Reflection Essay on American History
The World War Two (WWII) pitted two major sides, the allied forces that included Britain, United States, Soviet Union and other forces against the axis powers that included Germany, Italy, Japan and other powers. The war was ultimately brought to an unconditional end by the United States of America dropping two atomic bombs Japan in August 1945. However, these bombings were later to draw numerous criticisms from various quarters of the globe. The question as to whether their dropping was militarily necessary is therefore an open one.
The Potsdam, Germany conference that comprised of the “great three” met to chat the way forward to end the war and to determine the fate of Germany which had already surrendered, it also set out four conditions for Japan to honor in order to end the war, the conference alternatively stated that a failure for Japan to honor the terms would lead to utter military destruction. However, Japan defied the terms and therefore prompted the U. S to drop atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively.
The bombings commissioned by then sitting president FDR were the only military option that was possible to instill great fear and despair to the stubborn Japanese government that was determined to guard the imperial regalia of Japan. Again the U. S feared the Soviet Unions domination in Japan especially putting in mind that the war was coming to an end the cold war loomed by. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] II It is clear that president FDR’s decision to commission the atomic bombings was not purely militarily motivated since the U.
S had previously continued on an intensive offensive bombing in Japan that saw many Japanese cities destroyed save for those that were earmarked for the dropping of the atomic bombs. There was still the possibility that the offensive was going to lead to a Japan Surrender; however, FDR opted to use the Nuclear weapons. The U. S reasoning was that by using the Bombs the war would end quickly and therefore minimizing the number of casualties! Ironically the two Bombs claimed over 200, 000 lives. Again the U.
S was not interested in joining the war, she only joined after the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan and therefore FDR wanted to end the war quickly in order to avoid Americans criticisms. Again, FDR wanted to announce to the world and more especially the Soviet Union that the U. S was the world’s military super power. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] III The aftermath of the WWII saw the formation of various global bodies that sought to unite and mediate disputes among the world’s nations with the main aim of avoiding another war.
The effects of the war remained but it was the effects of atomic bombings in Japan caused the greatest effects. Today the bombings can be termed as grossly immoral as they caused the death of many innocent civilians who mostly included women and children. Though the whole course of the war was immoral, the intentional use of such weapons of mass destruction can be accepted even if they were militarily or politically justified. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] IV The causes of the great depression of 1929 are largely uncertain, however, the following are perceived to be the long term underlying causes.
The loss of confidence in the economic future that was brought about by a combination of various factors that includes massive consumer debts that was brought about by the unchecked financial institutions, this phenomenon reached a point whereby the financial institutions were unable to recover some of these debts. There was also the cutting of the foreign trade that contributed to huge losses and mass unemployment. Again the U. S practiced a capitalistic economy that allowed for unequal distribution of wealth, with few people owning immense wealth while majority wallowed in abject poverty.
The effects of the great depression were severe as a downward economic trend characterized by reduced spending and production was witnessed in the. Major political changes were made possible afterwards e. g. the new deal programs introduced by FDR. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] V One of the underlying causes of the great depression was the unequal distribution of wealth; therefore FDR introduced socialistic strategies to counter this. His main aim after ascending to presidency was to reconstruct the economy in order to prevent another depression and also to avoid prolonging the current depression.
He therefore embarked on what was termed as the “new deal programs”; these new deal programs included the National Recovery Administration (NRA) whose main role was to set competitive conditions for all industries in order to abolish unnecessary competition among them and raising the wages of the workers in order to increase their purchasing powers. Another program, Works Progress Administration (WPA) brought in more social security among workers by promoting the growth of labor unions and cutting unemployment by a large margin.
[Faragher, Et al, 2008] VI The U. S under the FDR presidency was not actively involved in the war until and after December 7th 1941 when the Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Though tension had remained rife between Japan and the U. S due to their interests in the Southeast Asia, the U. S did not expect the Pearl Harbor attack. FDR had commissioned the move of the Pacific Fleet to Hawaii and also the military build up in the Philippines in bid to discourage Japan from waging a war against the British in the Southeast Asia.
The attack according to FDR was completely unexpected and hence it caused a great destruction on the U. S warships. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] VII The success of the American atomic bombings in Japan largely affected the American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union, despite the two countries fighting the same enemy they were fearful of each other. Each feared the growth of the other one and therefore the U. S the atomic bombs to tell Soviet Union that she was able to end a war that was fought for many years.
The result of this was that an iron wall created whereby the eastern side supported soviets communism while the western side supported the U. S capitalism, for instance Germany was divided into two, East and West Germany. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] VII The Soviet Union entered the Pacific war to help end the World War II, it promised to act for a 90 days period, a promise she kept when she successfully repressed Japan soldiers in Manchuria. Other attacks were on the way but Japan surrendered following the twin atomic bombings by the U. S.
however, all along the Soviets were suspicious of the U. S intentions especially following FDR’s threats in the Potsdam conference of the presence of nuclear arsenal that were able to destroy the human dignity. The atomic bombings were not in the interest of all the allies, for instance the Soviets had planned a massive invasion in Hokkaido which did not happen as Japan surrendered. [Faragher, Et al, 2008] References: Faragher, Et al, Out of Many-A history of American People, Vol, Two, 6th ed, Prentice-Hall, 2008, ISBN 0-13-614957-X