Skip to comments.Dropping Atomic Bombs on Japan Was Imperative
Posted on 08/06/2014 8:24:20 AM PDT by Retain Mike
We now mark the 69th anniversary of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end WW II. The generations which made the decisions for World War II have passed away. The generation which faced the tragic violence required for carrying out those decisions is rapidly leaving us.
As this personal knowledge becomes ever rarer, we must increasingly listen without response to revisionist contra-factual analyses expounding about what a needless, tragic and profoundly immoral decision the United States had made. The arguments advanced display a pleasing, deliberate ignorance which burnishes this peculiar new morality. However, these views can be countered by presenting the history that the Greatest Generation, and their parents and grandparents lived into and through.
In support of dropping the atomic bombs, historians often cite the inevitability of horrifying casualties if troops had landed on the home islands. They extrapolate from 48,000 American and 230,000 Japanese losses on Okinawa to estimates of 500,000 American and millions of Japanese casualties for mainland invasions. However, these figures arise from studies preceding the unfolding recognition by planning staffs of the American experiences on Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Even these estimates are over seven times the dead and wounded suffered by Americans during The Battle of the Bulge; casualties that shocked the American public.
However, such estimates could have greatly understated casualties. Kyushu and Honshu at over 100,000 rugged square miles mathematically enable at least 500 vast redoubts; complex fortifications comparable to that General Ushijima constructed to inflict most losses on Okinawa. This rapid increase in killing efficiency extended to planning stubborn defense of major cities just as the Germans carried out in Berlin. The feeble response to B-29 bombing missions caused U.S. planners to vastly underestimate the thousands of kamikaze airplanes with aviation fuel concealed for invasion. The American island hopping strategy had ended, because the Japanese had determined the few regions within their mountainous country that could accommodate the huge armies and air forces needed to subdue the main islands. Harry Truman contemplated increasingly dire estimates causing him to reflect on the possibility of an Okinawa from one end of Japan to the other.
The Japanese War Faction maintained the standard of 20 million Japanese deaths for planning final mainland battles; battles intended to inflict millions of casualties, and to convince America to abandon the Potsdam Declaration. They had redeployed veteran Kwantung divisions from China, mobilized home defense armies, and distributed suicide bombs and bamboo spears to civilians transformed into soldiers.
Americans also faced biological warfare. Occupation searchers uncovered large stockpiles of viruses, spirochetes, and fungus spores throughout rural Japan. These biological pathogens had already been tested on Chinese civilians. For the Japanese one delivery system directed citizen soldiers to infect themselves and stay behind the advancing troops.
The Greatest Generation and their parents would have been enraged to discover a cabal had ignored the nuclear option for ending the war simply to indulge some incestuous moral orthodoxy. If there was any alternative, Harry Truman, Henry Stimson, and George Marshall were not about to procure the deaths of countless Americans in protracted ground campaigns following amphibious assaults matching the D-Day landings.
Revisionists claim Japan was seeking surrender, but history reveals Japanese negotiation initiatives proved too vacuous to make dropping the bombs unnecessary. These supposed negotiations cite proposals Foreign Minister Togo directed Ambassador Sato to offer to Molotov. In those proposals, Japan intended bribing the Russians into neutrality with conquered Chinese territory. The Soviets would then mediate settlement terms preserving Imperial visions of peace with honor. The first June 29 contacts ignored attributes of surrender with proposals the Russians considered too vague to answer. The August 2 proposals accepted the Potsdam Declaration as only one basis for further study.
When Ambassador Sato finally saw Molotov on August 8, two days after Hiroshima, he received a war declaration instead of answers to his latest proposals. U.S. cryptologists reading Magic confirmed Togos Russian contacts were ineffectual. American intelligence also knew those involving Allen Dulles in Switzerland lacked any Japanese Cabinet knowledge or interest.
The pattern of Japanese contacts demonstrated an unwillingness to accept any responsibility for understanding Western expectations for negotiation strategies. The fact America had destroyed its navy, massacred its island garrisons, and bombed its cities into cinders should have prompted Japanese proposals embracing a Western style of clarity.
