How could US drop the a-bomb on Civilians?

Discussion in 'History' started by aaqucnaona, Jan 18, 2012.


Was Us justified in dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    You say that "the Axis" was a nuclear threat, therefore Japan was a nuclear threat - but Germany was the known nuclear threat within the Axis. That's equivocation by the dictionaries I've checked.

    That seems like a gross exaggeration. At the very end of the war, a U-boat surrendered with a quantity of low-grade uranium ore for Japan. Where's your evidence for anything more?
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Assuming your claims to be true, that isn't by any stretch equivocation as you clearly wrote. If you checked the dictionary, then your problems with the English language go much deeper Sideshow. Additionally, I didn't say Japan was a nuclear threat. I said, the US viewed Japan as a potential nuclear threat because it had physical evidence Nazi Germany had transferred nuclear materials to Japan and knew of Japan's nuclear weapons program, you know those pesky U-boats I wrote about?
    Oh, and where is your evidence to support that one? Actually, the U-boat had more than that. Additionally, it really doesn't matter if the uranium was low grade or highly refined material. You still need the ore to produce nuclear weapons and that is one of the many unpleasant facts you like to ignore. Why do you feel anything more is needed? It doesn't change the relevant facts which are:

    1) Japan had a nuclear weapons development program.
    2) The US didn't know with certitude how far along Japan was in developing nuclear weapons.
    3) If Japan had nuclear weapons, Japan had the ability to deliver them on Allied targets.
    4) Japan and Nazi Germany collaborated in nuclear weapons development as evidenced by the nuclear materials recovered from a Nazi U-boat en route to Japan.
    5) The US was concerned about the Nazi nuclear weapons program because Einstein, in conjunction with other physicists, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt expressing their concerns with respect to the Nazi nuclear weapons program and urged President Roosevelt to develop a nuclear weapon.

    WLU is Washington and Lee University:

    "This book claims that Japan and Nazi Germany were far more successful in the pursuit of nuclear weapons during World War II than has been recognized. Philip Henshall asserts that a previously underestimated level of cooperation existed between Japan and Germany on their nuclear weapons programs. He hypothesizes that Nazi Germany and Japan developed secret trade-routes for the transfer of nuclear weapons-related materials, citing otherwise unwarranted levels of go-between airplane and submarine travel. Henshall concludes that the Germans were much closer to completing their bomb than the Allies estimated; he interprets the pursuit of several anomalous V-1 and V-2 designs by German rocket scientists to indicate that rockets were being especially designed to be fitted with nuclear warheads. He also proposes that captured German nuclear scientists covered up the amount of progress they had made on their bomb project after the war. He similarly concludes that the Japanese nuclear program was advanced; he goes so far as to speculate that Japan actually detonated its own nuclear device in August of 1945."

    From Wikipedia:
    "The cargo included technical drawings, examples of the newest electric torpedoes, one crated Me 262 jet aircraft, a Henschel Hs 293 glide bomb and what was listed on the US Unloading Manifest as 560 kg of uranium oxide. As evidenced by Hirschfeld and Brooks in the 1997 book Hirschfeld, Wolfgang Hirschfeld reportedly watched the loading into the boat's cylindrical mine shafts of about 50 lead cubes with 23 centimetres (9.1 in) sides, with "U-235" painted on each. According to cable messages sent from the dockyard, these containers held "U-powder". Author and historian Joseph M. Scalia, stated that he discovered a formerly secret cable at Portsmouth Navy Yard, the uranium oxide had been stored in gold-lined cylinders; this document is discussed in Hitler's Terror Weapons. The exact characteristics of the uranium remain unknown; it has been suggested by Scalia, and historians Carl Boyd and Akihiko Yoshida that it may not have been weapons-grade material and was instead intended for use as a catalyst in the production of synthetic methanol for aviation fuel.[5][6] When the cargo had been loaded, U-234 carried out additional trials near Kiel, then returned to the northern German city where her passengers came aboard."
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    So, not technical drawing of nuclear weapons designs but technical drawings and some other stuff.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    LOL, yeah, some other stuff like 560kg of uranium oxide.
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Your own reference says that the uranium oxide might not even have been for a nuclear weapons program.

    You have shown NO evidence that the US took Japan seriously as a nuclear threat.

