It's hard to determine what the outcome might have been had they not dropped the bombs. From what we know, the outlook for a quick end was bleak, at best, and the projected loss of life was simply astronomical. On the other hand, we have to look at the atmosphere of worldwide terror that simple act created. The build-up of nuclear arms was a direct result of the sense of panic created by the overwhelming power unleashed by those bombs, which was so much more than what anyone expected. In the end, though, I believe that the bombings were the fastest, and most definitive way to end the war, and establish a means for a comfortable peace in the end.