A Study of the Influence of the Atomic Bomb Experience to Post-war Japan

A Study of the Influence of the Atomic Bomb Experience to Post-war Japan


At the helm of the world war two that occurred in around 1940, the US dropped a mega nuclear bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. They then dropped another bomb three days later in Nagasaki. During these times, Japan as a country faced a lot of predicaments for which later, they surrendered to the US government over the world war. These two atomic attacks are believed to have killed over 70 thousand of the civilian citizens of the Japan fraternity. The country still went into massive losses that revolved around the technicians, the doctors, and the workforce that they depended on in building the economy (Feis, 671). To this end, the Japan had no choice but to surrender since they had already lost a lot. In the arena of economic development, the Japan economy went under since the atomic bombing crippled many industries and the agriculture sector. The transcending effect of this notion was that the Japanese government had to start from the scratch to build its nations in various aspects (Fussell, 178). This paper looks into the real events that caused the wedging of war between the US and the Japan government. Additionally, it scrutinizes the impacts that the two sets of atomic bombing had on Japan as a nation. In this prospect, it digresses on the four main dimensions in which these attacks had on Japan as a nation. These four dimensions are political, military, economy and culture. The action of the bombing of the Japan’s main territories has a profound historical significance to this nation as a whole. These two critical attacks did not only change the perceptions of the Japan as a nation, but it also made the world war to end.

The thesis statement

It is indeed an astounding fact that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the worst experiences that this great country Japan had ever experienced. Conversely, in as much as these attacks destabilized this country in terms of development,  it set the base for dramatic change for Japan both as in economic, military, political and cultural terms. In fact, this incident was one of the catalysts for the rapid recovery and development of this noble country. This paper is a masterpiece of how the change took place in this once devastated country.

Historical background

In the year 1941 during the times of world war two, Japan Imperial military by then attacked the Pearl Harbor where the United States Naval base was stationed. The main aim of the attack was to protect the territory from being advanced by the US military “Japan, all alone, was fighting on. The United States was assembling even larger forces – army, navy, and air for the next greater actions”( Feis, 3). Additionally, the attacked was preventive and stipulated to deter the US militia from interfering with the attacks that the Japanese army was to advance to the overseas territories of the United Kingdom as they were wedging war against them. In this fight, all the eight naval ships of the US were destroyed. This incident made the US government to enter into the world war two by declaring war against the Japan government (Igarashi, 198). This motive was one of the reasons why the US military attacked Japan. Additionally, us army used the atomic bombing since they wanted the Japan to surrender as quickly as possible. This quick surrendering would reduce the number of casualties that were experienced in the American military. US Army also wanted to actualize their dominance before the Soviet Union attacked the Japan territory to claim the dominance as well. Lastly, it is evident that the American government wanted to launch these deadly atomic missiles in order to understand their adverse effects on the humanity for the first time. All these reasons construed to one notion that the US government were out to take revenge by destabilizing the Japan nation (Wainstock, 215).


Before the attack, the Japan government had a well-stratified system of a military which was seen as quite formidable in fighting various wars. This conception was evident at the first time when they invaded the Pearl Harbor and destabilized the US naval base. Furthermore, the military had the powers to influence the politics of this nation since the choosing of prime minister was dictated by the military that had to nominate the cabinet minister. The military conscription that was instituted by the Yamagata in the year 1873 was mainly used since the system that gave much power to the military (Treat, 121). There were various military bases where these Japanese armies were being trained, and one of them was Hiroshima, which held more than 30000 troops. The military was being guided by the aggressive foreign policies that emanated from the victory of Russia in the Russo-Japanese war and for the China in the first Sino-Japanese war. From all indications, Japan was perceived to have a high level of dominance in the region because of its highly sophisticated and powerful military it had during these times of war (Kort, 127).

The first atomic bombing (Little Boy) in Hiroshima the firestorm spread to kill almost between 100000 to 180000 persons who were living this industrialized town of Hiroshima. It should be noted that this city also formed the military base of the Japan government. Among those who were killed, 20,000 were military which means that there was a serious deconstruction of the military force in this country (Treat, 321). This incident was a one-time loss that had a different stand on the management of the military in this country. The remaining military did not only deal with the attackers who were the US government military but also dealt with the causalities that were many in number. Even at this point, the construct of the military still believed that they could still continue with the war and win it (Treat, 311).

The US government, on the other hand, expected the Japanese government to surrender which was not the case as they still went on to the war. At this point, the Japanese government still believed that they were still strong and would have a high sense of coordination of their activities to combat the aggressiveness that was being brought by the US military. The second bombing (fat man) in Nagasaki escalated the whole situation where between 50000 to 100000 people died including some army military officers. The structure of the army could not be coordinated well to continue with the war. The Japanese military at this point had to surrender and advocate for peace among its members and other states. During the time of quitting the US government gained dominance they wanted, and most of the military personnel who perpetrated the acts of attacking the US naval base and starting the war with the US were tried in the tribunal formed in the Tokyo tribunal. In addition, the US gained the occupation to this country and made sure that militarization of this nation stopped (Wainstock, 25).


