Why did the US drop the atomic bomb on Japan?

Why did the US drop the atomic bombs on the Japanese? On people. On tens of thousands of people. When the war was in practice already won. When the US was nowhere near in any existential threat.

How did they overcome the moral obstacle, the principle of not hurting other people, the force of conscience that should have prevented that?

I was looking for answers to this question, while reading Richard Rhodes’ book. And here are my answers…

Moral fatigue

The war was going on for ages. People were mentally tired. They felt they would give anything just to put an end to their own suffering.


Japanese culture seemed very distant from that of the western civilization. The Japanese were strange, seemingly irrational and looking different. People from the US did not understand them. Somewhere deep down they did not think they are really human… of equal value.

Hunger for power

The US was aware that the atomic bomb is not just a means to win the war. It is a tool to skew the power balance in the world after the war – and to skew it strongly in their own favour. And what is the one thing that is more deeply wired in humans than caring about other humans? The will to power.

No more words.

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