Assignment May4/5 – Dropping the Atomic Bomb

It’s been called one of (if not THE) the most important single decision of the 20th century (source, source, source, and the short term and long term impact of the use of the atomic bomb have been debated since August of 1945.  In our next class, we will be discussing and debating the use of atomic weapons to end to the Pacific War in World War II.  To prepare, follow the directions very carefully, using the material online and your handout and notes from class.  Make sure you are prepared to discuss and debate!


STEP ONE –  THE BASIC FACTS – use your “You Decide” handout and the video below to get an overview of the event.  You can also consult The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the History Channel. You should all know the basics.


Use the ABC-CLIO activity called “Dropping the Bomb:Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (usmstudent, historyrules) available online, to complete this section of your homework.

  • READ the KEY QUESTION Introduction – Was the United States justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
  • Navigate to the NEED TO KNOW section.  If you need a refresher on the war in the Pacific, BROWSE through the BACKGROUND ESSAY, available in the links at the right of the NEED TO KNOW page.
  • Navigate to the DILEMMA section and read the introduction.  After that, read the three perspectives, adding notes to you’re the two sides of your “Yes! or No!” chart on the last page of this packet.   You should come to class with some detailed notes from these three essays. Start thinking about your opinion on the justification for dropping the bomb(s). You may create your own notes on a separate piece of paper, if you desire.


Was the use of the atomic bomb on Japan necessary and justified?  It’s a question that is still debated in our society today.  In this short online activity, you will be making a few decisions regarding the bomb, and then responding to a few short questions.  To do so, visit “A Biography of America – Chapter 23 The Fifties”, available at, and complete the following exercises.

  • Locate “A Biography of America – Chapter 23 The Fifties” from the online link
  • Click on the mushroom cloud picture
  • Read the introduction
  • Respond to the question on the bottom of the screen.
  • As you read, carefully consider the information presented, and add notes on your note sheet concerning the justification of the bomb.
  • Select some of the most persuasive quotes to use in the discussion tomorrow.
  • Continue to respond until you finally vote.  What is your vote (YES or NO)?
  • Read “The Bomb – A Never Ending Controversy


If you have the time and desire, check out additional information about the use of the atomic weapons by using the extra sites available on line.  Add the information to your notes.


In your next class, you will have the opportunity to discuss your opinion about the use of atomic weapons by the United States at the end of World War II.  You should come to class with a great deal of background about the two sides to the argument, written on your notes. You will be able to choose your side – YES or NO. Make sure you have excellent speaking points for your debate, as you will be evaluated on your participation in class.  Your task will be to make arguments that support your position, defend yourself against attacks from the other side, AND/OR ask questions of the people discussing to get further clarification.  The more historical detail and argumentation you have, the better!

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