WW2 "Game Changers"

Taylor Berg

Atomic Bomb

The United States had a huge “game changer” in World War II with the creation of the first atomic bomb. Germany and the United States had been in a race to create nuclear warfare and increase their position in the war. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb from a B-12 plane over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb killed 80,000 people instantly, and later killed tens of thousands because of radiation exposure. The entire city of Hiroshima was abolished and the United States had made their statement in the war. Three days later, the United States dropped another bomb on Nagasaki, killing around 40,000 people. President Harry Truman stated “Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor. We have used it against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abound all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.” This quote is significant because it come’s from the leader of America, who made the call on dropping the bomb. As president, Truman, is in charge of calling the shots of the war and this quote shows his reasoning behind it. It is valuable because it comes from a significant leader in the war. American’s value Truman’s word and trust his decision, making his quotes valuable. It is limited, however, because it only comes from one person and one view. Not all American’s agree with his opinion, making it a one sided source. This bomb changed the war by having Japan drop out. Japan’s emperor stated “a new and most cruel bomb” being the reason for Japans surrender of the war. The quote from President Truman shows that America developed the bomb in order to protect Americans. They felt as if payback was necessary and this bomb would give it to those who had hurt them. America did receive the effect that they wanted from the bomb. The Japanese emperor’s quote stating the “new and most cruel bomb” being their reason for the war shows the success that the bomb had. It was created to cause chaos and prove a point from Americans. It was payback according to Truman’s quote and in return it got Japan out of the war. Truman stated in his quote “We have used it in order to shorten the agony of the war,” which they did by having one country drop out.

Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japan surprise attacked America at the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack included hundreds of Japanese fighter planes dropping bombs on American ships, managing to destroy around 20 American naval vessels. The attack affected America by destroying “eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 American soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded,” (history.com). This event affected World War II causing America to enter the war, declaring war on Japan. Three days after the attack, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. After the attack, President Roosevelt said “yesterday, December 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.” This event caused a change in the American position in war. President Roosevelt of the United States later added “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this predicated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” Between these two quotes from right after the attack and a couple of days after the attack the feelings of America’s position is the same. Both continue to show that America is going to fight back to prove their point to Japan. This event later led to the treatment of the atomic bomb, another “game changer” in the war. However, it changes with the seriousness of the attitude for attack in America. In the first quote America is just concerned with gaining “triumph”. However, in the second quote it changes to make sure that the “form of treachery shall never endanger us again”. The seriousness and intensity of the attack changed over time, as American’s were able to come to reality about the seriousness of the attack of Pearl Harbor, and the need to fight back.

Island Hopping

Island Hopping was a strategy that the United States took in order to try to gain control over key islands that would help their position in the war. The strategy involved attacking enemy weaknesses and avoiding their strong points. The Island Hopping was led by General Douglas MacArthur working in alliance with Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to move forward with the mission. Each leader attacked a different place which made it effective because there were strong attacks from multiple sources. The strategy led to the surrender of the Japanese. The time of the war kept families away from each other. This quote came from a soldier writing home to his family about the war. “Well my boys, I guess you often wonder why people fight and have wars, and why lots of daddies have to be away at Christmas time fighting when it would be so much nicer to be at home. That’s a hard question to answer. But you see, some countries like Japan and

Germany have people living in them, just like some people you and I know. These people want to tell everybody what they can do and what they can’t do. No one likes to be told how to live their life.” This quote is explaining the reasoning behind the war, in that America did not want to be told what to do by Japan. This process of the war brought American’s together through the fight. While soldiers were over in Ima Jima and Guadalcanal fighting these battles, citizens were building up the support for the reasoning behind the war. An American journalist, Rebecca Sharp, referred to Japan’s attempt at control of America resembling “how an eagle feels when his wings are clipped and caged.” These two quotes between the soldier and the journalist show the significance and reasoning behind the war. They are similar with the idea that Japan is trying to hold back America and control them. This feeling and idea about Japan’s attempt of control on America and the need to fight back, helped the support of the “Island Hopping” mission. “Island Hopping” was a key factor in the surrender of the Japanese. The strategy it took to attack from two different sources took brains and planning, but was overall effective and contributed to the success of America in the war.

