Why Were They Dropped?

Published Spring 2023

The New Atlantis

Amid the carnage of the Second World War, which saw some 60 million killed, including the Nazis’ industrialized annihilation of six million Jews, one event stands out in American memory as the most momentous: the atomic bomb attack that leveled Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. According to the most authoritative Japanese casualty count, which is higher than the American figure, the bomb killed some 100,000 people outright and another 40,000 over the next several months; blast, flash burns, and firestorm took care of the former, and radiation sickness accounted for the latter. A second bomb that dropped just three days later on Nagasaki killed 70,000 all told but gave some people misgivings even more trouble than those produced by Hiroshima.

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Algis Valiunas is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis, a journal about the ethical, political, and social implications of modern science technology.

Picture from Unsplash

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