Why they were dropped.
Nuclear weapons are often said to pose a unique threat to humanity, and in the wrong hands they do. But when President Truman gave the go-ahead to deploy Fat Man and Little Boy, what those big bombs chiefly represented was salvation: salvation for young Lt. Fussell and all the GIs; salvation for the tens of thousands of Allied POWs the Japanese intended to execute in the event of an invasion; salvation for the grotesquely used Korean "comfort women"; salvation for millions of Asians enslaved by the Japanese.Kate of Small Dead Animals posts a pair of photographs of bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki….or so it may seem at first.
Not least, and despite the terrible irony, the bombings were salvation for Japan, since they prompted Emperor Hirohito to intervene with his bitterly divided government to end the war, thus laying the groundwork for America's beneficent occupation and the country's subsequent prosperity. To understand the roots of modern Japan's pacifist mentality, so at variance with its old warrior culture, one need only visit Hiroshima's peace park.
Here’s an interesting article on Japan’s Self Defense Force of today--a member of the Coalition of the Willing.
Victor Davis Hanson considers Hiroshima.
[O]ur own generation has more recently once again grappled with Hiroshima, and so the debate rages on in the new age of terrorism and handheld weapons of mass destruction, brought home after an attack on our shores worse than Pearl Harbor — with more promised to come. Perhaps the horror of the suicide bombers of Japan does not seem so distant any more. Nor does the notion of an extreme perversion of an otherwise mainstream religion filling millions with hatred of a supposedly decadent West.
And up close and personal with “Fat Man” on the ill-fated Indianapolis.
(Thanks to The Truman Library)