Without a doubt, a nuclear bomb is a horrid and unconscionable device of evil and utter destruction. There is nothing good about it. Though it is the epitome of hate and malevolence, the U.S. developed and used it—but why? Should we have embarked on such a program in the first place?
Having written the book “Historic Photos of the Manhattan Project” and researched the development and history of the bombs, I came to a sound understanding of ‘why’ and an unquestionable answer to the question. And during that research, I realized that I was not alone in my conclusions, for profoundly moral, intelligent, and decent scientists felt the same, even as they were creating the vile monster. And actually, the answers are readily apparent.
The specific facts and figures can be found in my book and aren’t important to the answers. So “why” did we develop it? The answer is quite clear: Because if we didn’t, or if we were not first to develop it, there is absolutely no doubt that the German scientists would have done so. Furthermore, there is little doubt they would have used it against their enemies in Europe. And if the Japanese government acquired the technology and ability, they too would have used it against their enemies—especially the U.S.
The United States was doing research into nuclear physics, hoping to produce a controlled nuclear fission chain-reaction (criticality), wherein more energy is produced than the amount of energy needed to produce the fission. It was theorized to be possible, and indeed they succeeded in a small reactor made from a stack of graphite blocks under an abandoned stadium in Chicago. Then, when scientists in Europe defected from Germany and other nations to the U.S. because of the horrific war, it became clear that Germany was frantically working toward developing a nuclear bomb. We knew then that the United States could not wait and see what was to happen. Thus, the birth of the Manhattan Project.
One can debate the decision to actually use it, or how it was use (dropping on a city full of innocent people or on an unpopulated island), and there is no clear right or wrong. But what we do know is that after the first one annihilated untold numbers of beautiful people, nothing changed. Immediately, at the risk of being shot down, the U.S. flew bombers over many Japanese cities, carrying no bombs, but instead, millions of leaflets saying that we didn’t want to drop another bomb, and please surrender and end the war. It was a waste of paper, and it took a second terrible destruction of lives to make it happen.
I neither condone nor condemn the use; I only know without a doubt many thousands of American soldiers would have lost their lives, as well as greater numbers of Japanese soldiers and innocent civilians had we continued our aerial bombing raids with 500 lb. bombs. The decision, right or wrong, ended the war—thank God.
Remember one thing. Germany was trying to occupy all of Europe in an inconceivable world war. When they took over a nation, it became the property of Germany, the government of the country was completely eliminated, and all property belonged to Germany. But when the U.S. occupied Japan, we never even considered taking over the land or the government. We did what we could to help them recover and left their government intact. The decision could have been to make Japan the 51st State. The decision not to was certainly the right one to make.
Sometimes a decision can be both right and wrong, and just maybe it holds here.