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Did the US have to drop the A-bombs on Japan?

by syhprum
Tags: abombs, japan
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SW VandeCarr
#37
Apr23-12, 03:53 PM
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Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
I'm saying the U.S. actively supported Japans enemies and had been working against them politically for years. We were not simple innocent folk who had no idea Japan was about to attack us and had done nothing to provoke them. This has nothing to do with "rights", as there is no legal system anywhere that determines whether countries have the right to go to war or not.
I agree. The US opposed the annexation of Manchuria by force in 1931. It opposed the invasion of China Proper in 1937 and objected to the Rape of Nanjing. The US opposed the bloody conquest of Ethiopia by Italy and in general was disapproving of the Fascist Axis. I agree the US was not "innocent" even when it remained officially neutral. By opposing Fascism, the US was opposing the great promise that Fascism held for the world.
russ_watters
#38
Apr23-12, 06:47 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
I agree the US was not "innocent" even when it remained officially neutral.
That's probably a completely different topic, but my thought is that the US maintained an official or semi-official policy of neutrality for a century and a half regardless of if it really meant anything. As far as I can tell, it was never much more than an internal political position that didn't have a whole lot to do with the external reality.

Certainly, we were anything but neutral in 1940. But, that doesn't make it any less a war of aggression by Japan.
SW VandeCarr
#39
Apr23-12, 07:14 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
That's probably a completely different topic, but my thought is that the US maintained an official or semi-official policy of neutrality for a century and a half regardless of if it really meant anything. As far as I can tell, it was never much more than an internal political position that didn't have a whole lot to do with the external reality.

Certainly, we were anything but neutral in 1940. But, that doesn't make it any less a war of aggression by Japan.
Well, the US did briefly engage in "internationalism" in Wilson's second term including participation in WWI and the postwar conclaves. However, the American public didn't like it and an isolationist mood spread over the country. The US never joined the League of Nations (proposed by Wilson and accepted by the other allied powers).
willbell
#40
Jan22-13, 07:58 PM
P: 27
What it comes down to is would a Japanese negotiation team believe a film of a bomb going off that they don't have any real perception of the scale of or an emotional punch to the gut over the fact that a huge bomb killed thousands of Japanese people?

They could have saved everybody... or wasted nuclear weapons AND millions of Allies and Japanese in a costly invasion of Japan.

Or used nuclear weapons and killed thousands of civilians SAVING millions of Japanese, and more importantly to the Americans 400,000 to a million American lives.
jim hardy
#41
Jan22-13, 09:05 PM
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i wasn't there, of course, but two uncles were in air corps. One of them flew recon for the B29 campaign, the other flew "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers" from Oak Ridge to Hanford and Los Alamos..

My two cents worth of observations:
Watch your history channel documentaries. One of them showed thousands of tons of nerve gas stashed in Australia for the invasion.
The Oak Ridge museum has a wall of letters to Manhattan Project workers, all to effect "Wow brother no wonder you couldn't tell us anything. I'm sure glad we didn't have to invade..."
An old fellow at my church was in a landing craft alongside USS Missouri when surender was signed. He'd been in most of those island by island campaigns. He said "You wouldn't believe how they'd planned for an invasion - we'd have got cut to ribbons."
Russia was on the march toward Japan. Doubtless they'd have grabbed at least half, as they did in Germany, and who knows what Japan would be today.
Japan had their own A-Bomb project. (Google Paul Kuroda)

So i'm not criticizing Truman for that call.
willbell
#42
Jan22-13, 09:31 PM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
Russia was on the march toward Japan. Doubtless they'd have grabbed at least half, as they did in Germany, and who knows what Japan would be today.
It seems as if a communist government wouldn't catch on in an imperialist Japan after worshiping a god-emperor, definitely would have been bloody.
vjk2
#43
Jan22-13, 11:52 PM
P: 74
has anyone watched Oliver Stone's Untold History?

I personally do feel that it was unnecessary. Especially the 2nd bombing.
Drakkith
#44
Jan23-13, 05:36 AM
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I don't know what the big deal over the A-Bombs is. Maybe people don't understand how truly terrible World War 2 was. Wiki places the losses at over SIXTY-MILLION KILLED. SIXTY-MILLION. That's 2.5% of the world population at the time. The majority of these were civilians at around 40-50 million, with 15-20 million military.

Every single major country committed acts that would be considered heinous atrocities, including Japan, The U.S., Britain, Russia, and Germany. We're talking about firebombings of cities, The Blitz, and dozens of others.

China itself lost 10-20 MILLION people. So great were it's casualties that the UNCERTAINTY in the casualty list was in the millions. Think about that. Considering practically all of those were from China's war with Japan I don't have any problem with dropping a couple of A-Bombs. Heck, considering the devastation inflicted on Tokyo by firebombings, in which more than 100,000 people were killed by conventional weapons, I don't see the big deal. It's a sad, sad fact that the slaughter of entire cities of civilians occurred. But considering the horrible state of the world at the time, it probably saved lives in the end.
NemoReally
#45
Jan23-13, 07:14 AM
P: 194
It is worth noting that despite the dropping of 2 bombs, Japan did not surrender immediately and there were still significant factions in favour of continuing the war right up to the surrender. Claims that the Japanese would have surrendered anyway, with less loss of life, are highly speculative.

It is also worth bearing in mind that intelligence is a game played with hidden cards and interpretation of data is fraught with difficulties, particularly where intent is concerned and not all parties are disinterested in presenting all the facts or being neutral in their analyses - and that includes ex post facto claims by all sides, Japan included. In evaluating what the "correct" action should have bee, consider the reliability of the information that Truman and others had to work with and the range of less favourable outcomes that had to be factored in.

If we're voting, then I think Truman made the right decision, given the overall military and political situation, the likely scenarios and the nature of the intelligence available.

I also side with those who believe that what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a major factor in stopping the nuclear powers reaching for the Big Red Button. I suspect several hundred / thousand bombers / rockets doing x amount of damage with conventional weapons is somehow more emotionally acceptable than one bomber / rocket just wiping a city off the face of the earth. It might not have been if Little Boy and Fat Man had not made it so Very Real.
jim hardy
#46
Jan27-13, 10:36 AM
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Quote Quote by NemoReally View Post
It is also worth bearing in mind that intelligence is a game played with hidden cards and interpretation of data is fraught with difficulties, ..
One can only speculate what went through the intelligence community when German submarine U234, bound for Japan, surrendered in Portsmouth NH with uranium in cylinders marked "U235" among its cargo.

http://www.ww2pacific.com/u-234.html
The Uranium carried by U-234 was enough to make two atomic bombs, to blow up two American cities -- 1,235 pounds of 77 percent pure uranium oxide -- unusable by the destroyed Nazi hopes, it was destined for the Japanese atomic bomb program.
But, such speculation probably belongs more properly in the "Science Fiction" thread. It'd make a great short story..
vjk2
#47
Jan27-13, 12:49 PM
P: 74
I really recommend that everyone watch the 3rd episode of Oliver Stone's Untold History of the USA which deals with the subject.

Basically, the Japanese were sending out peace feelers prior to the bombing. The only issue that they wanted was to keep the emperor, who was a religious figure for them. Symbolic, in other words.

The motivation for dropping the bomb was intimidating the Soviets.

here's an interesting quote from Eisenhower

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/...ambitions.html

In [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….
russ_watters
#48
Jan27-13, 02:08 PM
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Oliver Stone is a filmmaker, not an historian, so I'd be wary of treating his movies as actual accurate history lessons - even ones purported to be documentaries.
NemoReally
#49
Jan27-13, 03:54 PM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
One can only speculate what went through the intelligence community when German submarine U234, bound for Japan, surrendered in Portsmouth NH with uranium in cylinders marked "U235" among its cargo. http://www.ww2pacific.com/u-234.html
A proper "U" boat, eh?

