The 1945 Atomic Bombing of Japan: Moral Lessons

Subject: Warfare
Pages: 4
Words: 1110
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: School

At the start of the 20th century, the world was ushered into the atomic warfare era. The race to find superior, lethal, and weapons of mass destruction were on high momentum. Leading superpowers wanted to outdo each other in having highly sophisticated weapons. The rush to become dangerously armed was mainly driven by the raging World War II. At the start of the war, the United States (U.S) as a leading global power had largely remained neutral. However, Japan’s aggression against the U.S and the subsequent bombing of American naval ships in Pearl Harbor compelled the U.S to join in the war. The United States’ involvement in the war culminated in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan using atomic bombs to save American lives back at home. These acts of aggression by Japan and resulting atomic bombings by the U.S offer great moral lessons to the present world. However, America’s decision to use atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities was not only morally wrong but also amounted to crimes against humanity and an invasion would have been a more morally responsible response to the aggression.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki offers crucial moral lessons for the current world that can be important in averting wars, loss of lives, and destruction of properties. Firstly, the atomic bombing of the two Japanese cities exposed the tribal nature of human beings. American president sanctioned the use of weapons of mass destruction in full knowledge of the dire consequences that the people of Japan would have to go through. At this time, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a moral obligation to have empathy for the innocent Japanese civilians who were largely not involved in the war. However, the belief that the American people deserved to live better at the expense of innocent Japanese citizens took precedence. This behavior completely exposed the tribal nature of human beings who have a preference for their tribes while showing little regard for other human lives (Romano 72). This tribal shortcoming has led to many conflicts around the world and has resulted in severe loss of lives and indiscriminate destruction of properties.

However, humanity should supersede tribal affiliations as human beings are unique in their ways and everyone should embrace diversity at all times. If President Franklin D. Roosevelt had shown some considerable level of humanity, then he would have resorted to other means such as the invasion of Japan to subdue the ruling regime and avert huge losses of properties and lives (Yamaguchi 86). Although the atomic bombing of the two cities resulted at the end of the war, the actions exposed the tribal nature of human beings.

Secondly, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki clearly shows the lack of empathy in killing from a distance. In the two bombings, the United States of America attacked from the air, and therefore, the army did not have an opportunity to develop empathy for innocent Japanese citizens (Romano 156). The present world is experiencing a dire lack of empathy as nations with superior weapons are invading countries that are less endowed. However, the advanced nations need to develop a feeling of empathy towards the inferior nations and take into consideration the great losses of properties and lives.

One of the B-29pilots involved in the bombing mission at one point disclosed how he felt at the time of dropping the bombs. According to him, he had not anticipated seeing such destruction of property and loss of lives. Further, the pilot was asked as to whether he regretted his actions in the war. Astonishingly, the pilot candidly said that even though he had a duty to obey commands, he nonetheless believes that an alternative means to bringing the war to an end would have been better. For instance, an invasion would have resulted in fewer fatalities as the forces involved in the invasion would have developed feelings for the Japanese citizens (Yamaguchi 145). On the other hand, the bombings were indiscriminate and led to the loss of many innocent lives.

Seeking alternative means to conflicts is another significant moral lesson that can be learned from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over the years, it has been established that retaliating against aggression by using force has often resulted in disastrous outcomes. The United States bypassed so many conflict resolution mechanisms, such as dialogue and economic sanctions, and preferred the use of weapons of mass destruction (Romano 201). This behavior ultimately ushered in the cold war era where although no weapons were used, nations played psychological games against their perceived opponents and this led to the formation of two factions one led by the U.S and the other by the U.S.S.R. Had the U.S taken other dispute resolution alternatives, the resulting cold war would have been averted.

Japan’s actions of aggression towards the United States can also be used to teach a moral lesson on the importance of avoiding aggression. In the lead-up to the war, the U.S had taken a relatively neutral position in the war and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was not interested in joining the war but keenly followed the unfolding situation and gave support to countries perceived as friendly nations to the U.S. It is from this perceived involvement that Japan decided to advance acts of aggression against the United States of America. From Japan’s acts of aggression, it can be argued that the resulting consequences were self-inflicted. Therefore, the present world can learn the importance of avoiding aggression to ensure that peace and stability ensue (Yamaguchi109). Had Japan not advanced its aggression, the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima would have been avoided.

In conclusion, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki offers the modern world crucial moral lessons that are crucial in ensuring peace and stability prevail. The bombing exposed the tribal nature of human beings. If the current world embraces inclusivity then many wars will be avoided and therefore reduce the loss of lives and properties. Additionally, the bombing of Japan offers crucial insights on the importance of apathy towards one another. Developing apathy is crucial to ensuring that nations with superior warfare do not attack other nations at will leading to loss of lives and properties. Avoiding aggression is a great moral lesson that can be learned from the war. Japan’s consistent aggression towards the United States led to retaliatory attacks. Lastly, nations should seek alternative means of conflict resolution to avoid large-scale consequences of war. Countries should consider dialogue as the first means of conflict resolution. Where dialogue has failed, proportionate use of force should be used to reduce large-scale destruction of properties and loss of lives.

Works Cited

Romano, Arthur. “The Challenge of Adapting to Global Complexity: Lessons from Peace Education Practices in Hiroshima, Japan.” Peace &Change, vol.43, no.4, (2018): pp 15-272.

Yamaguchi, Hibiki. “US Prisoners of War in Hiroshima: A 40-Year Investigative Journey of a Japanese Atomic-Bomb Survivor.” Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, vol.2, no.1 (2019): pp 22-196.