The Pacific Theater and the Atomic Bomb

Review Questions

Which of the following islands had to be captured in order to provide a staging area for U.S. bombing raids against Japan?

  1. Sakhalin
  2. Iwo Jima
  3. Molokai
  4. Reunion



What purpose did the Allied strategy of island hopping serve?


Allied forces intentionally avoided Japanese-held island strongholds that did not serve them strategically, instead securing locations that allowed them to interfere with Japanese communications and transportation routes. In this way, the Allies made their way towards Japan with limited military engagement. The goal was to get close enough to the Japanese home islands to achieve air superiority, paving the way for Allied assaults by air or water.

Why might President Truman have made the decision to drop the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki?


Truman wanted to end the war quickly and save lives by avoiding an invasion of the Japanese home islands. However, he might have achieved this by waiting for a definitive response from Japan following the bombing of Hiroshima. Truman may also have wanted to demonstrate America’s power to the Soviet Union and hoped that the unleashing of his nuclear arsenal would send a strong message to Stalin.