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Hiroshima: The Decision to Drop the Bomb
The History Channel ^ | May 6, 2004 | The History Channel

Posted on 05/06/2004 7:07:24 PM PDT by walford

"An investigation, based on newly released documents, into President Truman's controversial decision to drop the A-bomb. Concludes that the real reason the U.S. dropped the bomb was to intimidate the Soviet Union."

Several 'experts' explained that dropping the A-bombs on Japan were unnecessary [there were no dissenting points of view aired]. The announcer -- bearing an English accent -- explained that the reasons that Truman decided to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki were:

1. A raving desire for revenge on the part of the American people. 2. To use the opportunity to 'experiment' the new weapon on an expendable population. 3. To demonstrate to the USSR that America is not to be messed with. 4. The bombs were unnecessary, because the Japanese were about to surrender anyway.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Japan
KEYWORDS: abomb; hirohito; hiroshima; nagasaki; revisionism; rewritinghistory; scatology; tojo; truman; wwii; yalta
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I can certainly concede that there is some question as to whether the bomb decisively ended the war. There was no unconditional surrender as demanded. [We conceded the condition of letting them keep their emperor, for example.]

However, the MOTIVATIONS listed are an egregious slander being purported as Historical fact. It would have been passable as history if there were this caveat: - this was but one OPINION of many.

It is far more likely that Truman believed that the bombs would end the war. Indeed, it is likely that they shortened it considerably.

I recall Accuracy In Media founder Reed Irvine writing to the NY Times that he was amongst the troops awaiting orders to assault the main island. His future wife was in Nagasaki when the 2nd bomb was dropped. He went on to say that they both survived those A-bombs but it was unlikely that either of them would have survived the planned invasion. [Review battle for Okinawa.]

This History Channel slam piece is pure propaganda probably timed to inflame America hatred abroad and self-loathing at home. Why don't they do an expose on the past and present condition of women in the Islamic world?

Here's something to get them started: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1130760/posts http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/BehindVeil/btv3.html#CH3

1 posted on 05/06/2004 7:07:25 PM PDT by walford
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To: walford
the Japanese were not "about to surrender", not unconditionally. in fact there was a coup attempt even after the bombs were dropped - it only failed because one top general would not go along. right to the very end, the coup plotters did everything to try and stop the Emperor's radio message from being played.
2 posted on 05/06/2004 7:09:44 PM PDT by oceanview
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To: oceanview
Well, on the one hand, a lot of the estimates for casualties from an Invasion are wholly bogus (especially the "1 million American Dead").

On the other hand, it's highly doubtful that the Japanese would have unconditionally surrendered in August without the bombs, and because the United States had finally COMPLETELY destroyed the ferry, train, and coastal steamer network of Japan with bombs and mines, it's an absolute certainty that several MILLION Japanese would have died over the winter of 45/46 from starvation. A lot more than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
3 posted on 05/06/2004 7:14:16 PM PDT by John H K
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To: walford
a great film on the subject


4 posted on 05/06/2004 7:15:54 PM PDT by oceanview
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To: walford
What is often overlooked/ognored in any discussion of the decision to drop the A boms, is that the two bombing missions on Hamburg and Dresden..the thousand plane raids...killed more people in each city than the Japanese cities combined...

FYI, a year or so agothere wsa new biography of Paul Tibetts."THe Man Who Won the War"..an excellent book, and a MUST read for anyone interested int he topic..

5 posted on 05/06/2004 7:17:06 PM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: walford
Since my father entered the US Navy in 1946, I have no doubt that I and many others are alive today because the bomb was dropped. Taking the Japanese mainland would have cost many US lives. Thanks Harry!
6 posted on 05/06/2004 7:23:49 PM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: oceanview
That looks like Dr. Smith from Lost in Space?
7 posted on 05/06/2004 7:26:39 PM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: All
I hate these stupid revisionist historians who think we only used the bomb to impress Stalin. It has become the popular excuse since they can no longer say it was totally unnecessary.

The Manhattan Project & the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs was the subject of my senior thesis. During the entire time, I only found substantial quotes by one person who brought up the Soviet Union when discussing the atomic bomb. One of Truman's advisers thought its use would make the Soviets "easier to manage" after the war. Of course thinking up stuff like this is the job of people in the War Department (now DoD) so it isn't a surprise something thought it up. Truman however was focused on one thing and that was to end WWII as soon as possible and save as many American and Allied lives.

