The Controversial Decision

The Controversial Decision

Atomic Diplomacy

There are several theories that arose after the use of the atomic bomb on Japan following the end of World War II, the Post War era and the Cold War era. Many critics of the atomic bomb have taken a hypercritical approach of men like former Secretary of War Henry Stimson and President of the United States Harry S. Truman. Others have taken a more moderate analysis on the development and the use of the atomic bomb, particularly its use in what is called "Atomic Diplomacy."

I. Atomic Diplomacy

In Louis Morton’s the Decision to use the Atomic Bomb it seems apparent that Truman and his advisors were hesitant for Soviet involvement in Asia.[Louis Morton, The Decision to Use the Atom Bomb. (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1990), 503.] Morton cites the Soviet refusal to honor the Yalta agreements and the belief that the United States should not beg the Soviets to get involved as two prominent themes. [Ibid., 504.] Without the Soviet’s involvement many advisors believed that the United States and Great Britain could defeat Japan alone. [Ibid.] Martin Sherwin’s "A World Destroyed" discusses the beginning of a critical point in International Studies that would later become the ‘special relationship.’ [Martin J. Sherwin, A World destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1975), 68.] The shift in allegiance of the United States from the Soviet Union and Great Britain to just Great Britain began when the atomic bomb became a reality. [Ibid., 85.]

This favorable partnership with Great Britain began in 1940, when Britain sent a proposal to the United States for, “‘…general interchange of secret technical information with the United States, particularly in the ultra short wave [radar] field.’” [Ibid., 68.] Although this predates the United States entry in 1941, and the broken non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union this is the beginning of what would be more favorable terms and privileges to Great Britain. [Ibid., 88.] This growing preference towards Great Britain was a result of Churchill’s commitment for an atomic partnership with the United States. [Ibid., 78.] Churchill played upon President Roosevelt’s growing suspicions of the Soviet Union and Stalin. [Ibid., 79] This would led to Churchill pushing for a formal agreement with the United States and an (implied) isolation of the Soviet Union from anything of the kind. [Ibid.]

Overall, this is just one of the actions that the United States did that showed a growing distrust of the Soviet Union. These measures mentioned show a gravitation perpetrated by Prime Minister Churchill that would have serious consequences on diplomacy in the post war period. Therefore, it is necessary to conclude that based on the limited information on this point that this is the basis for reasoning of the use of the atomic bomb and its diplomatic consequences.

In his book "The Most Controversial Decision" Wilson Miscamble discusses Truman’s decision and background. Truman, a former Missouri Senator and World War I veteran came to power with relatively no knowledge of the Manhattan Project. [Wilson D. Miscamble, The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 20-21.] Inexperienced and largely isolated by his successor late Franklin Roosevelt whose advisors like Henry Stimson sought to gain his favor. [Ibid., 22] Specifically, on April 25th Stimson briefed Truman on the merits of using the atomic bomb and its implications with the future relationship with the Soviet Union, whom both men distrusted. [Ibid., 32] It became apparent though, after the meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov with Truman’s concerns over Poland, he resolved to be tougher on the Soviet Union. [Ibid., 31.] Soon afterwards the atomic bomb being used for international affairs by Secretary of War Henry Stimson. [Ibid., 32]

Miscamble however, dismisses the notion that Truman used the bomb purely as ‘show of force’ against the ‘delaying conflict’ with the Soviet Union. [Ibid., 33] Truman also wasn’t the only one having doubts, Admiral Leahy had substantial doubts of the capabilities of the bomb uttering his famous phrase, “…the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.” [Ibid.]

Bernard Brodie continues to discuss the fragile relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of World War II in "The Absolute Weapon." [Bernard Brodie, The Absolute Weapon (New York, NY: Yale Institute of International Studies, 1946), 111.] Brodie discusses that despite apparent atomic monopoly that the United States (and Great Britain) had, the Soviet Union wasn’t worried that the United States would use it. [Ibid., 114] The Soviets wagered that the United States had used to the bomb to end the war meant the war-fatigue public wasn’t willing to enter into another war with them. [Ibid., 111]

Brodie’s view (in 1946) reflect on the use of the atomic bomb on relations with the Soviet Union at the time. Brodie makes the claim that British and American Statesman had no intentions of using the atomic bomb as leverage against their ‘ally’. [Ibid., 115] However, (according to Brodie) the diplomats were counting on the presence of the bomb to aid in influencing policy, without overtly using it as a threat. [Ibid.] The Miscamble book (unlike Alperovitz and Brodie) takes a favorable look at Truman’s decision making, while seemingly scorning Stimson. However, Brodie asserts that the merits of having an atomic monopoly were used quickly in Soviet-American affairs in the post war period. These both reinforce though, the idea that atomic diplomacy was actually discussed as a way of controlling the Soviet Union in the post war era.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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