The Decision to Drop the Bomb

The decision to drop the atomic bomb was very difficult, and extremely important. In the midst of the Pacific War with Japan, the United States president, Harry S. Truman, was left to decide whether or not to use the most powerful weapon at the time. Many Americans had conflicting views, striving to convince each other of their opinion on the topic. For example, while Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project, would obviously try to convince the public that the detonation of the atomic bomb was inevitable, others would disagree, going as far as to send the president petitions to try to prevent the imposing nuclear destruction. Although the American population argued both sides, Harry Truman finally decided to detonate two atomic bombs over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Following this critical decision, approximately 200,000 people perished in the two Japanese cities, leading to the Japanese surrender only a few days later. The three texts that were displayed differed from each other since the first article presented more statistical arguments in the form of logos and the second article presented more ethos and pathos approaches; however, the texts were similar since both of their purposes was to convince the president, or population, of the positive and negative effects of the atomic bomb. Although the other two articles demonstrated powerful arguments, the speech written by Robert Oppenheimer provided a more developed use of logos, pathos, and ethos, better appealed to the audience, and implemented powerful scientific data.

The first text, written by Robert Oppenheimer as a speech to Los Alamos scientists developing the atomic bomb, obviously used a more statistical and mathematical approach to the problem. “There are many people who try to wiggle out of this. They say the real importance of atomic energy does not lie in the weapons that have been made; the real importance lies in all the great benefits which atomic energy, which the various radiations, will bring to mankind” (Robert Oppenheimer, Paragraph 8). Being the director, or lead, scientist of the project, Oppenheimer most likely used evidence and logos reasoning to back up his statements. However, not only logos reasoning was used in this speech, since pathos and ethos were also slightly implemented. “There was in the first place the great concern that our enemy might develop these weapons before we did” (Robert Oppenheimer, Paragraph 5).

Here, Oppenheimer appeals emotionally to his audience (in this case the Los Alamos scientists) in order to convince them that what is occurring is indeed important and should be accomplished, or completed. “As scientists I think we have perhaps a little greater ability to accept change, and accept radical change, because of our experiences in the pursuit or science” (Robert Oppenheimer, Paragraph 9). In the final paragraph, the speaker implements ethos, or his authority, into the argument. By having all of these factors together, the speech appealed to the audience while also providing scientific reasoning.

On the other hand, the second text used a much greater emphasis on pathos than logos and ethos like the other article. Being a petition for the US President, the authors of this text were most likely attempting to appeal to him ethically and morally, providing evidence that would serve as a counterargument to the ideologies of detonating the bomb. “The development of atomic power will provide nations with new means of destruction.” (A Petition to the President of the United States, Paragraph 6).

Here, the author(s) are attempting to convince the government against performing a certain action by implementing a pathos logical argument. “If after this war a situation is allowed to develop in the world which permits rival powers to be in uncontrolled possession of these new means of destruction, the cities of the United States as well as the cities of other nations will be in continuous danger of sudden annihilation” (A Petition to the President of the United States, Paragraph 7). Once again, the speaker/author of the text is attempting to ethically appeal to the President, stating that if a bomb is indeed detonated, there is a chance that the world might live in fear of destruction by nuclear bomb. “If such a public announcement gave assurance to the Japanese that they could look forward to a life devoted to peaceful persist in their homeland and if Japan still refused to surrender out nation might then find itself forced to resort to the use of atomic bombs” (A Petition to the President of the United States, Paragraph 5). Finally, this petition provides the idea that perhaps the United States should not attack without warning the Japanese first of an incoming attack, once again appealing using a pathos argument.

Although the two texts provide different logical arguments that counter each other, they are both similar in the way of how they effectively appeal to their audience. However, since the first argument (a speech by Robert Oppenheimer) provided more evidence as well as a broader spectrum of logical arguments, I have come to believe that it provided a better overall argument to convince the audience of a position. “What has happened to us — it is really major, it is so major that I think in some ways one returns to the greatest developments of the twentieth century (Robert Oppenheimer, Paragraph 2).

The second article, which implemented mostly pathos arguments, provided a weaker argument in my opinion. “It would then be more difficult for us to live up to our responsibility of bringing the unloosened forces of destruction under control.” (A Petition to the President of the United States, Paragraph 8). If the second article had used a larger variety of logical arguments rather than just mainly focusing on one, it might have provided even a stronger argument than the first article due to the great emphasis on the morality of the project. The third article is a nonfiction article about Harry Truman and the detonation of the atomic bomb, published well after the event. That article was, therefore, mainly composed of historical content. “The Japanese had an army of 2 million strong stationed in the home islands guarding against invasion” (The Decision to Drop the Bomb, Paragraph 3). The thirds article used minimal ethos and pathos arguments, since it is a secondary source nonfiction article, thus making it be composed of mainly logos logical arguments. Therefore, my decision about the first article being the most convincing and properly structured remains.

In conclusion, all of the articles provided convincing arguments to support the ideologies trying to be conveyed. However, the first article regarding Robert Oppenheimer’s speech stood out to me as the most convincing after my analyzation of the text. It used the greatest variety of logical arguments which overall improved the argument. Using all of the logical arguments sufficiently, the first article was the most convincing. It was spoken by a professional in the field of nuclear physics, his speech most likely had the best scientifically proven arguments which is another reason that led me to believe that this is the most convincing of the three. Ultimately, the three texts that were displayed differed from each other since the first article presented more statistical arguments, in the form of logos and the second article presented more ethos and pathos approaches; however, the texts were similar since both of their purposes was to convince the president, or population, of the positive and negative effects of the atomic bomb.