Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bombby Ronald T. Takaki
The bombing of Hiroshima was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century, yet this controversial question remains unresolved. At the time, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy all agreed that an atomic attack on Japanese cities was unnecessary. All of them believed that Japan had already been beaten… See more details below
The bombing of Hiroshima was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century, yet this controversial question remains unresolved. At the time, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy all agreed that an atomic attack on Japanese cities was unnecessary. All of them believed that Japan had already been beaten and that the war would soon end. Was the bomb dropped to end the war more quickly? Or did it herald the start of the Cold War? In his probing new study, prizewinning historian Ronald Takaki explores these factors and more. He considers the cultural context of race - the ways in which stereotypes of the Japanese influenced public opinion and policymakers - and also probes the human dimension. Relying on top secret military reports, diaries, and personal letters, Takaki relates international policies to the individuals involved: Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Secretary of State James Byrnes, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and others... but above all, Harry Truman.
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I chose to read this book because the topic interested me. When I began reading the book I found that the book was very dry. However, there were times where this book managed to capture my attention. The letters,remarks and diary entries of scientist, generals and Truman regarding the use of the atomic bomb was very intriguing. I would recommend this book to someone doing research on the topic or has some time to spare.
This book is one of many that attempt to discredit the atomic bombing of Japan that ended World War II. Like a tired old TV series, these books repeat the same formula: 1) Emphasize that Japan was on the verge of losing the war by mid-1945 and minimize or ignore the fact that she was still inflicting heavy losses on U.S. forces and had no intention of surrendering at this time. Use this distortion as proof that there was no military necessity to drop the bomb. 2) Portray tentative Japanese peace feelers as the equivalent of a waving white flag when they were in reality half-hearted attempts to stop the shooting on terms favorable to Japan. Suggest that Truman could have engaged these feelers and easily worked out a surrender deal. Present this speculation as a fact. 3)Insert a conspiracy theory or two explaining why the bomb was dropped. In this book, American racism and Truman's desire to look like a tough guy serve as prime motives. If it weren't for the tragic nature of the events under discussion, the book would provide a good laugh. But unlike a sitcom, good history is based on facts and insights, not self-serving distortions and speculation. Unfortunately for the reader, the formula this book follows is based on the latter.
That's about all I can say for this book. I was assigned to read any history book of my choosing and so I decided to read about a topic that interests me. I wasn't very thrilled, so you could say I had a very big chip on my shoulder when I started this book. Therefore, my review here could possibly be tainted with that evidence. Takaki took a lot of time and effort into researching for information for his writings. At times, I felt that the information was overwhelming, and got very detailed. So in other words, it was boring. I believe that if I actually took the time to enjoy this book, time that I didn't have while reading it, I probably would have found that it wouldn't have been hard. But, on the contrary, I didn't take the time, and I didn't enjoy it.