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was a strong dictator and leader in the war. His attack on Poland was the key factor in the start of World War II. After this attack, he focused on capturing Britain and France, but ran into leadership issues while doing this, making him unsuccessful. One of Hitlers main focuses was on the military and the technology that they used. Short term, Hitler wanted to improve Military and the defense mechanisms of the country. However, long term he was to use these weapons on the attacks of the United States and other countries in the war. By having more advanced and deathly weapons, it made Germany more of a threat to watch out for. Hitler had an alliance made with Japan, so when Japan made the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor, it forced Germany to enter the war as well. Hitler is widely known for his execution of the Jews in the Holocaust. Hitler led a group of Nazi’s who worked to execute Jewish members, ban them from all things and trap them in concentration camps with horrible living conditions. Overall, Hitler was a powerful man during WW2. He had certain goals and missions that he would stop at no measure to achieve. His persistent efforts to be in the most control scared other countries leaders for what else Hitler could do. However, there were differences in the support that Hitler received from people in his nation. Nazi’s followed Hitler in complete faith that he was their answer to everything. A common song sang included the lyrics “Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, and all is bright. Adolf Hitler is Germany’s wealth, Bring’s us greatness, favor and health, Oh give us Germans all power!” However, people in neighboring countries and even in Germany did not feel this way about Hitlers rule. Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom, said “Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood and plunder. Not content with having all Europe under his heel, or else terrorized into various forms of abject submission, he must now carry his work of butchery and desolation among the vast multitudes of Russia and of Asia. The terrible military machine, which we and the rest of the civilized world so foolishly, so supinely, so insensately allowed the Nazi gangsters to build up year by year from almost nothing cannot stand idle lest it rust or fall to pieces. . . So now this bloodthirsty guttersnipe must launch his mechanized armies upon new fields of slaughter, pillage and devastation.” These two quotes show the differences that different people felt about Hitler’s rule. The first quote shows Hitler in a positive light, glorifying the work he does. He was the leader that would give all the answers and bring “greatness, favor and health” to his citizens. However, people in neighboring countries saw the things that he was doing and showed him in a negative light. Winston Churchill’s quote refers to Hitler as “a monster of wickedness” which is far different from the way the first quote saw him. His decisions of rule and violent actions to get what he wanted, caused differing opinions from outsiders. When comparing these two sources, it is focusing on the same person and the actions that he took. However, they contrast because of their differing opinions. They also contrast because of the background and source they come from. The first quote comes from German citizens and their feelings about Hitler. The purpose of it was to bring Germans together in support of Hitler and the war. In contrast, the source from Winston Churchill’s origin is from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It’s purpose was to contribute his overall feelings about Hitler and his actions in the war to citizens. The two sources differ because of the origin they come from but they are similar in the purpose they convey, to portray information and feelings about Hitler’s rule and actions in the war.

The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project was part of the race with Germany to create nuclear weapons. The project started up from fear that Germany would use the nuclear power to bomb America and cause large amounts of destruction. The Manhattan Project’s main mission was the create the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb ended up being a highly lethal weapon in the war. At first, the project was not considered of much importance. However, in December 1942, the first nuclear chain reaction was developed and from there on the project became more supported. More time and money was spent in speeding up the process of the nuclear development. On July 16, 1945, the race ended when the first bomb was ready to be launched. The bomb set off a blinding flash for 200 miles and produced a smoke of cloud reaching 40,000 feet in the air. This project is significant because it is what entered the world into nuclear war. Nuclear was a whole new level of war, causing larger and more deathly attacks, therefore, making the Manhattan Project a “game changer” in the war.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there were many important things that happened in the war. Some, however, are more important than others. These five events, technological advancements or people were significant in advancing the war. The Manhattan Project was key in the creation of the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb was developed because of Pearl Harbor. Island Hopping helped in America’s advancement in the war and Adolf Hitler was a well known figure in the war. All five have a specific significance that helped improve countries place in the war. By advancing technology or having specific projects or strategies, it allowed for the United States to advance and gain better grounds against enemies. These were not the only five “game changers” but some of the most known during World War II.