    A more interesting speculation might be: What if the bomb had been ready before Germany surrendered? Would they have used it on Germany or Japan? If they had used it on Germany, what would have been the target?
  9. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Dude, you lost. Now if you want to continue beating a dead horse with a host of fallacious argument, well that is your choice. But you lost. It is just that simple. Contrary to your assertions, the US decision to use the bomb on Japan to end the war was a rational and well justified decision. Using nukes on Japan did prevent a land invasion which would have been very costly in terms of life lost on both sides. And the facts previously presented and proven don't go away just because you refuse to recognize them in preference of your fantasies.
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So the US government claimed they found some yellowcake and that that justified a military action against a foreign power. Well, they certainly would never lie or exaggerate about anything like that.
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Ah, we were already at war with Japan and Nazi Germany for a few years when the uranium oxide was discovered on a captured Nazi U-boat. Do you not know Japan and Germany declared war on the US?
  12. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I haven't even suggested, much less asserted, that the US decision was not justified. There are two sides to justification, military and moral. I haven't commented on either.

    What I have said is that the US had no reason to think Japan had any significant nuclear capability.

    Instead of declaring victory, why don't you answer the questions? What if the bomb had been ready before Germany surrendered? Would they have used it on Germany or Japan? If they had used it on Germany, what would have been the target?

    These questions are pertinent to the US motivation.
  13. TBodillia Registered Senior Member

    In WWII, the US took ~400,000 German troops as POWs. The US ended up getting only 19,000-50,000 Japanese POWs because of their "fight to the death" attitude. There was never any reason to consider dropping an atomic bomb on Germany. Germans weren't fighting or living by the Bushido code.

    The Battle of Saipan best illustrates the Japanese attitude. In the last ditch attack against the US Marines, the Japanese killed any of their own wounded troops that weren't able to walk or bear arms against the invaders. They killed their own! Then, they didn't have enough rifles, or even swords, to go around so some fought with sticks and stones. They were able to overrun the Marines just because of their sheer numbers. 4,300 Japanese troops died in that banzai charge. The charge virtually wiped out 2 Marine battalions.

    And you have to include the civilian deaths in the Battle of Saipan. Emperor Hirohito told the civilians that an honored afterlife awaited the if they committed suicide. The US Marines said they watched helplessly as mothers jumped off cliffs while holding their children in their arms. Mothers were committing suicide and killing their own children instead of surrendering to the invading forces. Just how do you reason with somebody willing to do that?

    30,000 Japanese troops on Saipan. 921 surrendered. The rest were all killed in action. ~1,000 civilians chose suicide over surrender.
  14. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    The "fight to the death" attitude was to the US advantage. As General Patton allegedly said, you don't win a war by dying for your country; you win a war by making the other guy die for his country.

    Compare that with Hitler's "never give up" attitude. The Germans were a far more dangerous enemy.
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    But the decision to keep the bomb a secret for months and then actually use two of them in rapid sequence surprise attacks on two civilian populated cities, rather than inform Japanese leadership immediately and attempt to obtain surrender with the threat of them, was not justifiable in that way. The prospective cost of land invasion had nothing to do with that decision.

    So your continuing to bring it up is an obvious ploy, a distraction from the ethical issue at hand: the US knew it had atomic weaponry at least by March of 1945 (actually built one) if not earlier. The US leadership was fairly sure that knowledge of this weaponry would force Japan to surrender, and end the war - they were basing their strategies on that presumption. So the question was: how best to inform the Japanese of this terrible new weapon, and thereby (probably) force a surrender and end the war?
  16. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Except, they were not surprise attacks. Japan had been informed. Flyers had been dropped. This has been discussed extensively. Your refusal to acknowledge reality doesn't make the facts any less real. As has been repeatedly discussed with you and others, Japan was offered surrender terms months earlier at the Potsdam. So to say has you have that Japan didn't have time to surrender is just flat out false.

    Additionally, it took two weeks from the first nuclear bomb detonation, a false statement from a tortured American pilot, Russian declaration of war and a coupe before Japan announced its surrender. So this fairy tale notion you have that Japan would have just surrendered if we would have told them we had a nuclear bomb is just incredibly naïve at best. You have no evidence which would lead a rational person to conclude Japan would have surrendered if the US had just asked nicely or told them it had a nuclear weapon. Your belief is just contrary to all the evidence. Your consistent refusal to recognize the evidence doesn't make it go away.

    So you have evidence, that Truman's reason for using the nuclear weapon was not to end the war and save lives? Then where is your evidence? You have none. That is one of your problems.

