Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Justified?




 
--
 
June 28th, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
 

Topic: 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.
June 28th, 2010  
MikeP
 
 
There must be at least one million ongoing threads on this subject.

What possible new thoughts can exist?

How about something novel-like AK vs M 16-or how wonderfil tiger tanks are?

Sorry, but that's just my response.
June 28th, 2010  
AVON
 

Topic: Re: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Justified?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Simmons
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.
What is seldom talked about is the riots on Japanese Army bases for the refusal to surrender. The efforts to kidnap the emperor in an effort to prevent him from doing something like dishonorably surrendering. Many in Japan felt that Japan would be better off without Japanese people rather than lived in a Japan which had foreign soldiers on their soil.
The Japanese army had planned to use chemical warfare agents. If they did the USAAF was prepared to load up B-29s with chemical bombs. Estimates are at least five million Japanese civilians would die in this aspect of the battle.
The Japanese figured correctly in estimating the invasion would come in early November, they had estimated correctly the beaches the US landings would take place on. They saved 8,000 kamikazi aircraft and stored mostly caves. A little over 100 midget subs and over 1,000 speed boats (stored in caves) to be packed with explosive with orders to run into landing craft. The month of November is the foggiest month in southern Japan, making interception difficult. The effort was to kill several divisions of US troops before they hit the beach!
Yes, Japan made overtures to the USSR for a peace accord. Among the conditions were, the Emperor woulds retain his throne, no foreign soldiers stationed on any home islands, and 'IF' there were any war crimes committed, the Japanese government would investigate and try them! After the surrender, Gen. MacArthur decided to retain the emperor because of his ability to pacify the Japanese people. The other conditions that were totally unacceptable to the USA or its Allies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Simmons
Then there are military historians who say the bombs were used to show American capabilities to Stalin.
That is also true. President Truman felt from the way the USSR took control over Poland which was against all that the USSR had agreed to with the USA and, UK. Despite this, President Truman briefly entertained the idea of sharing A-bomb technology. After the war in an effort to help the USSR less fearful of the west. The British sharing jet engine technology, the USA shared radar technology!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Simmons
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.
Of course he was not surprised because among the first group of scientist at Los Alamos, NM, one was a Soviet spy. The USSR knew a lot about the US nuclear bomb.

I would like to find out something about the Soviet Army's plans to invade the northern Japanese islands? US plans have been in the public sector for many years.
--
June 28th, 2010  
The Other Guy
 
 
I wouldn't have been surprised if the Soviets knew about the bomb before Truman did. He was kept in the dark for a long time.

As for the bomb saving lives, it probably did, as strange as that seems. The island battles were just a taste of what would come, with civilians jumping into the ocean to avoid being overtaken by the Americans; the Americans and Soviets would have had to kill every last one of them, and would have paid dearly for it in the process. I estimate it may have prolonged the war into 1947, because the Japanese would fight to the death for every fraction of an inch of soil they surrendered. Plus, combining that with weeding them out of the mountains and caves, which could have taken decades, it would have been really nasty. Heck, there were holdouts from captured islands that didn't surrender until the 70s; imagine if the war had gone longer. The bombings saved a monstrous number of lives on both sides, because even the hard line Japanese military officials knew that a war where one enemy bomb could take out an entire city was not a war worth fighting. If nothing else, is was extremely demoralizing.

It was the right move to make.
June 28th, 2010  
Naddoğur
 
 
For years critics of the decision have asserted that the use of nuclear weapons was unnecessary because Japan was so weakened militarily that they realized their situation was hopeless. The revisionists argue that Japan was seeking to negotiate a surrender prior to the bombings. But information from top secret intelligence documents by the U.S. code breaking operation called "Magic" and the British operation called "Ultra" that was declassified in the mid-1990s disclosed a decidedly different situation.

American code breakers had been deciphering Japanese military and diplomatic messages since just before the Battle of Midway. By the summer of 1945, "Magic" was deciphering millions of messages. From these messages President Truman and U.S. military leaders concluded that Japan would not agree to an unconditional surrender.

The revisionists insist otherwise. They point out that in the summer of 1945 the Japanese were seeking a compromised peace to end the war through their envoy to Russia. But based on intercepted Japanese communications, what Japan was trying to do was make a deal to keep the Soviet Union out of the war. What the Japanese military rulers really wanted was a deal that would allow their brutal military regime that started the war to stay in power, something the U.S. and the Allies would never have accepted.

