information would have been revealed about the attacks and a more useful source could be written. Study Sources F and G. V. Nekrasov and James Byrnes give different interpretations of why the Americans used the atomic bomb in August 1945. Why do you think their interpretations are so different. Explain your answer using Sources F and G and your own knowledge.

There are many reasons for the extreme difference between the two pieces, they are two texts from completely different ends of the worldwide spectrum. The first text, Source F written by V. Nekrasov, a Russian historian writing from a soviet perspective appears distinctly limited in his views, giving a very poor account of America’s actions and that they were thoroughly brutal in their approach, dismissing the argument that America wanted to avoid ‘unnecessary bloodshed and casualties’ and categorically stating that Truman had other objectives in mind.

Nekrasov goes on to describe how the purpose of dropping of the bombs was solely to scare other world powers, ‘above all the soviet union’. These factors show that this argument is very one sided and doesn’t develop America’s case. Furthermore, this source is very one sided for the obvious reason of censorship, at the time, a Russian historian would be prevented from giving a impartial relay of events. Censorship was king in Russia and the time, the culmination of the Cold War in 1984 would have meant presenting a hatred of America to the peoples of Russia was of utmost importance.

Public impression of Russia had to be good, their government clearly didn’t want divisions occurring within the people with so much to attend to with the cold war. This text, Source F can be considered to be strong soviet propaganda (most pieces written at the time would have strived to achieve this). Nekrasov blames the American decision to use atomic power in this way for the ‘nuclear arms race’ which was likely to occur, failing to state how the soviets or Nazis would have used this asset should it have fallen into their hands.