    Truth and reason are never a ploy. Your consistent refusal to recognize fact and ignore reason in favor of you beliefs speaks to your cognitive biases.
  17. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    this is a misrepresentation. yes flyers were dropped stating bombing was going to happen. there was nothing in them to suggest something like the atomic bombings were going to happen. at the time the US was using a strategic bombing campaign. it would be fair to assume the japanese assumed more of the same.
    again with the attacking of people who disagree with your misrepresentation of the facts. all the facts matter joe not just the ones you like.
    actually at the time of the first atomic bombing japan was formulating a plan to offer counter terms so the argument is valid if weak.

    as i have previously shown the Japanese wanted to end the war. the idea they had no intention of surrendering is false. while they had no intention of surrendering on our terms they were looking to end the war. pretending other wise is false. also sources we now have access to show that the atomic bombings played almost no role in the surrender. it was the russian decleration of war and the US strategic bombing that pushed the japanese to surrender.
    actually i all ready provided the evidence for this.
    you mean like you and bells screaming anyone down who dared not accept we needed to do it?

    Ice is not showing a cognitive bias. he is reelavuating what happened with more newer evidence. your refusal to accept the newer sources and the picture they paint is a far better example of a cognitive bias. the fact remains that now in modern times the evidence shows that we more than likely didn't need to use nuclear weapons on japan.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The Bomb was kept secret. Period. No hint of its existence was provided. And you know that.

    All the "warnings" and flyers did was cause the Hiroshima government to organize teams of schoolgirls (not many men around in the wartime city) to clear fire lanes, anticipating the threatened firebombing - so they were out in the open in the middle of the city, sweeping the streets and clearing debris, when the Bomb went off.

    Or was that the plan, Joe - burn as many schoolgirls as possible, by dropping flyers to deceive the Japanese about the nature of the coming attack?

    Or was it to make sure the hospitals had called in all the nurses and doctors, collected them ready for the air raid, so when the Bomb went off directly over the main one as many doctors and nurses as possible would be killed?

    That is false. No terms were offered at Potsdam. Unconditional surrender was demanded, without terms. And the Bomb was kept secret.

    The terms eventually agreed to (informally even then) were not offered until after Nagasaki.

    1) The US had already extended the war by four months or more, to get the implosion Bomb built and tested and ready to drop by surprise on a city full of people - a couple more weeks was not much. But it wasn't even that long:

    (Joe has seen the following timeline printed in front of his face, verifiable in any way he wants including Wikipedia he was linked to, at least three times now. That's the context of his "took them two weeks" assertion)

    2) The Bomb was dropped on August 6th, in the morning. It's nature and its effects on Hiroshima were first communicated, to Japanese command on August 8th, in the evening, with great uncertainty and without preparation to enable comprehension (Hiroshima had simply vanished from the radio, without even being attacked as far as anyone knew, so physical travel was necessary to find out what had happened). The Japanese command then took less than one week - six days - to comprehend the situation, evaluate their options, quell the hardliners who feared a Japanese Nanking, and surrender to an army that had not agreed to any curbs on its behavior toward the Japanese people. The terms were settled and the Emperor had prepared his announcement by August 14th.

    They had actually made their first surrender offer within four days - it took a couple days for the US to find a way to agree to protect the Emperor, which the US wanted to do, without making it look like a conditional surrender. So the 14th, not the 12th or 13th.

    That's less than one week, not two weeks. That's incredibly fast, considering. It took that long for the central German command to surrender after Hitler's suicide - and they had nothing like the decision facing the Japanese.

    Of course you mean using it the way he used it, the particular tactics chosen, not the use itself - otherwise, you would be posting in bad faith - so:

