AUTHORBess Michael
CHAPTER TITLEThe Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb: Twelve Questions
BOOK TITLEChoices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II
PUBLISHERVintage Books
CITYNew York, NY

This chapter approaches the controversial decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan through the framework of twelve questions designed to examine the moral basis of that decision. Considering answers to those questions allows the author to review the many facets of the issue and present detailed, diverse perspectives. The author draws on the works of noted historians Richard Frank, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Michael Hogan, Samuel Walker, and Richard Rhodes, among others, to frame his arguments and moral judgments. He concludes that given the complicated environment in which the decision was made, the "morality" of the atomic bombings “cannot but remain profoundly ambiguous” (p. 251). The chapter comes from the book Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II, first published in 2006.

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