Historiographical Research Paper

The Abstract for the Historiographical Research Paper

The research paper involves you choosing to defend one School of Thought on whether the atomic bombs were necessary to force Japan’s surrender.  You will compare your chosen School of Thought against another School of Thought and prove why your perspective makes the most sense. Choose from the list of articles.

Your abstract will be a short summary of your research paper. The abstract should have an intro, body and conclusion. It is a well-developed paragraph, should be exact in wording, and must be understandable to a wide audience. Abstracts should be between 150-250 words (1-2 paragraphs), formatted in Microsoft Word, and single-spaced, using size 12 Times New Roman font.

Your abstract should give me the gist of your paper, quickly. It should prepare me  to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper.

Your thesis statement should be in your abstract. Your thesis statement should state your position unequivocally. It should contain three points that you will be arguing. Ask yourself the question, “What am I trying to prove?”

  • If you choose the Orthodox School, you will argue 3 points that prove Truman had to drop the atomic bombs over Japan to end the war.
  • If you choose the Revisionist School, you will argue 3 points that the atomic bombs were unnecessary to Japan’s surrender.
  • If you choose the Post-Revisionist School, you will argue 3 points that it was Russia’s entry into the War that caused Japan to surrender.

Your thesis statement should begin by stating what you are proving, followed by your three main points.

Example: “This paper will prove…”

You three points should be taken directly from the articles. The video is not necessary to watch, but it is recommended to help you understand the arguments.

Schools of Thought

Orthodox School of Thought:  Orthodox views of the Cold War emerged among historians in the United States and other Western nations in the early 1950s. This perspective is also known as the 'Traditional view'.  Truman had to drop the atomic bombs to end the Pacific War.

Orthodox historians: Richard Frank and Robert Maddox.

Revisionist School of Thought:  The term historical revisionism identifies the re-interpretation of an historical account It usually involves challenging the  views held by professional scholars about a historical event or time-span or phenomenon, introducing contrary evidence, or reinterpreting the motivations and decisions of the people involved. The revisionist make the allegation that  the atomic bombs were used by Truman as a type of diplomacy against the Soviets. Truman did not have to drop the atomic bombs to end the Pacific War, because Japan was ready to surrender.

Revisionist Historians: Gar Alperovitz and Robert Jay Lifton

Post-Revisionist School of Thought: The revisionist interpretation produced a critical reaction of its own. In a variety of ways, "post-revisionist" scholarship before the fall of Communism challenged earlier works on the origins and course of the Cold War.

During the period, "post-revisionism" challenged the "revisionists" by accepting some of their findings, but rejecting most of their key claims. Post-Revisionists challenge the notions that the Japanese were ready to surrender before Hiroshima and that the atomic bombings were primarily intended to intimidate the Soviet Union. They also question traditionalist claims that the U.S. faced a choice between dropping the bomb and an invasion, and that an invasion would lead to hundreds of thousands of American casualties, so essentially. Truman did not have to drop the atomic bombs to end the Pacific War.

Post-Revisionist historians: Barton Bernstein and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa