SAT Subject US History Practice Question 747: Answer and Explanation
8. In public, Truman justified his decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by arguing that
A. these cities were industrial centers that helped the Japanese war effort.
B. these cities were relatively sparsely populated.
C. it would prevent the Soviet Union from attempting to seize land in Asia.
D. American strength would increase in Asia.
E. the American people were war-weary.
Correct Answer: A
Truman justified the dropping of the atomic bombs by stating that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were industrial cities fueling the Japanese war effort. He also argued that dropping the bombs would shorten the war and save American lives. These cities both had large populations (B). Many critics felt that the bomb was intended to send a message (C) to the Soviet Union, but Truman did not use this as a justification in public for his decision. Likewise, if Truman were interested in expanding American influence in Asia (D), he would not have publicly stated this as a justification for the atomic bombing of Japan, nor would he have cited American war-weariness as a justification (E).