A-bomb legacy: Most Americans negative about the invention of nuclear weapons

July 22, 2015, 6:49 PM GMT+0

6 in 10 Americans think the invention of the nuclear bomb was a bad thing, and many young Americans think America was wrong to use it against Japan

At this time seventy years ago the United States was preparing to drop the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima after the first successful test of a nuclear weapon in New Mexico. The 'Trinity' test on July 16th, 1945 was the culmination of years of research and vast expenditure on the Manhattan Project. For four years the United States would be the world's only nuclear power until in 1949 the Soviet Union detonated their first nuclear weapon.

YouGov's latest research shows that a large majority of Americans (62%) think that the invention of nuclear weapons was a bad thing. Only 20% of the country think that the invention of nuclear weapons was a good thing. Republicans (35%) are the most likely to think it was a good thing while only 12% of Democrats agree.

In early August, 1945 the United States avoided having to invade Japan by dropping two nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 130,000 and 250,000 people. By avoiding the invasion of Japan the use of nuclear weapons is widely credited with shortening the war. Americans tend to say that the decision to drop two nuclear weapons on Japan was the right decision (46%) rather than wrong decision (29%).

Younger Americans, however, are much less supportive of the decision. Among under-30s 45% say that it was the wrong decision while 31% think it was the right decision. People aged 30 to 44 are divided on the issue, while most people aged 45 or above say that it was the right decision.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.