In a short (5-6 page, double-spaced) essay, analyze the attached essay by Barton Bernstein on the atomic bombings. Bernstein provides five or six theories of how the Japanese could have been brought to surrender prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs. Assess the merits of each of these based on the information provided and any outside research you care to conduct. Analyze the strength of his argument and the evidence he provides to determine what course of action Truman should have taken. In other words, are “revisionists” correct in their assessment that the atomic bombings were not done for military purposes? Is Bernstein correct that Nagasaki was unnecessary?
Note: Using outside sources is not necessary or even recommended to supplement Bernstein’s piece. Some folks still want to do it, and that’s fine—within limits. When using outside sources, be certain to cite them in footnotes. Also, be warned that there is a lot of “junk” out there masquerading as research. This subject, like any controversial one, brings out the wing-nuts, conspiracy junkies, and the amateur hour, ax-to-grind folks. Some of it is pretty tough to spot. If you have questions about a site, please see me or email me a link and I’ll give you a reasonably informed assessment of it.
Note #2: When discussing each theory/alternative, make sure you thoroughly and accurately assess the arguments for and against it.