Did the United States need to use atomic weapons to end World War II?

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The Allied victory in World War II came at a high cost to both sides. The Pacific theatre was only won after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan—the only time that nuclear weapons have been used in warfare. Was this decision necessary? Would the Japanese have capitulated due to conventional warfare anyway? Did the use of A-bombs hasten the end and actually save lives? Could the same goals have been achieved with just one of the bombs?

Arguments for[edit]

Arguments against[edit]

  • The Japanese had already engaged in negotiations with the Soviets to end the war, they just needed more time to finalize the details and wrest control of Japanese society from the generals to the emperor.

See also[edit]