Instead the Japanese Privy Council debated the Final Battles arguments into utter physical and mental exhaustion for eleven hours following the Nagasaki bomb on August 9. For the final meeting, Hirohito reluctantly invited Baron Hiranuma, who had always fiercely disapproved of the war strategy. He reproved Foreign Minister Togo for never making concrete proposals to the Russians and Minister Anami for accepting limitless nuclear warfare deaths without any opportunity to retaliate. Hiranuma also maintained the Emperors spiritual essence, as the foundation of Japans future, endured independent of any government imposed by surrender. The ministers made no answer to his arguments, but remained unyielding.
At impasse Hirohito, the god-king, spoke the Voice of the Crane in the sweltering, underground bunker. He would bear the unbearable, conclude the war, and transform the nation. Only then did Japan contact Swiss and Swedish foreign offices to commence negotiations with allied belligerents.
Here was illuminated the critical role Kokutai played in surrender. Any prominent Japanese lived within an intimate spiritual three dimensional fabric of Emperor, citizen, land, ancestral spirits, government, and Shinto religion. Emperor Hirohito foresaw the probability of defeat by January 1944 and appointed a Peace Faction. However, he and his advisors conducted political kabuki through twenty months of continuous defeats, fire bombings of over 60 cities, and 1.3 million additional Japanese deaths. The atomic bombs removed the Final Battles argument allowing the War Faction to relent, allowing Hirohito to assume his unprecedented roll, and requiring no one to lose face. Their cabal remained within the fabric of Japanese from all eras who had sacrificed for Emperor and Empire. In their first meeting, when MacArthur praised Hirohito for ending the war, the Emperor replied others also deserved praise. Yet the Peace Faction could not prevail until the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so dramatized Japans situation that Hirohito could intervene and elevate it into dominance at that final meeting.
Another point says the bombs accomplished little. Supposedly Roosevelts decree of unconditional surrender was compromised away by allowing Japan to keep their Emperor. However by accepting the Potsdam Declaration, Japan abandoned the militarism that had committed the country to Asian conquest. The Emperors and the governments authority became subject to the Supreme Allied Commander. Their authority was later subject to the Japanese peoples free expression for determining a post war government that eradicated multi-millennial martial and imperial characteristics.
The moral failure of a negotiated peace requiring anything less than total submission was unacceptable. Allowing a blockade to operate interminably, while deferring to the War Faction any decision about whether Japanese and allied prisoner deaths met their 20 million standards was intolerable. Allowing months of diplomatic dithering to accompany additional hundreds of thousands of civilian and military deaths throughout Asia was intolerable. An imperial, militarist Japan could not be allowed to intimidate future generations when they were on the cusp of producing nuclear weapons.
Allowing the premeditated ignorance of revisionists center stage as the institutional knowledge of the Greatest Generation and their parents and grandparents dies away must remain intolerable.
Hell to Pay, D. M. Giangreco
The Atomic Bomb and the End of WW II, The National Security Archive
Japanese Biomedical Experimentation During the WW II Era, Sheldon H. Harris, PhD
Japans Imperial Conspiracy, David Bergamni
Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring, Gordon Prange
The Secret Surrender, Allen Dulles
Japans Secret War, Robert K. Wilcox
Battle of Okinawa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa
Normandy landings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_Landings
The Battle of the Bulge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge
Japan geography: http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/geography/Indonesia-to-Mongolia/Japan.html https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html Okinawa redoubt was about 100 sq mi
Allied POWS Under the Japanese http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/camplists/rg331-box%201321-jap%20pow%20camps.htm Military prisoners were 34,000 in Japan, 70,000 outside Japan, and 112,000 civilians. There were already 142,000 Anglos and Pilipino victims of criminal killings.
Statistics of Japanese Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources* http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP3.HTM As a tactic of administering conquered lands, the Japanese had murdered 6 million Asians from 1937 to 1945.
There are many other stories I overheard and could relate, but one consistently repeated theme was how their unit or ship was scheduled for the Japan invasion. They always thanked God they didnt have to become fodder for that killing machine. Therefore I developed and now rework from suggestions I receive and from additional sources this narrative about dropping the atomic bombs. I also break it into four letters I send to papers.
The partial biography of the sources I used contains a lot of helpful insights and perspectives I didnt emphasize. The recently published book Hell to Pay by D. M. Giangreco is especially valuable. I was able to find confirmation of so many of my other sources in his book. About 30% of the book is bibliography, appendices, and notes.
