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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Justified?

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  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Justified?

    There are probably more than a million different opinions on whether the use of atomic weapons on Japan was justified. I haven't been able to decide in which camp I belong.

    Those in the "justified" camp usually argue that it was a far better alternative than landing troops on the shores of Japan and fighting it out "D-Day style." It has been estimated that such an invasion would have caused millions of casualties, both American and Japanese. It was envisioned that Japan would fight until they had just one last man armed with a sharp stick; after all, 110,000 Japanese were killed when the US took Okinawa, yet only a handful surrendered. And the conventional bombing of Tokyo (in which more Japanese had died than in either atomic attack) didn't seem to be enough to coax out a surrender.

    On the other hand, Japan was near to surrender as it was, ie, what remained of their once-powerful naval fleet was, by mid-1945, rusting in the docks because they couldn't get the oil or fuel to sail it. There was a severe shortage of just about everything. I read once that Japan had actually made overtures to Russia to cut a surrender deal several weeks before the bombings. I also read an estimation that Japan would have probably surrendered by September 1945 without a costly invasion.

    Then there are military historians who say the bombs were used to show American capabilities to Stalin. However, when told of the "new bomb" by Truman, Stalin didn't seem surprised at all; the best guess is that he already knew about it.

    I'm just seeking new points of view.

  • #2
    Is war justified?

    Once it starts all thing are justified to end it in the fastest means possible.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jeff Simmons View Post
      There are probably more than a million different opinions on whether the use of atomic weapons on Japan was justified. I haven't been able to decide in which camp I belong.

      Those in the "justified" camp usually argue that it was a far better alternative than landing troops on the shores of Japan and fighting it out "D-Day style." It has been estimated that such an invasion would have caused millions of casualties, both American and Japanese. It was envisioned that Japan would fight until they had just one last man armed with a sharp stick; after all, 110,000 Japanese were killed when the US took Okinawa, yet only a handful surrendered. And the conventional bombing of Tokyo (in which more Japanese had died than in either atomic attack) didn't seem to be enough to coax out a surrender.

      On the other hand, Japan was near to surrender as it was, ie, what remained of their once-powerful naval fleet was, by mid-1945, rusting in the docks because they couldn't get the oil or fuel to sail it. There was a severe shortage of just about everything. I read once that Japan had actually made overtures to Russia to cut a surrender deal several weeks before the bombings. I also read an estimation that Japan would have probably surrendered by September 1945 without a costly invasion.

      Then there are military historians who say the bombs were used to show American capabilities to Stalin. However, when told of the "new bomb" by Truman, Stalin didn't seem surprised at all; the best guess is that he already knew about it.

      I'm just seeking new points of view.
      I'll bite.

      A few things:

      You aren't going to find 'new' points of view on this.

      Any 'estimations of Japanese surrender' are made in hindsight years later when there are several pieces of the puzzle not available to Allied (US) commanders.

      Any peace overtures made by the Japanese were not coinciding with the policy of unconditional surrender that was agreed upon by Allied leadership.

      There was still fighting with the Japanese on other fronts, as well as the slaughter of Chinese that would have continued while waiting out any surrender. The bombings saved lives there as well.

      The leadership made the best decision they could with the information they had available and experience fighting the Japanese on one of their home Islands to end the war as quickly as possible and save their own soldiers lives.

      There are several threads on this subject you can find using the search function.
      Кто там?
      Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
      Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Stryker 19K30 View Post
        Any peace overtures made by the Japanese were not coinciding with the policy of unconditional surrender that was agreed upon by Allied leadership.
        Unconditional surrender is inherently immoral because it is too inflexible to meet the realities of war. IIRC the Japanese sent out peace feelers in the summer of 45, their one condition of surrender was retaining the monarchy. It was of course rejected. If my info is right, then there was no way in hell the atomic bombings were justified. Quibbling over a minor detail like that at the cost of 200K lives is damn evil. I'm willing to be totally ruthless in war, but even I'm not that callous to needlessly taking lives.

        Had we kept the Russians out of the Pacific war, then too I'd say the bombings were immoral. We could have starved the Japanese out, and the starving deaths would be on their shoulders not ours. As is though we needed to get the Japanese surrender before the Soviets attempted their own landings in northern Japan. The Red Navy was nothing but there was no INJ vessels left to stop them. And all the defenses were in the South. So in the calculus of things, I'd say a totally free Japan is worth 200K civilians. Believe it or not I feel really sick saying that.
        How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
        275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolery View Post

          Had we kept the Russians out of the Pacific war, then too I'd say the bombings were immoral. We could have starved the Japanese out, and the starving deaths would be on their shoulders not ours. As is though we needed to get the Japanese surrender before the Soviets attempted their own landings in northern Japan. The Red Navy was nothing but there was no INJ vessels left to stop them. And all the defenses were in the South. So in the calculus of things, I'd say a totally free Japan is worth 200K civilians. Believe it or not I feel really sick saying that.
          And how many Chinese civilians were being slaughtered daily while we 'starved the Japanese out?' Their lives don't matter?

          You really don't think the Soviets were really going to invade Japan do you?
          Кто там?
          Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
          Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Stryker 19K30 View Post
            And how many Chinese civilians were being slaughtered daily while we 'starved the Japanese out?' Their lives don't matter?

            You really don't think the Soviets were really going to invade Japan do you?
            Well to answer your questions, we aren't causing the death so it's not our problem, and never underestimate the Russians and/or they would have if Stalin felt it a good bargaining chip.

