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Was WWII an act of terroism

  1. Jun 18, 2007 #1
    lest we forget
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2007 #2

    Integral

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    One must neglect about 10 orders of magntude of history to make such a biased statement.
     
  4. Jun 18, 2007 #3
    What do you mean by that? ("An order of magnitude more civilians were killed at Hiroshima than 9/11." Which direction is that statement biased in? Which particular subset of history are you criticising the neglect of?)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  5. Jun 18, 2007 #4
    well, I think he was referring to the use of the phrase "terrorist attack". However, whether or not the atomic bombings were in fact "terrorist attacks" is a subjective discussion for another thread.

    However, I do in a way consider it a terrorist attack, since civilians were killed.
     
  6. Jun 18, 2007 #5

    rbj

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    and the purpose was to shock (by use of terrorizing and an appalling quantity of death and destruction) a population, nation, and government into recognition of some reality that said population, nation, and/or government was previously simply unable to fathom. (and no, they don't just "hate us because they hate our freedoms." at least the Japanese government was able to, after Nagasaki, to come to terms with the fact that "it's over." perhaps the Abomination could take a que from Hirohito.)

    it's not just that civilians were killed. civilians were targeted. the military value of Hiroshima was nothing. as was Dresden or Canterbury.
     
  7. Jun 19, 2007 #6

    Integral

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    In order to be even sort of on topic with my post I had to do a order of magnitude comparison,

    What history has been neglected OMG! :surprised. You may recall that there was a DECLARED war in progress. I would bet by making a very strong statement with the dropping of the atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that we SAVED Japanese civilian lives. That is in comparison to what would have occurred had we proceeded with Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese main land. The loss of lives and the damage to the Japanese infrastructure would been orders of magnitude higher had we proceeded with the invasion.

    If you want to call the use of atomic weapons on civilian population an act of terrorism, then what of the Battle of Britain? The bombing of Dresden, the Japanese invasion and conquest of Mongolia? By your standards most of WWII was an act of terrorism. The fact is that attacks on the civilian population had become standard by 1945.

    It is ludicrous to compare national acts of war to individual acts of terrorism, this shows that some people simply do not have a understanding of history and the interaction of nations for the last 500yrs.

    I see this type of comment as simply a cheap shot at the USA, throwing it into a math thread is simply unacceptable.

    my error was in replying to it rather then simply deleting it.
     
  8. Jun 19, 2007 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    And, let's not forget that the Japanese started the war by attacking us when there was no declared war. So the real act of terror, if you will, was the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    We warned Japan about our bomb but they chose to ignore the warning. Then they chose to bet that we only had one. Finally, Truman believed that many more people would die - Americans and Japanese - if we were forced to invade Japan.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  9. Jun 19, 2007 #8
    WW II was only a continuation of the great war that started 1914, with a truce from 1918 - 1939 and indeed attack on civilians was the norm, bombarding cities. it has been routine ever since the first Gotha bombers raided London in 1917.

    Apart from that, in hindsight, one could muse about what would have happened if those two bombs had not been dropped. Would the amount of casualties in the prolonged hostilities indeed have surpassed those of the two bombs? But most importantly, lacking the fear of H-bombs, would we now have generated the bulk of our energy from nuclear plants and have no wars about oil and global warming?
     
  10. Jun 19, 2007 #9
    I read in a communication book, "Looking In - Looking Out," an account about the Mokusatsu Mistake. This interpretation suggested that Japan knew it was going nowhere and was interested in the Potsdam Declaration, but was uncomfortable with responding to it too quickly for several reasons (such as ongoing negotiations with Russia). The term mokusatsu literally means "to kill with silence." Suzuki Kantaro is said to have chosen that word to mean "to withold comment." But unfortunately Radio Tokyo quickly translated the report and chose the meaning, "to ignore."

    Nagasaki and Hiroshima might not have fallen if this account is at all accurate.

    EDIT:Wow. Wiki has a brief mention of it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  11. Jun 19, 2007 #10
    I understand that the atomic bombing abruptly ended the war and if it weren't for the atomic bomb many more civilian lives would have been lost throughout the course of the war. However, regardless of whether it is in a time of war or not, a bombing targeted at civilians, atomic or otherwise, I would consider an act of terrorism.