    We have his guaranteeing a six month war extension to ready a fancier Bomb design through deception and secrecy, keeping the Bomb a secret from its civilian targets rather than warning them, refusing to meet with Japanese envoys or permit any other possibility of negotiated surrender in the months of Bomb readying, firebombing Tokyo and other major Japanese cities while getting the Bomb ready, rushing the Nagasaki bombing rather than giving the Japanese time to comprehend Hiroshima, and so forth and so on. How much evidence of a more complicated agenda than merely "saving lives" or "ending the war" do you need?
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  19. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    It was kept secret right up until the flyers were dropped.
    You have gone from calming there were no warnings to acknowledging there were warnings. But you dismiss them as ineffective. They why have you repeatedly said the US should have warned Japan if it had, Japan would have surrendered on the spot. You have just acknowledged warnings were delivered and ignored. And then you go back to your bizarre and macabre machinations in order to blame the US because the warnings were ignored.
    And then you go back to your fallacious arguments with the ad hominem.
    Uh, unconditional surrender is a surrender term. J And there were terms.
    The Allies clearly defined the terms for Japan’s surrender in a document known as Potsdam Declaration. So no matter how many much you want to deny its existence. The Potsdam Agreement is real. It defined the terms of Japans surrender and was issued well in advance of the first nuclear attack.
    The following are the terms of surrender enunciated in the Potsdam Declaration for your edification once again:
    “The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II. On July 26, 1945, United StatesPresidentHarry S. Truman, United KingdomPrime MinisterWinston Churchill, and Chairman of the Nationalist Government of ChinaChiang Kai-shek issued the document, which outlined the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan as agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference. This ultimatum stated that, if Japan did not surrender, it would face "prompt and utter destruction."[1][2]
    On July 26, the United States, Britain, and China released the Potsdam Declaration announcing the terms for Japan's surrender, with the warning, "We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay." For Japan, the terms of the declaration specified:[1]
    • the elimination "for all time [of] the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest"
    • the occupation of "points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies"
    • that the "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine," as had been announced in the Cairo Declaration in 1943.[3]
    • that "[t]he Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives."
    • that "[w]e do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners."
    On the other hand, the declaration offered that:
    • "The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established."
    • "Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to rearm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted."
    • "The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established, in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people, a peacefully inclined and responsible government."
    The only mention of "unconditional surrender" came at the end of the declaration:[1]
    • "We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."[1]
  20. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Except history says otherwise, it’s that reality thingy again (e.g. The Potsdam Declaration).
    And you have any evidence to support any of your assertions? In my last post, I asked you to prove your claims. You haven’t, not one. Do you have any evidence to back up your assertion the US extended the war by 4 months or more to get the bomb built in order to surprise a “city full of people”? Of course you don’t because this isn’t about evidence or reason with you, it is about your cognitive biases. Fact and reason just are not relevant to you unless they support your irrational beliefs.
    Below is a Wiki article which explains the surrender of Japan, again for the umpteenth time.
    Actually, if you do the math it took more than a week for Japan to announce its surrender. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you are skipping over a few unpleasant details again. It doesn’t take 8 days to surrender. After 2 nuclear bombs were detonated, Japanese leadership was equally divided on the surrender issue. It took 2 nuclear bomb detonations, the Soviet declaration of war on Japan, and a lie extracted from a capture and tortured American pilot who told his Japanese captors that the US had many nuclear bombs an Tokyo would be the next target. All of that caused the Emperor to override his ministers and surrender. But even then it wasn’t over. Because military units close to the Emperor staged a coup in order to prevent surrender.

    It took more than just the nuclear bombs to convince Japan to surrender. Even after the bombs and the Soviet war declaration, and the impression the US had an ample supply of nukes, there were those who resisted surrender and attempted a coup to prevent surrender. You have repeatedly ignored those inconvenient facts - among others.
    And you think any of that makes sense? Where is the evidence to support your macabre machinations of the US? Where is this war extension? You have none, you have beliefs which are just not consistent with reality.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Why can't you post without making shit up for me supposedly to have said?

    I think the US should have warned Japan about the Bomb, by whatever means proved necessary to actually inform them, well before detonating it over populated cities. I think the US was morally obligated to do that, at the command level, on humanitarian grounds regarding the Japanese people, and furthermore that taking the chance of shortening that war by possibly convincing the Japanese command to surrender as soon as possible was a moral obligation of the US command to its own military and citizenry. And I know by eyewitness accounts and historical scholarship that these matters were considered by those making the decision, and overridden by other concerns. This isn't hindsight, in other words - it is a criticism of decisions made by people aware of their choices.

    Nowhere have I posted that such attempts, either to shorten the war or at least warn the Japanese of their fate and minimize the atrocity of detonation, would have been promised success. The atrocity lies in not having made them. The tragedy lies in the possibility, the opportunity, thrown away.

    "Mention"? Seriously?
    Uh, Joe, you see that part where one side calls upon the other side to proclaim the unconditional surrender of its military forces? That's called a demand for unconditional surrender. It's different from offering terms, because it doesn't offer any.
    The Bomb was kept secret until the Bomb was dropped. No Japanese person was given a chance to prepare for it, or react to it. No Japanese person knew what awaited Hiroshima until after detonation. The Japanese command did not know what had happened to Hiroshima until days later. They were taken by complete surprise, not warned in the slightest.
    You mean guaranteed the extension, prevented the possibility of earlier surrender - what I wrote, not your rewordings? Of course. Posted several times now, directly to you.

