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A (Horrible) Blessing In Disguise

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  • A (Horrible) Blessing In Disguise

    Dear All,

    A thought occurred to me while reading the nuclear weapons against Germany thread.

    Suppose that Little Boy and Fat Man had never been dropped on Japan in 1945, the war being brought to an end by more B-29 fire raids and a bloody, long drawn out invasion of the Home Islands.

    Suppose (again) that another conflict flares up which brings the world to the brink and defeat seems imminent, hordes of Soviet or other Communist country troops threaten to sweep all before them, or maybe the boot would be on the other foot and NATO forces roll back the attackers, threatening the stability of the Warsaw Pact's political leadership. Nuclear weapons seem to be the only answer, but how likely would their use be, they having never been used before (excuse the grammar)?

    I think it can be argued that the levelling of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came as an awful shock to the Allies in so far as the level of destruction and the after effects on the survivors was concerned. Fallout was another aspect of their use that came as a surprise when it came to actual practice as opposed to the testing that took place in New Mexico, Bikini Atoll etc. Naturally the Americans were expecting the Bomb to be devestating but there is devestation and there is full on Nuclear Devestation. It also demonstrated to observers (not least the Soviets) that having used it once the U.S. may well be willing to use it again.

    So, to the original point. Do my fellow ACG forum members think there is any mileage in the idea that the bombing of Japan and all that it entailed saved the world as a whole from nuclear war in the following years and conflicts? Having seen the practical, terrifying and undeniable effects of the Bomb, was it this that also helped ensure MAD had the desired effect in keeping the nuclear peace? After all, they were never used in Korea, they were rejected for use in French Indochina at Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnam in the Sixties, the Cuban crisis never developed further and the Soviets never did sweep through the Fulda Gap.

    Any thoughts, am I being too simplistic or just barking up the wrong tree?
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    No. To many times during the Cold War panicked & ill informed leaders came too close to ordering nuclear atttacks. Had circumstances fallen out slightly differently we would not be having this discussion, & possiblly not be alive.

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    • #3
      a recent book - decent read, but with lots of errors - "red inferno", considers an Ussr-estern allies in april-september 1945. nukes are used on soviet front HQ... causing chaos!
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies.

        I suppose what I am also asking is what would have been the effect of not having used Atomic weapons against Japan, post WWII? Would their use have been more likely, and if so when/where? With nothing to learn from, would politicians/generals have been more inclined to use them?
        HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

        "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
          Thanks for the replies.

          I suppose what I am also asking is what would have been the effect of not having used Atomic weapons against Japan, post WWII? Would their use have been more likely, and if so when/where? With nothing to learn from, would politicians/generals have been more inclined to use them?
          They would have been used, maybe against China as MacArthur wanted. Maybe even against Pyongyang shortly after the invasion. I suspect that such a demonstration of its destructive power would have awoken the World to the reality of the Nuclear Age and history would have proceeded much as it has in our timeline.
          Signing out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
            Dear All,

            A thought occurred to me while reading the nuclear weapons against Germany thread.

            Suppose that Little Boy and Fat Man had never been dropped on Japan in 1945, the war being brought to an end by more B-29 fire raids and a bloody, long drawn out invasion of the Home Islands.

            Suppose (again) that another conflict flares up which brings the world to the brink and defeat seems imminent, hordes of Soviet or other Communist country troops threaten to sweep all before them, or maybe the boot would be on the other foot and NATO forces roll back the attackers, threatening the stability of the Warsaw Pact's political leadership. Nuclear weapons seem to be the only answer, but how likely would their use be, they having never been used before (excuse the grammar)?

            I think it can be argued that the levelling of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came as an awful shock to the Allies in so far as the level of destruction and the after effects on the survivors was concerned. Fallout was another aspect of their use that came as a surprise when it came to actual practice as opposed to the testing that took place in New Mexico, Bikini Atoll etc. Naturally the Americans were expecting the Bomb to be devestating but there is devestation and there is full on Nuclear Devestation. It also demonstrated to observers (not least the Soviets) that having used it once the U.S. may well be willing to use it again.

            So, to the original point. Do my fellow ACG forum members think there is any mileage in the idea that the bombing of Japan and all that it entailed saved the world as a whole from nuclear war in the following years and conflicts? Having seen the practical, terrifying and undeniable effects of the Bomb, was it this that also helped ensure MAD had the desired effect in keeping the nuclear peace? After all, they were never used in Korea, they were rejected for use in French Indochina at Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnam in the Sixties, the Cuban crisis never developed further and the Soviets never did sweep through the Fulda Gap.

            Any thoughts, am I being too simplistic or just barking up the wrong tree?
            Well the Japanese homeland was pretty badly bombed out by the time the A bomb comes on scence . So maybe an arguement can be made that conventional bombing could for a surrender.BUT the powers that be in Japan were ready to order a fight to the last man , women & child in event of an invasion. As Saipan and Iwo Jima showed that would be horrific . Also the Allied forces had the landings happening in 2 places seperated by distance and also in time . I think that OPS CORNET & OLYMPIC would have been bloodbaths on both sides and there was a good chance that Allied forces could be driven off. Then comes the A bombs and its all over. And the results are horrific . Yes I think a valid arguement can be made that the threat of a repition of thse events in other places kept wars smaller scale. I think that just the threat of a force of bombers could make people think twice about acting. Maybe the movement of A bomb equipped B 29s to the UK at the time od the Berlin Airlift kept Stalin fromer getting frisky and trying to push thw west out of Europe.

            "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

            Comment


            • #7
              A few points first: The Soviets knew about the US program as they had a number of spies involved with it. So, they were going to eventually get the bomb too.

              The US et. al. were hardly mortified at the carnage wrought by the two bombs dropped. You can see this in first the huge number of tests that followed after the war and, in the obvious willingness to use the bomb if a war started. The US however was very unlikely to start that war so the bomb didn't get used. Once Russia (and then other nations) got nuclear weapons the chances of a direct confrontation decreased.

              I also think that in the post war period the Soviets were more than cognizant of their weak position technologically and sought to catch up with the West. Most of the bluster the Soviet leadership put out was for consumption of the press rather than an overt move on their part to incite war.

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