Skip to comments.‘It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing’ --- Why dropping the A-Bombs was wrong
Posted on 08/10/2013 6:09:00 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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This is what I know.
My father was 22 years old in 1945, and a veteran of the then-very recent Battle of the Bulge. If not for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he would have ended up in the invasion of Japan, and would have likely been killed.
The Japanese were the aggressors and must shoulder the blame for the deaths of all those women and children; they truly reaped what they sowed.
Nanking, the Bataan death march, the Japanese torture of, and experimenting, on American POWs and others. I wish there were no collateral damages at anytime, but......I spent 18 months on Okinawa and did much site seeing. WOW I thank each and every military person involved with that battle. I say this with a clear conscience.
No, they were never intended for use in Germany. Germany’s surrender was already inevitable by April 1st and the successful crossing of the Rhine. They completely collapsed just two weeks later. Hiroshima was 5+ months later.
Trinity wasn’t conducted until July, 4 months after the crossing of the Rhine.
My wife is from the Philippines...Her mother and father had many stories of the cruelty by the average Japanese soldier...Her father hid in the mountains and sometimes had to boil grass for food....He made a batch of it when she was a little girl and she said it was horrible...Her mother told him that the war is over and quit scaring the kids...kinda funny. ;)
“As there will always be the blame America first crowd, aka the enemy within, this vomit is guaranteed to be regurgitated up every year.”
Again, I’m not quite sure what ‘blame America’ first has to do with it?
The question as to whether the Atomic bomb was necessary is not the same as whether the Atomic bomb was morally right or wrong.
I also don’t see how Eisenhower is less of an authority on the state of the war in August in 1945 than Truman. Eisenhower says that the war could have been won without it, then I side with Eisenhower.
I also don’t think that the US was morally wrong to drop the bomb - Japan declared war on the US, not the other way around. The US is entitled to use whatever means they see fit to win the war when it was American citizens who were attacked unprovoked at Pearl Harbour.
It took even more than that, the day Nagasaki was bombed, the Third Fleet was bombarding targets on Honshu, 5 days later 800 B-29s raided Japan, the Japs surrendered the next day.
The 'clear argument' is no such thing. Japan did not accept the Potsdam Declaration until August 10, after both the atomic bombings. Even then, the Japanese could not bring themselves to negotiate directly with the United States, attempting to mediate through the Soviets until their invasion of Manchukuo on August 9.
While it is quite true to state that Truman's decision to drop the bomb was influenced in part to avoid the Soviet Union's entry into the Pacific War 90 days after the defeat of Germany as promised by Stalin, to avoid a potential change to the political landscape of East Asia. it also true that the Japanese War Cabinet did not accept the Potsdam Declaration until expressly ordered to do so by Hirohito. Even then, the Kyūjō Incident, an attempted coup, reflected the willingness of certain radicals to continue fighting even after the atomic bombings of two cities and the Soviet invasion of Japanese-controlled territory.
That said, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targets of military significance even in the destruction of 1945 Japan, and Hirohito himself noted the power of atomic weaponry in his 'endure the unendurable' surrender message. Clearly the American nuclear decision played a significant role in Hirohito's decision.
To other facts: Operation Downfall, which consisted of the planned invasion first of southern Japan (Operation Olympic, 1945) and the invasion of the Kantō plain near Tokyo (Operation Coronet, 1946) had a casualty estimate of at least one million, with the numbers rising depending on the extent to which Japanese civilians resisted the invasion. It is also important to note that the Japanese Army was still quite formidable even as late as the summer of 1945, holding huge swaths of occupied China and Manchuria.
The idea that somehow the Japanese would have simply stopped fighting despite increasingly fanatical resistance to Allied power projected across the Pacific is not borne out by any serious scholarly work of which I'm aware.
It is more than defensible to hold the position that without Hirohito's order to accept the Potsdam Declaration, the Japanese would have continued to fight.
The best work on video that I've seen about this issue is Part 25 of "The World at War", entitled simply "The Bomb". Excellent documentary television which features interviews with some of the key contemporaries of the day.
Total Bullsh$t article!!!
It’s all in the book I mentioned. It was intended for Germany because the US thought the Germans had an active nuclear program. Even Japan had one as well. It’s not that the US had an active A-bomb at the time but the development was aimed at Germany first.
nothing like Monday night quarterbacking!
We didn't target Tokyo because 16 square miles of the heart of the city had already been incinerated by the most destructive bombing raid in history at that time.
Tokyo before and after firebombing raids
Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other cities had been spared bombing for the specific purpose of illustrating the before and after affect of the A-bomb.
