For decades historians have debated the morality and necessity of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this lesson plan, students read four different accounts of the bombings and must decide for themselves how we should remember the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Note: This lesson contains strong images of violence that may not be appropriate for younger students.

Image: Photo of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945. From the Library of Congress.


Thank you from Australia for this very helpful site. It will make my teaching of the atomic bomb issue more meaningful.
I really did enjoy teaching this lesson. This lesson help my students to become more involved in rationalizing why President Truman dropped the bomb. The students were really engaged in the lesson and presented their arguments with confidence evidence from the documents. Thanks!
When introducing this topic, I like to use the first fifteen minutes of "Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie."
I really liked the beginning portion of this lesson. The Historical Narratives are a good introduction for students to both sides of the experience. Then students, in pairs, complete 'research' to support their historical perspective, based on what they were assigned. The portion of the lesson where opposing groups are to get together and share their points loses momentum. It is an important part of the lesson and might be better framed as a debate. If you are teaching 50 minute periods, this lesson takes two days.
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