How could US drop the a-bomb on Civilians?

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

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

  1. Yes

    64.5%
  2. No

    35.5%
  1. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    I can understand/appreciate both sides of this coin. At any rate, I found an online rendition of an official US government assessment which is interesting and contemporaneous...


    Note: I cannot post the link due to insufficient post count. Just Google the document title
     
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  3. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

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    685
    The attack on Pearl Harbor continued to burn in the minds of American civilians and armed forces alike, as 9/11 had done, which a few years later, resulted in the invasion of Iraq. After witnessing the first atomic bomb test explosion, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, "Now we are all sons of bitches." They knew what they intended to do, and Bainbridge, in good conscience, spoke of the impending revenge of evil for evil.

    Before, during and after WW2, the Japanese had proven themselves to be extreme in both their fanaticism and inhumanity. The Japanese worshipped their emperor as a god, much in the way North Korea worships their leaders. Before WW2, Japan's invasion of Manchuria, the massacre at Nanking, and other atrocities speak for themselves. During WW2, for example, when food supplies ran low, some Japanese soldiers not only resorted to cannibalism, but also kept prisoners alive to keep their meat fresh, removing their limbs from time to time. In the Allied campaign to defeat Japan, Americans repeatedly and consistently encountered suicidal civilians as well as suicidal soldiers. After WW2, fanaticism was evident as years and decades passed, and occasionally a Japanese soldier would be discovered (as one episode occurred in 1972!) living in seclusion, ready to continue fighting for Japan's victory.

    Americans believed that the Japanese armed forces and civilian population would resist to the bitter end, and the Americans believed that dropping the atomic bomb would save more Japanese and American lives than fighting to the bitter end. However, this position remains controversial even today. On the one hand, it's hard to justify a preemptive strike. These strikes happened during a hotly contested war, yet they used a new generation of weaponry that was a quantum leap above anything imaginable.

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  5. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    17,455
    yes, japan DID consider surrender.
    as a matter of fact the US military KNEW it.

    the key phrase is UNCONDITIONAL surrender.
    japan absolutely refused to surrender unconditionally.
     
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  7. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    Umm. The first Survey paragraph quoted did in fact utilize the specific term unconditional surrender:

     
  8. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    456
    What it states is that in their opinion the (achieved) unconditional surrender of Japan would have occurred regardless of the atomic bombs.

    In the following paragraph, they declare that this achievement would certainly have transpired prior to 31 December 1945.
     
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    i have no idea where you get your information but the battles that japan fought made it positively clear that the japanese was NOT going to surrender.
    the battles fought on the outlying islands made that clear.

    the suicide missions at okinawa were flown by hastily trained civilians.

    the only thing controversial about "the bomb" was that it was developed, not that it was used.
     
  10. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    I simply quoted the information. The Survey was published in 1946, many decades before my time. It is available online... 3dub.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm
     
  11. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    7,829
    Well Dec 31st was nearly 5 more months of war.

    And surrender would only have happened if we had kept up the war effort and the accompanying loss of lives on both sides.

    What you left out was this paragraph:

    Clearly they ARE saying that the bombs brought the war to an end.

    The rest is interesting speculation, which was only possible ONCE the war was over.

    http://www.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm
     
  12. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,938
    Again, as has been mentioned multiple times now... the US did leaflet drops explaining that the cities in question were being targeted and that the civilian population should evacuate... we gave them every chance we could to get the "innocent" people out of the way.

    Honestly, if they didn't take it... well, we did our part. Had we invaded, however, far more people would have likely died... both military and civilian...
     
  13. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    What they are saying is that the atomic bombs served to *accelerate* the end of hostilities with Japan. This facet is indisputable.

    If one examines the military situation in-toto, it is clear that Japan was in an untenable position both strategically and tactically. She was totally isolated and surrounded. Japan does not possess either the mineral commodities or the agriculture necessary to sustain a siege indefinitely. Industry was in ruin. Mass hunger and epidemics lingered on the horizon. She was naked to allied saturation bombing raids. Since US fighters had destroyed/crippled every Japanese warship in harbor, the target menu was tactically reduced to attacking the inter-island ferries.

