Honors | The Atom Bomb & Japan in WWII (HON)
H204 | 7675 | George Wilson


MW 4:00-5:15pm
HU 217

This course will confront the triumphs and tragedies of the closing
days of World War II in Asia. Bitter combat on land and at sea gave
way in 1945 to new American tactics bringing overwhelming force to
bear on the Japanese home islands. Technology paved the way as waves
of giant B-29s showered firebombs over Japan’s cities and history’s
first atomic bombs rained hell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why did the war end with such apocalyptic violence? What made all
this devastation necessary? We will weigh the record of events as
well as the debates among historians about whether the A-bombs were
really needed.

Required reading comes from 6 paperbacks, including Richard Rhodes’s
epic Making of the Atomic Bomb and Ienaga Saburô’s unflinching
chronicle of imperial Japan, The Pacific War.  The Manhattan Project
and the controversial American physicist Robert Oppenheimer will be
given special attention. And we’ll read a pair of novels reflecting
wartime social conditions.

2 midterm exams, 12-page paper, no final exam.