The defeat of Japan brought
horror and joy after
years of conflict
The war was over. The writing had been on the wall ever since American navy pilots gutted the Japanese fleet at Midway on June 4-7, 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of conquest in the Pacific.
After a bloody island-hopping campaign that began at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942 and worked its way northward, the end came swiftly in a cloud of radioactive dust.
The atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 marked the dawn of the nuclear age, a harbinger of the fears—and perhaps a lifesaving lesson—that underscored the Cold War in the decades after.
The justification for the nuclear attac...