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Motivational Factors in Authorizing Atomic Bombs

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World War II changed the U.S. as a nation, economically, socially and politically. The ultimate resolution of the war was the use of the atom bomb and the dawn of the nuclear age.

What factors likely motivated President Truman to authorize the use of atomic bombs against Japan in August 1945?

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Solution Summary

This is a discussion regarding the use of atomic bombs in WWII. Specifically, what factors likely motivated President Truman to use atomic bombs against the Japanese? Over 550 words of original text along with links to sources.

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- To save American and Japanese lives

The primary argument used to support the dropping of the atomic bomb was that it would save primarily American but also Japanese lives compared to a traditional amphibious invasion of the island of Japan. The Americans had encountered the Japanese on dozens of Pacific islands. They respected and somewhat feared the determination with which the Japanese defended land they controlled. The Americans had lost thousands of men dead and wounded in their attempt to extricate the Japanese from the foxholes and tunnel systems they had devised on Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal and other islands. The American command knew that the Japanese would fight with even more determination when their homeland was invaded and would have the additional advantage of knowing the terrain intimately.
It was rumored that the Japanese military leaders had ordered the murder of over 100,000 American prisoners of war if ...

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