Honors | The Atom Bomb and Japan in World War II (HON)
H204 | 8383 | George Wilson


MW 4:00-5:15pm
HU 217

No war in history ever ended like World War II, when the power of
the sun was made to intervene in human affairs and bring down a rain
of ruin on 2 Japanese cities. In this course we will look at the
triumphs and tragedies of the war’s final days. Bitter combat across
the Pacific gave way in 1945 to a U.S. air crusade against Japan’s
home islands. Waves of B-29s showered firebombs over major cities,
then in August a pair of A-bombs wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
How did America develop this awesome superweapon? Why did WWII end
with such apocalyptic violence? We will scour the record of events
in search of answers. We’ll also look into the ongoing controversy
about whether the bomb was really necessary.

Readings come from 6 paperbacks, including biographies of Emperor
Hirohito and the American physicist Robert Oppenheimer as well as
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Plus 3 period-
novels to read for fun.

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