The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II

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1. What military advantage did the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide over other cities?

2. Which countries influenced the decision to bomb Japan in World War II?

Current thesis statement:

Although the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was tragic, it provided the United States military advantage over the other countries by scaring them into inactivity.

Britain and Canada influenced the decision President Truman took to bomb Japan.

Checklist for Further Research:



1. What was the role of the American military in releasing the atomic bomb? How was the military impacted by releasing the atomic bomb?

2. What subsequent military actions can be connected to the drop of the nuclear bomb? What influence did releasing the nuclear bomb have on the actions the military took to end communism?

3. How is the Marshall Plan connected to the release of the nuclear bomb? How was it connected to the Berlin blockade?

4. How did it impact the famous "Iron Curtain” speech of Winston Churchill?


The first source to focus was “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb” taken from the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. The source allowed me to read documents that contain information on what happened before and after the atomic bombing. I found articles that discussed how the military planned the attack, including how they chose the cities to bomb. There exists information about the military working on building a defense from atomic bombs rather than have to be on the offensive side again. The documents also contain President Truman’s reasons and thoughts on the use of the nuclear weapon on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The texts also have information on the necessity and ethics of dropping two bombs instead of one even though it would cause more killing of civilians.

Another primary source that I used is “Voices of the Manhattan Project” by the Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it has recordings of people who were involved in the making of the bomb, planning and also execution of the attack. There are tapes recordings of members of the bombing mission. The records bring into perspective the military’s thoughts on communism and how the bombing and surrender made it possible to execute their plan to end communism. Most military personnel felt that the attack was necessary to stop the communist government and the only unfortunate issue was that women and children had to suffer and die in the process.

Another primary source I studied is “The atomic bomb and the end of World War II: A collection of primary sources” from The National Security Archive. The source was edited by (Burr), and discusses the reasons for the bombing and the after effects. One of the reasons was the Allies wanted to occupy Japan and end communism, and this is also related to the Marshalls plan which was to aid the Western European countries that were affected by the war by helping rebuild and in the processes prevent the spread of communism. After the United States helped the western European countries rebuild, the Soviet Union retaliated by blocking the allies from accessing West Berlin forcing the Allies to execute the Berlin Airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin. The Soviet Union’s actions and policies on communism were spreading all over Europe and influenced Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech because he was staunchly anti-communism.

Additionally, I studied Robert Pape”s article, “Why Japan Surrendered” as a secondary source, and it helped me understand why Japan surrendered even though they still had control of their home islands and they had a large number of military personnel. The source explains how the surrender might have been mostly due to poor military positioning that left them vulnerable and not because of civilian mass death as earlier implied.

Works Cited Page

Pape, Robert. “Why Japan surrendered.” International Security (1993).

William Burr, 2005. “The atomic bomb and the end of World War II: A collection of primary           sources.” The National Security Archive. Retrieved from:    

Truman, Harry. “The decision to drop the atomic bomb.” Library and Museum. (n.d.).\

Atomic Heritage Foundation, 2018. “Voices of the Manhattan Project [Tape recordings].” Atomic Heritage Foundation & Los Alamos Historical Society. (n.d.). retrieved from:

November 13, 2023

Government History War


Military World War II

Subject area:

Atomic Bomb

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