Before the attacks and bombings, Japan had a strong economy that was mainly supported by the neighboring countries. Due to its dominance that it had in the region, it imported most of its raw materials for production from the various neighboring countries which were endowed with such resources. During the 19th century, Japanese government depended mainly on the resources from the different colonial empires that fed its industries with raw materials like oil, coal and iron among others (Treat, 223).  In this era, the main economic advantage that the country could had was to conquer other territories and make sure that it gets the best materials for production. The country had high economic stance owing to the dominance it had in the region.  The Japanese victory in securing the neighboring countries; Korea in the year 1910 and Taiwan in the year 1895” (Treat, 212), was a breakthrough for which they were the hot spot for agricultural products that supported the Japan economy. Therefore, the dominant economic strength for this country mainly emanated from agriculture and other minerals imported from their colonies. After the first bombing, the country went into an enormous economic loss in various facets (Kort, 387).

In the first instance, the state lost over 100000+ worth of workforce which meant that the industries were crippled with a little workforce (Kort, 217). For example, it is reported that the Hiroshima bombings claim 95% of the medical staffs’ lives for which this country depended on in terms of medical attention. Hiroshima is one of the largest cities in Japan and hence had buildings that were destroyed which reduced the GDP of this country that was sourced from the real estates. The second bombings in Nagasaki worsened the economy even more (Treat, 321). Aside from the claiming the lives of the workforce, the attack destroyed massive acres of land that were used for agriculture. This bombing did not only make the economy go into a recession, but it also triggered rapid responses of how the economy could be revived. The transcending effect of these attacks is that the Japanese government shifted from investing in the military to investing in proper economic activities that would elevate its economic stance. Due to the loss of dominance in the region, this country shifted from depending more on agriculture to investing in technology “Kuboshima and  the post war Japanopted not to face the memories of their war loss and instead attemptedto displace it with material wealth” (Igarashi, 9). As of today, Japan is seen as one of the largest exporters of first class vehicles that are known worldwide.


The cultural background of Japanese has been mainly affected the bombings in the perceptional sense. Before the attacks, it emerged that the Japanese language was quite dominant, and this created an advent of self-sustaining culture. There was high level unity in terms of issues on rites of passage, the language and even the literature.  The lives of the Japan population at this point were constricted to work where they advocated for hard work without seizing.  This culture of hard work made them quite economically stable across the region. The various fields that were cultivated in different plantation made this country quite productive. In the first bombing of Hiroshima, the country lost a great deal of its citizens who upheld its culture of resilience and hard work (Wainstock, 125). Thousands of medical scientists were killed; millions were affected by these attacks for losing their loved ones. The second attacks made things worse since it took place in the area away from the urban and indeed destroyed the various plantations of these noble people of Japan. Even as the US made the change, there were dramatic shifts in the culture of Japan since other cultures like the western culture mixed up with the indigenous Japanese culture and making it even better. The invasion of the US created the platform for cultural integration and now in the present day, Japanese culture is known worldwide (Kort, 387).


The ancient Japan political system was highly militarized. The system of government was situated in such a way that the military had a say in the election and the appointment of the prime minister who was the head of the country. In the choice of the cabinet ministers, the military had the authority and sole power to nominate their military member to be the cabinet secretary. In addition, the prime minister would not be in the authority before constituting a certain number of representatives under the approval of the military heads (Kort, 66). In the event that they did not nominate any minister, the prime minister would leave power. These turn of the events eventually revolved around giving the military the extrajudicial powers to man the country. “At the inception of the first attack, the number of military reduced considerable weakening their powers and authority as the ultimate decision maker” (Wainstock, 176). At this point, the military had more responsibilities than ever. They were not only expected to take care of the causalities but also to fight for their country. The Political system changed considerably at the point of the surrender and US occupation. A democratic regime of government was instituted with keen attention to uniting the Japanese citizens amongst themselves and also with those countries across the world. In the present day, the system of government of Japan is democratic, and the military has little influence on this political system.


In summary, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the worst experiences that Japan had ever experienced. Conversely, in as much as these attacks destabilized this country in terms of development,  it set the base for dramatic change for Japan both as in economic, military, political and cultural terms. In fact, this incident was one of the catalysts for the rapid recovery and development of this noble country. The change of the political system to democracy, the change in focus of production, the integration of other cultures into Japan’s cultures are some of the remarkable changes that are seen to have been envisaged from the bombings.

Work cited

Feis, Herbert. The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War Ii. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Internet resource.

Fussell, Paul. Thank God for the Atom Bomb, and Other Essays. New York: Ballantine Books, 2009. Print.

Igarashi, Yoshikuni. Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970. Princeton, NJ [u.a.: Princeton University Press, 2010. Print.

Kort, Michael. The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. Internet resource.