Skip to comments.Happy Anniversary, 'Little Boy' And 'Fat Man
Posted on 08/09/2014 1:11:01 AM PDT by right-wing agnostic
Today marks one of the United States most important but least celebrated anniversaries. It is remarkable not only for what happened on this date in 1945 but for what did not happen subsequently.
What did happen was that the Enola Gay, an American B-29 bomber from the intentionally obscure 509th Composite Group (a U.S. Army Air Force unit tasked with deploying nuclear weapons), dropped Little Boy, a uranium-based atomic bomb, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. That dramatic act hastened the end of World War II, which concluded within a week after the August 9 detonation of Fat Man, a plutonium-based bomb, over Nagasaki.
These are the only two nuclear weapons ever used in warfare.
Approximately 66,000 died in Hiroshima from the acute effects of the Little Boy bomb and about 35,000 more in Nagasaki from the Fat Man device. (The subsequent short-term death toll rose precipitously due to the effects of radiation and wounds.)
About a year after the war ended, the was it necessary? Monday-morning quarterbacks emerged and began to question the military necessity and morality of the use of nuclear weapons on Japanese cities. Since then, there have been periodic eruptions of revisionism, uninformed speculation and political correctness on this subject, perhaps the most offensive of which was the Smithsonian Institution s plan for an exhibition of the Enola Gay for the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. In a particularly repugnant exercise of political correctness, the exhibit was planned to emphasize the victimization of the Japanese, mentioning the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor only as the motivation for the vengeance sought by the United States. (The exhibit as originally conceived was eventually canceled.)
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Toyko was pretty much destroyed already by our firebombing, which killed more people than both atomic bombs. But the Japs kept fighting. The bombs were dropped on fairly undisturbed cities both for the shock effect on the Japs, and also to judge their power.
Imagine if we just had to continue the firebombing of all their cities, close their ports to starve them, and then invade them.
What amazes me is how good allies the Japanese and the Germans are now with us.
“the invasion of Japan would cost 1.7-4 million American casualties, including 400,000-800,000 fatalities”
“the half-million American death toll routinely bandied about is, to put it lightly, inflated. To put this ridiculous claim into perspective, consider the fact that for the estimate of a half-million American deaths to be accurate, the invasion of Japan would have had to cost more American lives than the total number of US combat fatalities in all theatres of World War II. The reality, as Stanford historian Barton Bernstein has documented, is that the actual worst-case government estimate for a full-scale US invasion of Japan was around forty-six thousand lives lost more than ten times less than the figure often set forth in American schoolbooks. This fact aside, the bomb-or-boys myth is completely punctured by the conclusion of the US government-sanctioned 1946 Strategic Bombing Survey, which after conducting interviews with US and Japanese military personnel found that Japan would have surrendered by the end of 1945 “even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
My Dad served in 5 major battles in the Pacific including the retaking of the ROCK. If not for the decision to drop the bombs I might not have had a dad.
My wife’s grandfather commanded a troop transport squadron and his flag ship was one of the first into Nagasaki. I came across photos of Nagasaki officials in his wardroom surrendering the city. They didn’t look too good.
The polar cap of the "Fat Man" weapon being sprayed with plastic spray paint in front of Assembly Building Number 2. (Photo from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-BT)
“The United States should be commended for picking the less-populous cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to drop the bombs on. And not more populous cities of Kokura and Tokyo”
Actually, Kokura was the primary target that day. From your other post
When a second mission was approved, Kokura was the primary target Nagasaki was the secondary target...Sweeney and his crew were under orders to only bomb visually. When they got to Kokura they found the haze and smoke obscuring the city as well as the large ammunition arsenal that was the reason for targeting the city.
Lew Rockwell is an idiot.
We now know from recently declassified military intelligence documents that Japan had been withholding their forces in preparation for a homeland invasion. Those Kamikaze pilots were their B team. They had been training and supplying their A team, waiting for our invasion. They had a larger Army than we did, and they were prepared to fight to the last man. We would have suffered greater than 1 million casualties.
The bomb was the right call.
I disagree with the numbers. Look at how many were killed on a tiny island - battle of Tarawa. Imagine Japan with millions of people and their fanatical death culture. 46,000 is way too small.
The Bloody Battle of Tarawa, 1943
Betio measuring less than 3 miles in length and 1/2 mile in width
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tarawa
U.S. Marine Corps:
USS Liscome Bay, sunk 23 November 1943
BTW Eddie Albert (actor) was at Tarawa. His wiki page.
On September 9, 1942, Albert enlisted in the United States Navy and was discharged in 1943 to accept an appointment as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for his actions during the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943, when, as the pilot of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, he rescued 47 Marines who were stranded offshore (and supervised the rescue of 30 others), while under heavy enemy machine-gun fire.
1 million - where did you get that number from?
From the military Operation Downfall (search for it)...not to mention a number generally stated throughout history.
Thank God for Fat Man and Little Boy.
well, given that we know that the total number of US casualties was just over 405,000 (http://www.spectacle.org/696/long.html) for ALL battles in ww2, those estimates seem very excessive.
aside from the numbers, the real question wasn’t bombs vs boys, but did the insistence on unconditional surrender prolong the war unnecessarily, with those terms changing after the bombs were dropped.