Yet the revisionists persist that the primary obstacle that kept Japan from agreeing to an unconditional surrender was the perception that Emperor Hirohito would not be allowed to continue as emperor. According to the revisionists, the Japanese were so loyal to the Emperor that they would have fought to the death to protect him. While that may have been true for the majority of the Japanese, some of the top military leaders did not hold the Emperor in such high esteem. In fact, when Emperor Hirohito announced his decision to surrender, a group of hard-line Japanese military leaders attempted a coup to overthrow him. The coup failed.

Finally, according to the revisionists, the use of the A-bombs were unnecessary because Japan's military was so devastated that the war would have ended in a matter of weeks anyway. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith even asserted that the use of the A-bombs only shortened the war by two or three weeks at most. But Galbraith and other revisionists couldn't have been more wrong.

The Japanese had been sheltering their resources in anticipation of an American landing. At the time of the bombings, Japan had over 12,000 aircraft for use against U.S. forces. In terms of land forces, some post war estimates indicate that the Japanese defense forces on Kyushu, the first island targeted for invasion, may have outnumbered U.S. forces by a ratio of 3:2. Typically, an invasion force must outnumber defenders by a ratio of 3:1 to be successful. In addition, the Japanese had been training civilians, including children, for attacks against U.S. troops.

The Japanese plan was to inflict such heavy losses that the war weary Americans would seek a negotiated peace. And had the U.S. gone forward with the plans to land on the Kyushu, they would have suffered horrendous casualties. Pre-invasion casualty estimates anticipated the loss of from 100,000 to as many as 1 million American soldiers and from 5-10 million Japanese military and civilian deaths. It has been estimated that for every month that the war continued, between 250,000 to 400,000 Asian civilians still under Japanese occupation would have died.

Revisionists dismiss these estimates as justification for using the A-bombs. But as Dr. James Tent, a professor of history at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, points out, such a dismissal is indicative of the sheer arrogance of the revisionists who, decades after the fact and far removed from the reality of the situation, would presume to judge those who had to make those decisions.

While the revisionists can second-guess the use of such catastrophic weapons on primarily civilian targets, the fact remains that the use of the atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought about the end of the war much sooner than any of the other alternatives would have and in so doing saved millions of lives. Given that the Japanese were already responsible for 17 million deaths, it is not hard to conclude that using atomic weapons to end the war was justified.
June 28th, 2010  
lljadw
 
the revisionists are a bunch of :the bomb saved a lot of American lives,and also (but this was irrelevant those days )a lot of Japanese lives ;the alternative for the bomb was :invasion and-of continious classic bombardments( with million of casualties),but then,the revisionists would claim the US should have used the bomb
June 28th, 2010  
LeEnfield
 
 
People seem to forget that more Japanese were killed on the fire bombs attack on Tokyo than were killed by both Atomic bombs. So why is there all this wringing of hands about the use of the Atom bombs. Even after the second bomb had been dropped the Japanese Military were looking at staging a coup to keep the war going.
The Japanese were looking at a surrender but on their terms and we all know what happened in Germany after WW1. The Germans then considered that they had not lost the war but had been sold down the river by their leaders and then started WW2. As you can gather I think America was right to drop the Atom bombs and they saved millions of lives by ending the war.
June 29th, 2010  
Jeff Simmons
 

Topic: If not used...


I wonder what the current world situation would be like if the atomic bomb had been developed but never used by anyone. The twin attacks on Japan did, in fact, create a deterrent that has lasted 65 years. However, I also wonder if that deterrent will quell nations like Iran and North Korea.
June 30th, 2010  
TRose
 
Thing to remember about starving Japan into surrender. How many of the over a million slave laborers from China, Korea and elsewhere would have died as they where already on short rations. and how many others the elderly children , poor etc would have to die befor the leaders called it quits?
July 1st, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRose
Thing to remember about starving Japan into surrender. How many of the over a million slave laborers from China, Korea and elsewhere would have died as they where already on short rations. and how many others the elderly children , poor etc would have to die befor the leaders called it quits?
I am not sure that this is the case as Japan had already approached the Russians to help broker an end to hostilities, the problem there was that there was no territory to be gained by peace so Stalin never progressed with the peace negotiations.

In the end I think dropping the bombs were justified given what the Western allies knew but had Stalin been a little more honest there would have been no need to drop them at all.
 


Similar Topics
Dropping atomic bomb was a right choice