Hiroshima was no worse than Dresden, or Hamburg.
The deliberate incineration of hundreds of thousands of women and children, whether in Germany OR Japan, has caused us to hesitate, when bold action is required, for the last 65 years, and THAT'S a problem.
Being “ready” to surrender and actually doing it are two different things. They were given an ultimatum and they chose not to surrender. They bet on the US to back down from the ultimatum, and they lost.
I disagree completely. The theory that the Japanese might have surrendered becomes meaningless in the face of what would have happened if they *hadn’t* surrendered.
An invasion force of 2,000,000 was needed to capture Japan, with insane loss of life of Americans and Japanese far in excess of the two bombs.
150,000246,000+ were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
125,000 was the (low-balled) estimate of the dead in the firebombing of Tokyo “Operation Meetinghouse”, far more with the other bombing campaigns against the city. Unlikely with an estimated 1,000,000 wounded.
The Soviet Union also had the intent to demand half of Japan as it had part of Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. But the atomic bombs convinced them to back off.
“It was intended for Germany”
It was never intended at Germany. Trinity wasn’t until July of that year. Until Trinity they had no clue that the bomb would actually work - they had tested and failed.
When one is attacked and being beaten to death then one has every right to use what ever means are at hand to end the conflict!
As the jury a few weeks ago said “Not Guilty!”.
It’s also defensible to say, as Eisenhower did, that their defeat was inevitable. the blockade of Japan was already having a mammoth toll.
The worst kind of Monday Morning quarterbacking.
Indeed. Allied victory was actually inevitable from December 8, 1941.
However, Japanese civilians of the day were also being trained to defend their homes with bamboo spears. Defeat may have been inevitable but the means for achieving that defeat had yet to be found.
So how would it have happened? A blockade of Japan, with ensuing mass starvation? Invasion, to end the war and return America’s citizen soldiers to their regular lives at huge human cost? Or a way to end the war, however cruel it appeared, through projection of irrefutably awesome power?
That was Truman’s choice.
I don't see how he's more of an authority than Truman. They had the same info, except as president, Truman got it from more non-military sources, and as a professional pol, probably had a better handle on the cultural aspects of why surrender was not an option for the Japanese. In fact the personal experiences of over a million American troops (as well as Allied troops and guerrilla formations) fighting their never-say-die Japanese counterparts tended to contradict Eisenhower's castles-in-the-air speculation. Ultimately, Eisenhower was talking out of his butt, the same orifice that generated the silly military-industrial complex speech with which liberals (who are otherwise disdainful of him) have been beating us over the head for 60+ years.
You’re looking too far into the future of the development of the bomb. I wrote that it was >intended< for Germany at the beginning of the research to build a bomb. I suggest you read the book. They knew the fission bomb would work, it was the fusion bomb (plutonium) that was questionable since plutonium doesn’t exist in the atomic scale. Again, read the book.
If it was intended for use on Germany, it would have been dismantled after Victory in Europe. It was not. By the time research had progressed to the point where it was a viable weapon - Germany had been defeated.
The Manhattan Project began in 1942. They had no idea how long it would take them to develop the bomb, or how long the war would last. Their fear was the the Nazis would develop it first, and since the Pacific Theater was second in priority to the ETO in everything, I don't see how you've reached that certainty. Particularly in light of Germany's development of the V2 and ME-262 - had Germany still been fighting, their nazi-a$$es would have been lit up.
“Deliberately targeting civilians is murder, and is never morally licit, even in pursuit of a good thing such as ending a war.”
World War II was all about deliberately targeting civilians, and the US did not start it. For that matter the targeting of civilians started with the Spanish Civil War - see Guernica. And that wasn’t the US, either.
The morality expressed in “don’t target civilians” went out the window years before August 1945.
So the notion that other than the “bang for the buck”, what the US did by dropping the atomic bombs was something new, unprecedented, or in departure from all of the things that had gone on before, all of which were started by the Germans and the Japanese, is not based on law or logic.
"...as well as Japan."
The initial claim did not state this. Merely that it was ‘intended for use on Germany’.
I would go so far as to argue that it was never intended for use on Germany. FDR argued that the Germans may develop one, so it was important that the Americans get there first. Why? So that America had a nuclear deterrent against the threat of a German nuclear weapon. It’s all right there...
“Particularly in light of Germany’s development of the V2 and ME-262 - had Germany still been fighting, their nazi-a$$es would have been lit up.”
