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Why Did The U.S. Drop Atomic Bombs On Japan?06:02
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People pray at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial after the 70th anniversary ceremony of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 6. Japan marks the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb that was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The bomb instantly killed an estimated 70,000 people and thousands more in coming years from radiation effects. Three days later the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki which ended World War II. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
People pray at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial after the 70th anniversary ceremony of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 6. Japan marks the 70th anniversary of the first atomic bomb that was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The bomb instantly killed an estimated 70,000 people and thousands more in coming years from radiation effects. Three days later the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki which ended World War II. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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As Japan restarts its nuclear industry, the country is also marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the American atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The anniversary revived the debate over President Truman's decision to use nuclear weapons, which this past Sunday, Pope Francis seemed to criticize.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson looks at the question of why the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan with Michael Neiberg, a renowned historian of the war.

Guest

  • Michael Neiberg, chair of war studies at the Army War College. His books include "Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe." He tweets @michaelneiberg.

This segment aired on August 11, 2015.

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