"The Shift in Atomic Bomb Attitude" assignment: Why did attitudes change after the atomic bomb had been dropped?

Essay by matthewcooCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2004

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The attitude associated with atomic bombs has changed constantly within the past decades. The changes have occurred because different leaders were in office, different situations developed throughout the world, and differences in time period. Attitudes about atomic bombs changed because of the differences in time period in which many things had changed. This change in attitude can be demonstrated by contrasting the first document, a white house press release by President Harry Truman, with the second document, a letter from President Ronald Reagan. The first document by President Harry Truman concerned the offensive stance of the United States regarding the atomic bomb, and the other by President Ronald Reagan suggested a defensive side, needed for protection against possible aggressors. The offensive stance considered the use of the bomb as a way of destroying cities, killing people, and gaining power. The defensive stance introduced by President Reagan showed a way to prevent the offensive uses from ever being considered again.

The two documents represent four decades of changes in which the attitude of the atomic bomb shifted from an offensive stance to a defensive stance.

An example of the United States' attitude of the atomic bomb in 1945 is found in a statement President Harry Truman issued as a White House press release on August 6 only sixteen hours after the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The document explained to the world and Americans alike, the technicality of the atomic bomb, the United States' position on the atomic bomb, and justified the validity of our use of the atomic bomb. He was sure to include details about the sheer, brute power of the bomb, which was unheard of in the present times. For an example of its awesome power, President Truman made a few remarks about...