Was it Wrong to Drop the Atom Bomb on Japan?
Today, on the 71st anniversary of the first atomic attack, that of the bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Japan, some argue that Truman was wrong to order that the Army Air Force undertake to have Little Boy tumble out of the bomb bay of the Enola Gay.
Most of the nation’s five star admirals and generals later went on record against the use of the A-bomb. Here is what the two top admirals in the Pacific had to say on its use:
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet stated in a public address given at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945:
The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war. . . . [Nimitz also stated: “The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan. . . .”]
In a private 1946 letter to Walter Michels of the Association of Philadelphia Scientists, Nimitz observed that “the decision to employ the atomic bomb on Japanese cities was made on a level higher than that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander U.S. Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946:
The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment. . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it. . . . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it. . . . It killed a lot of Japs, but the Japs had put out a lot of peace feelers through Russia long before.
Professor of History at Notre Dame, Father Wilson Miscamble weighs in on the subject with the opinion that dropping the bomb shortened the war and saved countless lives — both American and Japanese.