Given the increase ofdeaths due to radiation, another question emerges. Was the U.S aware of the radiationconsequences? There were certainly physicists at Los Alamos who understood that the atomicbombs would produce significant amounts of radiation. But, according tohistorian Sean Malloy (The NuclearSecrecy Blog), Oppenheimer (director of Project Manhattan) and General Groveswere more focused on the blast effects, showing little or even no interest inthe radiation concept?.
Groves testified beforethe U.S. Senate that death from high-dose radiation exposure is “withoutundue suffering” and “a very pleasant way to die.” However/Except,the one time they were concerned with their health during an atomic bomb testing,proves that they did know that radiation was a long-term effect danger, butprobably just didn’t care enough to know more about it, as it would be used onthe enemy. And so, as Groves “didn’t know” about the effects, the word nevergot its way to Truman.Malloy believes that Truman may have done things differently if he knew, as hewas opposed to the use of chemical weapons. But on the other hand, he surely knewhe would kill thousands of civilians with this blast, so would killing somemore with radiation make a difference? Probably not, but the real answer tothis remains a mystery.Having said that the U.
Sentered the war for humanitarian purposes (or to make the world a betterplace), doesn’t this attack, that mostly killed civillians, go against thisethical code?First of all, the confinement of 110.000 Japanese-Americans in concentrationcamps during the war already contradicts U.S’ morality.
It was more an act ofrevenge for Pearl Harbor and it was wrong to “label” them all as guilty for it.As Howard Zinn stated, it demonstrates the same attitude as the one they werefighting against in WW2 – “The United States came close to direct duplicationof Fascism.” (p. 416)The decision to use nuclear weapons and the great deadly air raids withoutminding the civilians, also directly contradict the humanitarian causes they werefighting for.
Truman’s statement saying that his true intentions was to damageonly the military must have been a lie… Hiroshima did have an importantmilitary base, but the bomb had been aimed not at the army base but at the verycenter of a city of 350,000 people, with mainly women, children and elderly.The U.S did indeed distribute warning panflets throughout Japan, but only warningabout the firebombings, it did not mention the atomic bombs, neither did theymention the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So if they at least wished toreduce civilian casualties, couldn’t have they added this information on thepanflets?It has been proven many times that Japan they would have surrendered withoutthe bombings, therefore, we can conclude that the bombings were definitelyunnecessary. U.S showed that pride ruled over moral values when they could have made aneffort in accepting minor conditions/terms Japan was requesting for surrender,in order to prevent so many deaths. If not accepting their minor terms, (which ironicallythey did accept, after Japan had surrendered) they could have at least waited afew more days between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see ifsurrender was being considered. This was a cruel act which was most certainly carried out in the name of revenge,geopolitics and an expensive project.In order to create a better future, it is of great importance to learnand question the past so we do not repeat the same mistakes.