What the peaceniks forget to consider is that dropping the A-bombs on Japan not only saved the lives of American British and Russian service men but if we had not dropped the bombs, the japanese people and all of their culture would have ceased to exist. We would have literally had to destroy everthing and kill every man woman and child on mainland Japan to achieve victory.
If you want to sense a real felling for what an invasion of Japan would have been like, visit Okinawa and absorb the history of the last major ground battle of WWII.
Not one single thing, living or man-made was left standing on that island that was over 24 inches high.
Underground Naval Headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was where mothers handed their babies over to Japanese soldiers to "quiet" them with their bayonets so as not to expose their hiding places. Once the inevitable was realized, the officers went into rooms and pulled the pins on grenades to kill themselves. Most pock marks from grenade shrapnel on the walls are in the upper half of the rooms as the bodies piled up.
Peace Prayer Park at the South end of the island has steep cliffs where islanders, told to fear the blood-thirsty Americans, leaped to their deaths.
It was opened on June 23, 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. Set inside an expanse of green lawn, it consists of shoulder-high black granite slabs with the names of all 234,183 people who died in World War II fighting: 14,006 American troops, 82 other Allied personnel, 75,219 Japanese troops and 148,289 Okinawans (most of them citizens).
Himeyuri Peace Museum (near Itoman) memorialized 203 teenage nurse's aids who were killed during World War II. Many killed themselves after being lead to believe they would be raped and tortured by American troops. The memorial contain pictures of those who died.
Chibichiri Gama (southern Okinawa) is a 100-foot-deep limestone cave, where 87 people died included 47 children on April 2, 1945, after American soldiers approaching the cave and shot and killed two boys who charged them with bamboo spears. American soldiers pleaded with the civilians to come out and dropped leaflets in Japanese that said they wouldn't be harmed. The people didn't believe them. Japanese propaganda had led these people to believe that suicide was better than capture and torture by American devils.
The slaughter begin when an 18-year-old girl shouted, "Mommy, kill me! Don't let them rape me" and her mother obliged, triggering a mass killing in which parents slaughtered their children with knives, sickles, flaming oil from the oil lamps and then killed themselves.
The cave was opened to the public in the mid-1990s. There is a stairway that leads to passages where the 140 civilians hid. Most of the remains of the dead were taken away by relatives, but a few bones were left behind as a reminder of the tragedy. There are large bones near the mouth of the cave. The interiorwhich is said to contain the small bones of children is closed off to let their spirits rest in peace.
Most telling statistic from the Battle of Okinawa - there were less than 8,000 Japanese taken prisoner.
Other stats for comparison: The number of total casualties has been estimated at various times since the bombings with wide discrepancies. The Manhattan Engineer District's best available figures are:
TABLE A: Estimates of Casualties Hiroshima Nagasaki
Pre-raid population 255,000 195,000
Dead 66,000 39,000
Injured 69,000 25,000
Total Casualties 135,000 64,000