            The rapaciousness of the Japanese Army in China is a very compelling reason though, though I've not seen if brought to the fore until now. I may change my mind about the first question. Give it some time.
            How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
            275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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            • #7
              Yes it was even if for no other reason than that they started a brutal, barbaric war of conquest with peaceable nations. Whatever happened to them after that was their own stupid fault and entirely justified.
              Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

              That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rojik View Post
                Yes it was even if for no other reason than that they started a brutal, barbaric war of conquest with peaceable nations. Whatever happened to them after that was their own stupid fault and entirely justified.
                This is the kind of 'lets see who has the bigger dick' thing that I usually hear when discussing the atomic bomb.

                No Rojik, we are NOT entitled to do whatever we wish to our enemies. That is what separates civilized human beings from Nazis, Communists and Muslims. If the Japanese wanted to fight to the death, my grandpa, and he told me this explicitly, was ready to wipe out the Japanese nation. But that's an imposed condition on us. The damnable book I talk about is premised on the Germans overthrowing the Nazis and making an about face that renders the need to occupy and dismember Germany. The A-bombs help, but there not the primary reason. When it comes to war you don't do what you don't have to. If you don't need to wipe out a village, then for God's sake leave it alone. Don't kill civies if you don't have to, I think that's a good operating logic.
                How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                Comment


                • #9
                  No matter how long humankind tries to minimize or deny it...

                  We will never, as a race (human) truly be free of responsibility for our actions!

                  Originally posted by Hosea
                  "For they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind"
                  On the Plains of Hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest-and resting... died. Adlai E. Stevenson

                  ACG History Today

                  BoRG

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                    No Rojik, we are NOT entitled to do whatever we wish to our enemies.
                    Yes we are. We may choose not to but as long as might makes right we are entitled to if we can get away with it. They (the axis) chose the rules of engagement by including civilians as part of the Total War they were waging and if it came back to bite them on the arse so what?

                    Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                    That is what separates civilized human beings from Nazis, Communists and Muslims.
                    That line is so much thinner than we could ever guess at. Last century the USA and the USSR stood prepared to destroy the world over a difference in political systems. Civilised much?

                    Let's face it: for all the trappings of civilisation man is still a vicious animal capable of the most horrendous acts of violence with little or no provocation so why act surprised when the violence is unrestrained when there is provocation?
                    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                    That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rojik View Post
                      Let's face it: for all the trappings of civilisation man is still a vicious animal capable of the most horrendous acts of violence with little or no provocation so why act surprised when the violence is unrestrained when there is provocation?
                      Actually I agree with you for the most part, especially this line. I would detest civilized man if he were unable to unleash horrific violence when threatened, for if that were the case civilized people would have no survival instinct.

                      However, utter barbarism has it's limits. This is why I've said the atomic bomb and more distinctly strategic warfare (attacking population centers) must be banned from warfare like chemical weapons are now. No matter what the stakes, the species must go on. And therefore we need rules in war to keep us from exterminating the species over missiles in Cuba. War cannot be averted, the blood must flow. It's just our way, but we have to make war survivable or we won't survive it.
                      How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                      275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Japan/China situation

                        I know that the Japanese were basically on the defensive in the Pacific after the Battle of Midway, but what was the Japan/China situation like in August 1945? I'm just wondering because I know that Japan had tapped out all of its resources by then; were they holding territory or still on the offensive?

                        (That may be a stupid question; my area of specialty is WWI.)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                          ... I'm willing to be totally ruthless in war...
                          Clearly, you are not.

                          . We could have starved the Japanese out, and the starving deaths would be on their shoulders not ours. ...
                          Yeah, coz starving people to death is so much more humane than killing them with a bomb.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Orry Main View Post
                            Clearly, you are not.


                            Yeah, coz starving people to death is so much more humane than killing them with a bomb.
                            Thing is, we would be right in saying starved deaths were caused by intrange of the Japanese. Also there would have been less death if the total defeat of Japan had had time to set in. Now if the bomb saved lives, more than it took so be it. Destroying a city to score political points is not my bag. Necessity justifies all things but the trick is it must actually be necessary.
                            How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                            275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jeff Simmons View Post
                              but what was the Japan/China situation like in August 1945?
                              Sanko Sakusen was still in effect. This was the policy of "Kill all" "Burn all" "Loot All" Several hundred thousand Chinese were slaughtered by the Japanese in the last months of the war.

                              The forced famine in Indochina was going on as well, that only killed 2 million people compared to the one in Indonesia that killed 4 million.

                              There were still prisoners being forced to do labor until they died or experimented on.

                              I think the Japanese stopped using chemical and biological warfare on the Asian mainland by 1940 thankfully.

                              The Japanese committed far worse atrocities than the Nazis did, what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was getting off light if you asked me. Starving the Japanese out or invading would have created far more victims of the Japanese.

                              Worley, do you actually believe the Soviets could have put enough sealift together to conduct an amphibious landing on Japan (something they had no experience at) that wouldn't be smashed. The Soviets lost how many people in the final push in Germany? The Japanese would have fought harder, to the last man. The already war fatigued Soviets wouldn't even be able to keep up fairing the needed replacements to Japan. There was no Soviet threat of invading Japan. August Storm was the extent they could flex on the Japanese.
                              Кто там?
                              Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
                              Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

                              Comment

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