    Was it a necessary act of terrorism in order to minimize loss of life? Possibly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  12. Jun 19, 2007 #11
    But would it be mostly loss of military personnel or civilians if Truman instead decided to invade Japan?
     
  13. Jun 19, 2007 #12
    There are easily a hundred definitions for the term "terrorism." I don't see the point of this. The 9-11 attacks and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were all instrumented under different pressures and goals. There is no reason to align the two under the same blanket definition.
     
  14. Jun 19, 2007 #13

    siddharth

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    On the other hand, Japan may have surrendered anyway. From a report by the US strategic bombing survey

    (http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/USSBS-PTO-Summary.html#teotab)

    Although, as Astronuc pointed out here, if the US had continued firestorming the cities, it may have resulted in a loss of more civilian lives.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  15. Jun 19, 2007 #14
    Yes, I agree. Right or wrong, nuking Japan was an attempt to end the war. I doubt the hijackers intended to end anything other than the lives of as many people as possible.
     
  16. Jun 19, 2007 #15

    Integral

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    I do not understand the confusion which some apparently have between acts of declared war between sovereign nations and and acts of a individual terrorist.

    What nation does a "terrorist" represent? This is what separates war between nations and acts of criminals. While a terrorist claims some political agenda s/he/it are not acting as a representative of a national government. They are individuals attempting to scare a population into compliance with what may be very fuzzy goals. In essence very little separates a terrorist from a criminal.

    I see a HUGE difference between acts of terrorism and a declared war. I have a hard time understanding why so many seem to ignore the difference.
     
  17. Jun 19, 2007 #16
    The difference is, Pearl Harbour was an attack against a military base rather than a civilian city.

    Even conventional air raids over cities, ostensibly, target factories being employed for military purposes. Hospitals and homes may be destroyed, but they are not the target (moreover, hitting a hospital with a conventional bomb implies that the bomb missed and accidentally failed to achieve its target objective, hence is avoided by even the aggressor). That is how dropping the atomic bombs differed from conventional warfare.

    It could be argued, pragmatically, that conventional air raids are ordered with the expectation of a particular degree of collateral damage, and that Hiroshima was merely one of the more extreme points along a continuous grey slippery slope. I think the truth is that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately intended by inflicting shock to draw a more rapid end to the war (i.e. inducing "terror" in the civilian population was a specific objective, not a side-effect of overwhelmingly disabling military capabilities a la Pearl Harbour).

    As for whether war had been declared, that's a pretty rich argument to make in favour of USA, so soon after its attack and invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan!

    Finally, there was the mention of forgetting "10 orders of magnitude of history to make such a biased statement". Looking at so much history, would it not be trivial for an unbiased mind to find a reasonable motive for the Sept. 11 attacks? (By reasonable, I mean at least better than the hypocritical and mistaken justification given for the more recent bloodshed).
     
  18. Jun 19, 2007 #17

    Integral

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    Read the title of the thread, do not take any of my comments out of context and apply them to the current disaster started by GWB. If you wish to start a thread about Iraq, do so. But please do not go off topic in this thread.
     
  19. Jun 19, 2007 #18

    Art

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    The Nuremberg Trials suggests there is not such a great difference in law and accountability between individual terrorist acts and those committed by governments during a declared war so I am curious as to where do you see a huge difference?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  20. Jun 19, 2007 #19

    russ_watters

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    It isn't confusion, Integral, it is a refusal to accept the concept that definitions in general are largely consistent and objective. People do this so they can apply certain words where-ever they want for emotional appeal. It is a conscious decision and a (fallacious) debate tactic.

    That said, the word "terrorism" was not in widespread use at the time, so the definition was not as clear as it is today -- but that, as you pointed out, just requires one to understand the history, which really isn't all that complicated.

    This is not a difficult issue. People just refuse to deal with it objectively for the purpose of finding an excuse to call the US terrorists.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  21. Jun 19, 2007 #20
    all wars are acts of terrorism
     
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