Debating Hiroshima, 1945

what’s your opinion?


Faith Knott, writer

Last month, sophomore English students read about the events of Hiroshima. They’ve read two stories on the topic so far, a book and an article, and have written an essay about whether we believe total war is justifiable or not.

The book ‘Hiroshima’ was written by a man named John Hershey. Throughout the story, it was clearly stated what Hershey’s point of view on the matter was. The book shared stories from six different perspectives and experiences in the war. The people were Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, Hatsuyo Nakamura, Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fujii, and Dr. Terufumi Sasaki. It tells you the journey they made, who they lost, met, and how they got through it. Hershey’s book is someway an almost persuasive story, along with maybe informational. Hershey’s opinion on the bombing was very against it. He’s basically saying that there was destruction and chaos everywhere, one dead body after another. He never wrote any positive aspects in the book, although who could with a tragedy like this.

Another assignment we did based off of the bombing of Hiroshima was an article called “Thank God for the bomb” was written by Paul Fussell. Fussell’s argument throughout the paper was that your opinion, whether you are for the bombing or not, was based off of experience. Many times in his article, he uses the persuasive technique Logos -a literary device that can be defined as a statement, sentence, or argument used to convince or persuade the targeted audience by employing reason or logic- and Ethos -involves persuasion by the character involved- to help further make his point. In his article, Fussell uses sources from Generals, captured soldiers in japanese camps, and statistics of certain outcomes. Fussells paper is very persuasive and gives a strong argument. Of course in his article, he also states the opposing sides argument. Most of what he says on it is the fact that “people weren’t aware of what was truly happening” and “weren’t provided enough information” Fussell mentions that American allies were being killed 7,000 per week, meaning if Americans never bombed Japan, more than 14,000 people would die in two weeks, and over 21,000 the next.

Writing this essay, was difficult to decide. On one side, having these wars helps benefits many things and creates balance and peace. Though on the other, it just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Seeing all the statistics on how many casualties there are in these events, how the economy makes a huge downfall, and destruction that could possibly never recover, it makes it seem like there’s more negative aspects to war than positive.