I really don’t care what a bunch of pussies with the benefit of 70 years of hindsight think.
It was the right thing to do.
We need to drop a few more.
OR, you're from the Midwest. They DO say things differently.
If THAT's the case, I apologize.
One has to look at the Allied mindset after the horrific Battle of Okinawa to realize they saw the A-bomb as a way to avoid invading the Japanese home islands.
FAD, FUBO, and F all leftists for the anti-American crap they've been marinating impressionable young minds with for the last 50 years!!
I’ve heard liberals say that we should have staged a demonstration of the power of the atomic bomb at some uninhabited location. And had we done so, the Japanese would have been shocked and awed by the demonstration, and would have surrendered, without seeing Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombed.
Liberal comedian/commentator Jon Stewart stated that we should have dropped the first bomb offshore, then warned Japan that the next one would be dropped on them, if they didn’t surrender.
If I recall correctly, the Japanese didn’t surrender immediately after Hiroshima. They wanted to fight on. After Nagasaki, they started to re-think things.
But what about all the poor whales?
They only surrendered because the Emperor told them to.
And they almost got to the Emperor before he managed to go on the radio.
Bottom line we burned more with “conventional” firebombs that with fusion.
As it was there was a military faction that attempted to stop Hirohito from surrendering and continue the war. It was stopped the night of Hirohito's announcement.
Israel isn't fighting a "Japan" they're fighting a terrorist organization sanctioned and voted in by their people. If they want to launch rockets from civilian locations then bombs away! They need to reap what they sow. If Israel doesn't finish off Hamas now they're only delaying the inevitable. Go Israel!!!!!
You can’t get liberal feel-gooders to care that it might have cost a half million American lives or more. For them it’s all about the poor Japanese. What the idiots can’t fathom or won’t admit is that there would barely be a Japanese people now if we had fought a ground invasion instead. One that the Soviets would have probably joined in on.
If “to golf” is s a verb, “golfing” would be its present participle, so one can go golfing, just as one can go fishing, bowling, skydiving, etc.
The wife of a man my dad used to work for was a survivor of the Hiroshima bomb. She was a child when it was dropped but said that she is glad it was done. She had scars and such and various other health issues. She said she realized afterward that it was better that it was dropped than to invade Japan. Her parents talked about what would have happened had we invaded and she said it gave her nightmares for years.
There was a good show on The Smithsonian chanel the other night about the Manhattan Project, the delivery and dropping of the bombs on Japan and the end of the war.
It justified the drops as they spared the US and Allies along with the Japanese from many more casualties had the invasion of Japan been needed.
>In support of dropping the atomic bombs, historians often cite the inevitability of horrifying casualties if troops had landed on the home islands.<
Little is being said about all the POWs and European civilians in Japanese prisoner camps in Indonesia and Philippines who were targeted for execution if the Japanese Army had to leave to defend the homeland.
God Bless Paul Tibbets and the Enola Gay!!
My father was an officer in the Merchant Marine. When the bombs were dropped, he was preparing a ship for the invasion of the Japanese mainland. His orders were 1) run a ship packed with troops hard aground, 2) help troops disembark, 3) find his own way back to San Francisco to repeat steps 1 and 2. I asked if there would be anyway to re float the grounded ship after the troops were off and he said it would be nearly impossible the way there were going to place the ships. Very glad the bombs were dropped.
After the second A-bomb was dropped, the Emperor of Japan announced that Japan would surrender. On confirmation, the entire ship's company and Marines felt as if their death sentence had been commuted. They were positively delirious in their joy.
Japan didn't surrender AFTER the first bomb was dropped. It seems very clear to me that Japan had no intentions of surrendering BEFORE the first bomb was dropped.
How do revisionists address the fact that Japan's irresponsible stubbornness (to not surrender) was a direct contributor of the Nagasaki bomb?
You know that would be the subject of a great movie, in the vein of Valkyrie.
Furthermore, how could anyone claim that Japan was about to surrender after 200,000-900,000 Japanese lost their lives from firebombing raids conducted before the atomic bombs were dropped?
If we had had more bombs, that might have a worth a try. But we only had two, and we had to make them count. Thank God that two were enough.
In 1998 at a book signing in Fairfield, CT I was privileged to deliver a hand written letter from my dad to Gen. Tibbets, expressing his deep, deep gratitude for the important mission he carried out.
