President Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan during the summer of 1945. What factors influenced that decision? Was it necessary to end the war? Students are asked to deal with this issues in composing an answer to the following prompt:
Should the United States have used atomic weapons against Japan in August, 1945? Be sure to evaluate arguments both for and against dropping the bomb.
The following documents are provided to help students craft their answer:
A: Analysis of the destructive attributes of the A-Bomb
B: Propaganda poster demanding revenge for the attack on Pearl Harbor
C: Truman's justification for dropping the bomb
D: Admiral Leahy arguing the Japanese were attempting to surrender
E: An analysis of growing American concern about the Soviet Union
F: Examination of the effectiveness of conventional bombs
G: Gen. Eisenhower on the threat of communist expansion
H: Eyewitness testimony of a survivor
I: Photograph of the beheading of an Allied P.O.W.
This assignment can easily be used with either an AP United States history class or a regular level U.S. history class with minor modification. It is loosely based on the documentary Hiroshima: The Decision to Drop the Bomb produced in 1995.