    The US had a working gun design Bomb ready for drop assembly by March of 1945. But rather than use this for leverage in negotiations, the US kept it a secret until August 6th of that year. That time was used to build and test an implosion design Bomb, so that it could be dropped as well, and the secrecy along with the refusal to negotiate meant that there was no chance Japan would surrender early, as well as meaning the detonation would be a surprise. You can check all this in your Wiki link, above.

    If you count from the time the US knew it had solved the engineering problems and knew the war was over without a land invasion, it's more like eight months - the US could have begun using its Bomb development as negotiating leverage as early as January of 1945, potentially shortening the war by six months or more and in hindsight saving hundreds of thousands of lives (including many American ones) - although to be fair the loss of life from the Tokyo firebombing etc would have been hard to predict. But then the US would have run the risk of not being able to drop any of its Bombs on cities full of people.

    August 8th until August 14th is six days. And that includes two days of delay after the first Japanese offer of surrender, to handle the Emperor clause. August 8th until August 12th would be four days, and a plausible number to choose, but I was conservative. The Emperor announced it to the Japanese people the day after final agreement, August 15th, but of course the US knew by the day before, the 13th, when they agreed to protect the Emperor - the only remaining Japanese demand.

    Also there is a day lost in there for the time zone calculation, so five days would be a better description than six - again, I was avoiding controversy, sticking with the cut and dried. By any count, I believe it stands as the fastest complete surrender of a major industrial power at war ever recorded.
  22. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Exactly right.
    The USA knew China and Russia were coming, they knew that dominance in the pacific region would have been in flux had they not acted quickly, and they did exactly what they needed to do.
    It absolutely boggles the mind that people still use it as an argument against them.

    This is the history forum, not the fucking ethics thread. If you want to debate the ethics of this decision, then take it over there.

    Those of us who are more pragmatic about life will then be free to ignore you, as history so often does.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So you agree that quick US action and early Japanese surrender were important.

    So you also find the eight month delay in informing the Japanese of the development of atomic weaponry, the four month postponement until a second design could be built and tested to go with the sure thing gun bomb already built, the months of refusal of the US to even meet with the Japanese envoys offering surrender terms, and the inexplicable insistence on a non-negotiated unconditional surrender which was not even (we know now) required after Nagasaki,

    matters in need of explanation. Time was pressing, the Russians and Chinese were coming - why the forced delays by the US?

    The questions remain:

    first, why the US did not attempt to use the successful development of the Bomb (and the Russian threat, the Chinese threat, etc) for negotiation leverage, in the months between successful development and surprise deployment?

    and second, why did the US delay the demonstration of the threat by several months, and maximize civilian casualties, by keeping the Bomb a secret from the Japanese (only) even after one had been built, and then dropping the very first ones on two cities full of civilians without warning?

    Context: knowingly destroying hospitals and killing medical personnel with aerial bombs is a war crime, even in the heat of battle. Neither of the two Bombs were dropped in the heat of battle - their targets were deliberately and carefully chosen, with no immediate combat necessity.

    Which brings up an interesting point: the revision and deceptive alteration of history that dominates this matter seems to pivot on the need to deny the wholesale violation of ethical principles indicated by a simple recounting of the events.

    It's perfectly obvious that the Japanese were not warned about the Bomb, for example - none of them, from command level far away to Hiroshima hospital nurse readying for expected air raids, had the faintest idea what was going to happen to Hiroshima on August 6th, or Nagasaki 72 hours later. It's simple historical fact that the US had been refusing to negotiate with the Japanese envoys and demanding unconditional surrender since January of 1945. It's perfectly obvious that the US was never going to launch a military invasion of Japan once it had atomic weaponry. So what is motivating the posting above, with its bizarre fantasies about a Japanese balloon Bomb building program and the offering of terms at Potsdam and the fair warning of Japan about the Bomb and the framing of the choice as {Hiroshima and Nagasaki without warning/horrible land invasion of Japan} ?

    Notice how much of historical interest could be discussed and mulled over if the simple facts of historical event could be taken as a given, and their ethical or moral implications simply accepted. The role of racial bigotry in the decision to use Hiroshima and Nagasaki as Bomb demos, for example (notice why Kyoto was not chosen) - its possible suppression in some persons of the ordinary moral qualms we saw in others near the decision. That's a worthy topic for an American, living in a country in which racial bigotry has been so large a shaping force in so many ways. But we can't even get near it, if we have to spend our time dealing with bs about flyers.
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

Share This Page