I just don’t see it, sorry. America had a solid idea as to how long the war would last after the success of Overlord. Bradley and the American R+D and supply chain was set up to use what they got at Overlord and stay with it to the end of the war.
Again, the cutoff for the effectiveness of a nuclear weapon in Europe was Overlord. If it wasn’t ready by then - the war would be over before it had a chance to come to bear.
Sure - the R+D would continue at that point of the war as a hedge, but at least in a logistics and operation sense, America believed that Overlord would be decisive at ending the war in their favor.
Development of the bomb in ‘45 makes perfect sense to me given Truman’s understanding of the war. He believed and invasion would be necessary after the 3 month battle of Okinawa and the difficulty the American forces had in taking the Island. If Okinawa was difficult, than Japan would be even harder. It all fits together. Okinawa didn’t end until June - Trinity was in July and the atomic bombing of Japan a month later.
I think I have a perspective that many people don’t have as to reality. I was in line at a replacement depot, about seventh of a long one, on Leyte, to get our field gear and assignment to one of the divisions being prepared for the invasion of Japan. We had heard about the atomic bombs but no one I knew believed the war would end without the invasion of Japan. There were still minor cleanup skirmishes on some of the islands. When a Lt. came out and told us to go back to our tent there was a big feeling of relief. As much as I can remember no one doubted that it was the bombs that ended the fighting. People aren’t told that practically every major city in Japan was geared to provide war materials. I believe that the Japs in control of their wars and materials might have been planning on a very costly invasion of USA lives in order to extract a very favorable cease fire. To say wait a bit longer and be patient when USA troops were still being in mop ups just doesn’t get to the reality of men dying. I lost my only brother in the fighting on Okinawa. I wish we would have had the bombs ready then, what a difference a few months can make in a war.
My father came home alive because of Harry Truman's brave and terrible decision.
My dad was stationed in Japan in the 1950s and I grew up in Sagamihara and Yokohama, returning stateside at age 13 in 1961.
Our maid, Masako, at age eight or nine, was compelled to work in an armaments factory in 1945. When most of the plant was destroyed in a fire bomb raid, the machinery was moved into caves dug into the soft sandstone bluffs near the seashore.
As a little kid, I played with Japanese kids in those caves. We saw no irony in this, a little over a decade after the war.
What's "clear" was that the Japs were NOT prepared to surrender without getting the A-Bomb "memo"....The alternative was 100-200k American dying by taking the island.
War's a b*tch. America didn't start it.
OTOH, America helped rebuild Japan from the ground up and protected them from being a Communist slave-state.
It is called the bubonic plague. They had weaponized it and planned to release it in the fall of 1948.
How do I know this?
Because the Japanese records say so.
Any one remember what happened the last time there was a pandemic following a war? Anywhere from 30-50 million dead.
Just marinate your brain in that for a while.
But Germany was going to be a cake-walk? Your reasoning seems to be based very much after-the-fact.
More americans feel guilty and bbbad about the atomic bombing of japan than japanese feeling bad about being bombed....
The bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki has been used as a tool of “white guilt” for a long time, but in japan they moved on over 50 years ago....
Not to mention the murder of POWs, the rape of Nanking, and numerous other atrocities committed by the Japanese forces wherever they prevailed. Not a tear will I shed for them.
Everyone gets their panties in a wad whenever “nuclear weapons” are mentioned.
1) Dead = dead, no matter the weapon.
2) Most deaths & injuries in from a nuclear weapon are from blast & heat, not radiation
We killed MORE “innocent civilians” in one night of firebombing Tokyo than died in the immediate aftermath of BOTH atom bombs.
“The next month, 334 B-29s took off to raid on the night of 910 March (”Operation Meetinghouse”), with 279 of them dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Fourteen B-29s were lost. Approximately 16 square miles (41 km2) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the resulting firestorm, more immediate deaths than either of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US Strategic Bombing Survey later estimated that nearly 88,000 people died in this one raid, 41,000 were injured, and over a million residents lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated a higher toll: 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department established a figure of 124,711 casualties including both killed and wounded and 286,358 buildings and homes destroyed. Richard Rhodes, historian, put deaths at over 100,000, injuries at a million and homeless residents at a million. These casualty and damage figures could be low; Mark Selden wrote in Japan Focus:”
They started the war, we finished it....end of story.
in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped,
1) We used to hear that all the time by the revisionists, starting in 1945. "The submarines had sunk all their merchant fleet, they were starving" ad nauseum. In the meantine, 1,000 allied prisoners of war were dying each day in Jap prison camps. (When a group of us were together in school, and someone brought up that Bad Americans B/S, I'd tell them to pretend that the rest of us had sons and husbands in those prisons, so please tell us why they should die, because we didn't want to look bad. Deer in headlights.)