But, such speculation probably belongs more properly in the "Science Fiction" thread. It'd make a great short story..
An odd thought occurred to me ... I wonder if the Japanese would have used a bomb to attack an Allied base or city (tricky to get it there), a beach-head area-denial weapon (that would make Omaha Beach look like a walk-in-the-park) , or, given what happened on Okinawa and other places, used it as a last-stand suicide weapon - the ultimate Scorched Earth weapon, perhaps even taking out Tokyo themselves?
OmCheeto
#50
Jan27-13, 04:10 PM
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hmmm... Is the person who writes that blog some kind of book club of the month person?

Every single reference is to a book. (Ok, so I only went to #3. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me 3 times on a Sunday, but....)

I don't have time to read a book every time someone references a quote.

I do believe the entire world economy would come to a freakin' standstill if that were the case.

"Don't believe that he said that? Here! Read this book!"

Phhhttt!
NemoReally
#51
Jan27-13, 04:11 PM
P: 194
Quote Quote by vjk2 View Post
I really recommend that everyone watch the 3rd episode of Oliver Stone's Untold History of the USA which deals with the subject.

Basically, the Japanese were sending out peace feelers prior to the bombing. The only issue that they wanted was to keep the emperor, who was a religious figure for them. Symbolic, in other words.

The motivation for dropping the bomb was intimidating the Soviets.

here's an interesting quote from Eisenhower

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/...ambitions.html

In [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude….
How much involvement had Eisenhower in the war against Japan? How in tune was he with the events? What would the "minimum loss of face" have been and how long would Japan have negotiated for until they achieved it or gave up hope of doing so? What would they have done if the (pre-nuclear) deal was unacceptable to them? How did Eisenhower's views align with the thoughts of those involved in Theatre who had witnessed Iwo Jima, Saipan and Okinawa? Do you think the latter group would have, say, viewed peace feelers as genuine or an attempt to buy time to improve the defences? How well had previous negotiations with the Japanese gone?
OmCheeto
#52
Jan27-13, 04:14 PM
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ps. I thought the OP was answered appropriately shortly after the thread started.

ergo... hmmm... Ah ha!

note to self: unsubscribe from all solved threads, as quickly as humanly possible.
phinds
#53
Jan27-13, 04:21 PM
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Quote Quote by vjk2 View Post
I really recommend that everyone watch the 3rd episode of Oliver Stone's Untold History of the USA which deals with the subject.
You get your history from fictional movie account by a filmmaker who loves controversy? Really?

Basically, the Japanese were sending out peace feelers prior to the bombing. The only issue that they wanted was to keep the emperor, who was a religious figure for them. Symbolic, in other words.
HIGHLY speculative [EDIT: speculative that they were ready to surrender, not speculative that they wanted to protect the emperor]

The motivation for dropping the bomb was intimidating the Soviets.
Yeah, I think that was a part of the motivation. Maybe 3%.

here's an interesting quote from Eisenhower
Eisenhower wasn't fighting the war in Japan.

At the end of the day, hindsight is wonderful but at the time it looked completely as though it would have cost as much as 100,000 American lives and perhaps 1,000,000 Japanese lives if we had had to invade the home islands, so the bomb seemed like a good idea at the time.
vjk2
#54
Jan27-13, 04:50 PM
P: 74
So attack the messenger instead of actually looking at the message. That's all I hear so far.

A number of military leaders, from Douglass MacArthur to Dwight Eisenhower to Curtis LeMay stated that in their opinion it was unnecessary to drop the bomb. That's militarily. Japan was losing the war. That was obvious. Surrender was only a matter of time.

Secondly, why drop the bomb on a populated city? Why not drop it on a naval base or in an uninhabited region as a demonstration?

And why drop it twice?

Intimidation of the Soviets makes perfect sense.


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