What is the definition of atomic diplomacy?


The U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian defines atomic diplomacy as attempts to use nuclear warfare threats to attain diplomatic goals. U.S. government officials used or considered atomic diplomacy in the years following the first successful test of the atomic bomb in 1945.

U.S. officials considered how the American nuclear monopoly could bring non-military benefits, explains the Office of the Historian. Many countries were engaged in the development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War, including the United States, Germany, Britain and the U.S.S.R. However, the U.S. was the first to develop the weapon, succeeding in 1945. The country used two atomic weapons, one each on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to end the war with Japan. This action was widely considered a way of conclusively and quickly ending the Pacific conflict, ensuring fewer conventional war casualties.

After the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry Truman was faced with the decision of whether or not to continue the policy of guarding nuclear information. Eventually, he stated the existence of a destructive bomb to Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin during the Allied meeting at Potsdam. Scholars debate whether mentioning the bomb at Potsdam and using the weapon against Japan represent atomic diplomacy. Some argue that Truman considered the use of the bomb necessary in achieving unconditional surrender of unyielding Japanese military leaders who were determined to fight to the death.

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