    Although the atomic bombs were certainly an accelerant, the Survey states that Japan would have surrendered regardless, even in lieu of the atomic bombs and/or a land invasion. Basically what the Survey is saying at core is that although the atomic bombs were undeniably an expediency to surrender, they were not a requisite to surrender.

    There is also the post-war hypothesis (not mine) that the situation in Europe was contributory to the political decision to use the atomic bombs. Germany was defeated and the US wished to begin to reorient (i.e. bring home) the bulk of its military divisions. However, the powerful Red Army certainly had the capability to continue westward expansion. The atomic bombs served as a powerful hedge against such Russian adventurism. But merely possessing atomic bombs was considered a short-sell. In order to foster the maximum deterrence value, it was necessary to show that the political will to actually use them was factual rather than merely possible.
     
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    17,455
    the exact same thing could have been said about truk, okinawa, and iwo jima.
    the japanese bitterly defended these islands almost to the last man.
    it is clear that the japanese would have fought to extinction rather than surrender.
    the suicide bombers at okinawa proves the civilian population could easily be mustered into a brigade.
    the reality of the outlying island battles says the survey is mortally flawed.
    a few good reads about the pacific island battles will drive home the above points i and others have made.
     
  15. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,829
    And again you leave out a KEY statistic.

    Japan was still possessed of some 2,000,000 troops and over 9,000 planes in the home islands.

    5 months more fighting, even without an invasion, would have resulted in substantially more deaths to both sides in the conflict than those two bombs caused.
     
  16. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    Here's a good starter book for you (Hardcover/Kindle)

    Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945
    Barrett Tillman / Simon & Shuster / 2010 / 336pp

    (WWII aviation historian and the biographer of Curtis LeMay)
     
  17. leopold Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    17,455
    there was no "air war" with japan except for bombing missions such as tokyo.
    this was the primary objective for the capture of okinawa, so we could effectively wage a air war.
    the vast majority of the battles with japan was carrier/ battleship based.
     
  18. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

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    456
    The end phase of warfare in the Pacific theater certainly includes air assaults on the Japanese archipelago 1944-1945, no?

    It would behoove you to at least be somewhat versed on the topic matter.
     
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    17,455
    yes, especially after okinawa fell.
    our aircraft simply did not have the range until then.
    there were also logistic problems with supplying land based planes.
    we had bases in india to "fly the hump" but this group had supply problems.
     
  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    54,029
    You are only partially correct. While it's true that Japan was on a path to defeat, it's leadership could not surrender under normal circumstances due to the Bushido code that all Japanese warriors lived by. The nuclear attacks allowed them to surrender without losing "face". Otherwise, Bushido demands that they fight to the last man or commit suicide as the Japanese did when attacked on various Pacific islands.
     
  21. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    456
    As occurs in every discussion on this topic, there exists two interconnected yet distinct cross-currents at play.

    1) Mindful of the military situation in-toto, logic dictates that Japan would eventually have signed articles of surrender without atomic bombs or an invasion. Precisely when this would have transpired is of course an unknown. In lieu of surrender, the more unpalatable alternatives were continued and unabated saturation bombing, mass starvation, and a rampant rise of deadly epidemics. In short, a Japanese society/culture/homeland at the very abyss.

    2) I personally believe that all things considered, the use of the atomic bombs hastened the end of the war and saved countless Japanese and Allied lives. Although a cold calculation, the cost/benefit ratio is an undeniable positive.

    As a tangent, there are those who consider Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, etc. as blatant terrorism. I believe this is only true in retrospect and many decades removed from the conflict. At the time, both the Axis and Allied powers embraced/implemented the concept of total war. No quarter whatsoever was sought, and no quarter whatsoever was provided.
     
  22. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

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    7,829
    You were doing good until the last paragraph.

    It's not true, even in retrospect because as you pointed out in your second bullet: all things considered, the use of the atomic bombs hastened the end of the war and saved countless Japanese and Allied lives. Although a cold calculation, the cost/benefit ratio is an undeniable positive.
     
  23. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    54,029
    With regard to #1, although logic would suggest that surrender was near, this doesn't take into account the culture of the Japanese military, which was unlike that of the Allies.
     

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