I've read that argument, and I actually agree with it. Would Japan have surrendered after seeing an uninhabited island nuked? Almost certainly not, but it would have given the USA the moral high ground, and perhaps set an example of how nations should behave.
I also understand the arguments against it. There were only a limited number of A-bombs. And a dud A-bomb would have done nothing but strengthen Japanese resolve. And lastly, 1945 was not an ideal time to be concerned about any moral high ground.
I was born in 1949, and I expect I wouldn't be here today without the A-bombs.
The "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" atomic bombs were fission bombs. Thermonuclear bombs (aka fusion bombs) didn't come until later.
Wonderful story! I’m so glad you were able to deliver the letter to General Tibbets. I’m sure he read it, and treasured it.
And thanks to your Father for his Service.
The only golf I have ever played is miniature golf, and I haven’t gone golfing at a miniature golf course since I was a teenager.
Incidentally, I have heard sports announcers use the term “golfing”—at baseball games, when describing a style of swinging the bat.
When Gen. Tibbets finished reading the (brief) letter, he looked up from the signing table and thanked me for the letter. The look in his eyes was so penetrating, it was almost as if he was trying to make out some connection with my father. Darn near spiritual it was.
Correction . . . My dad (1911-2003) . . .
My husband got me into golf. He tried to teach me. By the third hole he was screaming and I was crying. About five seconds AFTER THAT he got the teaching pro to instruct me. I've LOVED the game since then.
My husband had a handicap of about EIGHT, which is fabulous. When we lived in Saudi Arabia there was VERY LITTLE to do, so he played A LOT of golf...and got down to SCRATCH!! Wow.
The golf club over there in our little town gave out CRYSTAL decanters and bowls for prizes. I LOVED going to the awards dinners.
That was a long time ago. He's gone now and I give away those lovely pieces of crystal to very special friends for very special events. He would have thought that was a GOOD use of his crystal prizes.
Incidentally, I have heard sports announcers use the term golfingat baseball games, when describing a style of swinging the bat.
That tells me that those baseball announcers are NOT golfers. :o)
Indeed we did not even celebrate VE day. The Nazis had pretty much folded on our front a week earlier when Hitler killed himself but were active against the Russians. The Japanese awaited us then the bombs sent us home. Yes, we thanked God but also Truman who made the decision to save American lives.
My father was a motor machinist 3rd class on a yard minesweeper (YMS-389) that was heading from Okinawa to participate in the invasion of mainland Japan. He figured that he would have been killed if the atomic bomb was not dropped. For me and my generation, I’m glad it was.
Fixed it for somebody.
It’s true, they didn’t want to surrender after Hiroshima. Truman demanded an unconditional surrender and Hirihito came up with “conditions” so we said “FU” and dropped Little Boy on Nagasaki and told them the next one (we didn’t have a third one yet though) would be on Tokyo.
Hiromshima and Nagasaki were military cities in that the ‘civilians’ there were mostly working in munitions plants, etc. They were military targets for that reason.
We only had the two A-bombs; Fat Man and Little Boy. Both were totally different designs. They weren’t sure if one, both or neither of them would work.
The prototype for Fat Man (plutonium bomb) was detonated at Almogordo, NM on July 16, 1945.
It worked, so it was a pretty sure thing that Fat Man would work also.
Little Boy (uranium bomb) made it’s debut over Hiroshima; that design was never tested previously. Obviously, it worked just fine.
Japanese women training to defend Japan with bamboo spears.
At Saipan hundreds (maybe even a few thousand - no one knows the real number) of Japanese civilians committed suicide by throwing themselves from cliffs, rather than surrender to the Marines, because of the propaganda they had been fed. Had the U.S. invaded Japan the civilian deaths would have been astronomical.
Which one did they stick with before the hydrogen bomb? Or did they still make both plutonium and uranium bombs?
According to wikipedia, they made 32 Little Boys and 120 Fat Men before they were superceded by newer designs.
But why "imperative"? That implies that there was absolutely no other choice.
A starvation blockade and conventional bombing would have been options --followed by a demonstration of our wonder weapon and then perhaps a negotiated peace, or perhaps unconditional surrender.
I'm not saying that we should have done that -- politically it may have been an untenable position, and we could be blockading and bombing them still today -- but it was alternative, at least in theory.
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