2)How many Allied soldiers and civilians would have been killed while we waited? Japan had over 2 million men under arms in China and Burma and they weren't using blanks.
3) When people in those nations who suffered under Jap rule were asked if we should have dropped the bomb, many replied in the sense of "Why did you drop only two?"
4) Some American diplomat was talking with a Jap counterpart after the war and the Jap said they surrendered because they didn't want to be hit with a third bomb. When told we used the only two we had, he replied "If we had known you had only two . . ." and then stopped, but the meaning was clear.
5) Can't remember which book, but it reprinted a pep talk by a Jap general to his troops. It went along the lines of "Yes, things look really bad, but if we redouble our effort and prove out willingness to die for the emperor, we can still win." He gave that speech AFTER the second bomb was dropped.
even if Russia had not entered the war
What kind of crap is that? Russia's intervention did not cause them to surrender earlier, it was the A-Bombs. Russia told us they would attack in August of '45 and they would have taken most of Northern Japan before we could have gotten there - and they would have been divided like Korea was.
I went to Mira Costa college in Oceanside, CA, near Camp Pendleton. The night classes I went to had a majority of retired Marines. Our Paki physics teacher told us America dropped the bomb was racism. Many in the class hung their heads. WTF??? I told the Paki that half the Marines in this class wouldn't be here today if we hadn't have dropped the bomb. A few of the head hangers had an epiphany then. I also told him that Col. Tibbets had mentioned his job was a administrative nightmare in the early days as he had to plan for a bomb drop on Germany as well as Japan. Gremany had the good sense to cave in after Hitler committed suicide and that was the only reason they were spared. The interesting "IF" would be, what if Hirohito committed seppuku? Would the Japs have fought on?
All these "IFs" fall into the category my dad classified them: "If the queen had balls, she'd be king."
“Manhattan Project”, by RUSH
Imagine a time when it all began
In the dying days of a war
A weapon - that would settle the score
Whoever found it first
Would be sure to do their worst -
They always had before...
The big bang - took and shook the world
Shot down the rising sun
the end was begun - it would hit everyone
When the chain reaction was done
The big shots - try to hold it back
Fools try to wish it away
The hopeful depend on a world without end
Whatever the hopeless may say....
America did not expect Okinawa to be so difficult. You can read the contemporary opinions. It’s right there. Okinawa was a shock, and changed how the US saw the war. Again - it’s not difficult to understand.
Okinawa was difficult, US realizes that an invasion of Japan would be even more difficult. US steps up atomic bomb research.. Trinity comes a month later. Bombs developed for us on Japan and used.
What troops in Burma? Burma was finished in early May of 1945. Zipper was proposed for the recapture of Malaya. The Dutch East Indies were already liberated by then as well.
“Gremany had the good sense to cave in after Hitler committed suicide and that was the only reason they were spared.”
Defense of Germany was untenable once the Rhine was crossed. The Germans themselves knew it. Hitler did not commit suicide until the Battle of Berlin, and the Allies had occupied most of what became West Germany.
As for dropping the Atomic bomb to keep Russia out - that’s contrary to the opinion that dropping it was necessary to win the war, is it not?
The Philippines Sea back in June of 1944 was decisive. The Japanese could not keep their hold on all the territory without airpower combined with sea power. The Philippines sea sank their remaining carrier planes and Leyte Gulf sank their remaining surface fleet.
The only thing the Japanese could do is dig in as they did at Okinawa. That was it. You’re telling me that the entire home island is going to resist a blockade for years? I don’t see it.
My father was a motor pool sergeant on Leyte in the summer of 1945 after being having his draft number finally come up in late 1943 (he had been a worker at Newport News Shipbuilding before then for a few years). He told me once that he’d already been informed that he was going to be part of the invasion of Japan, he never said whether it was going to be Olympic (the invasion of Kyushu) or Coronet (the invasion of Honshu). He wasn’t going to be going ashore in the first wave, but he wasn’t going to be sitting back and working in a motor pool either.
God bless the Manhattan Project, Enola Gay, and Bockscar, because if it wasn’t for them, he might well not have come home in 1946 and I wouldn’t be here.
Yes you are correct about McNamara. He was our own worst enemy.
OTH. The changes in bombing strategy mostly had to do with the fact that almost all of Japan lived in matchstick houses. There were very few masonry/brick structures. LeMay rightly guessed that it wouldn’t take much to torch the place.
He was right.
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