Japanese Bombings

Aaron Youngs

Nuclear Weapons Against Japan

Synopsis

It was an early August morning when the Enola Gay, an American B-29 bomber, lifted in the air and headed towards Japan. On board of the plane was a 9,000 pound bomb named Little Boy. The flight crew was prepared for a sixteen hour round-trip. The plane had its sights on a city called Hiroshima. On hour seven of the flight, the gunmen entered the bomb bay where they would drop the uranium bomb on a small bridge. At 8:16 on the sixth of August, 1945, Little Boy was dropped over the city. Three days later, at noon, an 11,000 pound bomb was dropped over another Japanese city named Nagasaki. The two atomic bombs killed a total of at least 130,000 Japanese civilians and troops. The ethical question is still being asked today if it was morally correct to drop bombs on cities killing thousands of innocent people.
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On the left is the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The right is the bomb dropped over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

The Media's Portrayal

The first way the media portrayed the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was under emphasizing the catastrophic events that recently happened. Reporters gave little information to news stations, but the little info that was given was undermining the actual events. The reporters would tell news stations that two bombs were dropped over two Japanese cities, but they didn't go into detail of how massive these bombs were. Part of the reason for this it that the government closed a lot of information off to the public.

Another way the media portrayed the bombings was questioning whether the decisions to kill innocent people was morally correct. A majority of the media did not approve of President Truman's decision to drop the bombs over the cities. The media made Truman look like a sadistic leader, as well as a coward. What the media failed to report was the efforts made by Truman to warn the Japanese to evacuate Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 1, 1945, the President sent hundreds of B-29's over the two cities to drop millions of leaflets telling the Japanese people to evacuate. The Japanese troops forced civilians to stay put in their homes. When the bombs were dropped a few days later, the death toll was large due to the failure to evacuate.

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American B-29's sending evacuation notices over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Bias and Criticism

One of the main biases of this historical event was bias by omission. All of the media and reporters mentioned how important these bombings were to the war with Japan, but they failed to mention how detrimental these bombings were for the well being of Japan as a whole. At the time, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two of the most economically prosperous cities in Japan. When the two cities were destroyed, many of Japans industrial and labor forces were diminished. Japans money would be spent restoring and rebuilding the two cities.

Historical criticism is the main criticism found in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings helped the Americans become victorious in the war with Japan. On September 2, 1945, VJ Day (Victory of Japan Day) was the outcome of these two bombings. Victory over Japan meant the war was over, and the Americans were victorious.

Sources

  • "Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.
  • "American Experience: TV's Most-watched History Series." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.
  • "PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI (GENSUIKIN)."PHOTOGRAPHS OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI (GENSUIKIN). N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.