ISBN : 9780199569762
The US decision to drop an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 remains one of the most controversial events of the twentieth century. However, the controversy over the rights and wrongs of dropping the bomb has tended to obscure a number of fundamental and sobering truths about the development of this fearsome weapon.
The principle of killing thousands of enemy civilians from the air was already well established by 1945 and had been practised on numerous occasions by both sides during the Second World War. Moreover, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was conceived and built by an international community of scientists, not just by the Americans. Other nations (including Japan and Germany) were also developing atomic bombs in the first half of the 1940s, albeit hapharzardly. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any combatant nation foregoing the use of the bomb during the war had it been able to obtain one. The international team of scientists organized by the Americans just got there first.
As this fascinating new history shows, the bomb dropped by a US pilot that hot August morning in 1945 was in many ways the world's offspring, in both a technological and a moral sense. And it was the world that would have to face its consequences, strategically, diplomatically, and culturally, in the years ahead.
Introduction: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
1: The World's Atom
2: Great Britain: Refugees, Air Power, and the Possibility of the Bomb
3: Japan and Germany: The Doomsday Scenario
4: The United States: Imagining and Building the Bomb
5: The United States, II: Using the Bomb
6: Japan: The Atomic Bombs, and War's End
7: The Bomb, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War
8: The World's Bomb: Strategy, Culture, and Ethics, 1945-2000
Epilogue: The Bomb in the 21st Century
"Sagacious and impeccably researched." - Alex Larman, The Observer
"Given the number of tomes on the atomic bomb, one might be forgiven for asking whether we need another one. In the case of Andrew J. Rotter's Hiroshima, the answer is definitely yes....The author is to be commended not only for having succeeded at that task, but also for providing a valuable teaching volume and a creative reflection of interest to the specialist."--Michael D. Gordin, The Journal of Military History
"A comprehensive account of the development of nuclear weapons from the early 20th century through the current concerns about terrorist attacks....Rotter writes beautifully, using telling anecdotes with great skill....This is the best relatively brief and readable study of this important and still timely topic. Highly recommended."--A.O. Edmonds, CHOICE
"Present[s] a new perspective and challenging insights...Rotter provides a context that makes the atomic bombing of Japan seem far from inevitable. [H]e has not only created an accessible work for students but also added significantly to the literature about the Gadget and about Fat Man and Little Boy."--Technology and Culture
"Readers looking for a single-volume history of the development of the use of the atomic bomb would be well advised to start with Rotter's measured and thoughtful work."--The Historian
"Rotter tells this story extremely well--his writing, throughought the book, is superb...[This] could well serve as a useful classroom text."--Diplomatic History