8 posted on 05/06/2004 7:26:54 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
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To: Rockitz
I'm 49. My dad went in about 1946 or 47 too.

9 posted on 05/06/2004 7:27:10 PM PDT by George from New England
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To: walford
Great topic. For whatever reason these “experts” give, the fact of the matter is the Nips surrendered after we dropped the bomb.
10 posted on 05/06/2004 7:29:04 PM PDT by dix (Remember the Alamo, and God bless Texas)
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To: walford
4. The bombs were unnecessary, because the Japanese were about to surrender anyway.

yeah, that's why they ran up the white flag after the first one was dropped.

Wait a second...
11 posted on 05/06/2004 7:29:38 PM PDT by VOA
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To: oceanview
"...one top general would not go along. right to the very end, the coup plotters did everything to try and stop the Emperor's radio message from being played..."

Yes, they touched on that point in the piece, but did not put two and two together as you did.

I just registered on the History Channel's discussion board and posted the subject there.
http://boards.historychannel.com/thread.jsp?forum=101&thread=300012944
12 posted on 05/06/2004 7:29:54 PM PDT by walford (http://utopia-unmasked.us)
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To: COEXERJ145
I hate these stupid revisionist historians who think we only used the bomb to impress Stalin.

It's hard to get tenure by dealing in a pedestrian old commodity: the truth.
Well, that's the way a lot of historians seem to think these days.
One reason they probably hated Stephen Ambrose so much...he just told the
documented story.
(ok, he did cheat a bit on that one book...)
13 posted on 05/06/2004 7:32:49 PM PDT by VOA
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To: walford
Russia was probably a factor, but if the Japanese were just about to surrender, they would have done it after the first bomb.
14 posted on 05/06/2004 7:34:17 PM PDT by what's up
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To: walford
I suspect that putting the fear of God into Stalin was ONE of HST's motives. I have heard it said before, many years ago, well before historical revisionism became rampant. And why not? Stalin was gobbling up Eastern Europe and there was a serious threat that he might move into France and Italy, which had large Communist movements eager to welcome him. The U.S. was not eager to move major forces back from the Pacific to guard against that.

But it was hardly the main motive.
15 posted on 05/06/2004 7:35:19 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
A decisive victory always trumps a negotiated peace. It also sends a chilling message to others.
16 posted on 05/06/2004 7:41:08 PM PDT by umgud (speaking strictly as an infidel,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,)
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To: walford
Truman's reasons were complex and certain;y he preferred to have Japan surrender under favorable term to the Us rather than have to deal with the Soviets.

However, despite devastating bombing of Japan's cities and the nearly total strangulation of her imported supplies, neither the Emperor or his government were willing to surrender. They were fully prepared for a suicidal attack on invading allied forces with whatever they could put together. Though they could not have more than slowed an allied invasion in the fall of 1945, they would have continued a guerrilla war against occupying forces for years. Allied POW's also would have been automatically killed once the invasion started.

What Truman hoped to accomplish was a knockout punch that would move the idea of surrender forward. The dropping of the second bomb was done simply because it was ready and the Japanese government had nor responded in time. The idea of using it as a "test" is absurd--the device had already been tested on New Mexico in July 1945. The Hiroshima bomb was the untested one.

So much for revisionist history.

17 posted on 05/06/2004 7:42:18 PM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: VOA
Think about it, the historians are the ones that came out publicly against the Clinton Impeachment. "Historians" is becoming a moniker for leftist idiots.
18 posted on 05/06/2004 7:43:34 PM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: VOA
According to the History Channel special about the planned invasion of the home islands, the US has not ordered any new Purple Hearts since 1945. We are still using what the war planners ordered in preparation for the invasion of Japan. That is plain scary...
19 posted on 05/06/2004 7:46:19 PM PDT by Right Angler
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To: walford
Here is some food for thought. It is estimated that 89% of allied prisoners of war that were held captive by Germany were released and returned home after the war. It is also estimated that 91% of allied prisoners of war held captive by the Japanese never returned home. This evident culture caste of the Japanese mindset versus the German mindset as to treatment of war prisoners tells a stark story about Japanese hatred of allied forces. Dropping the Atomic bomb on Japan was the right decision and saved many allied soldiers lives. I might ask the current American population to take heed of these facts. History will repeat itself. At least in WWII we had FDR & HST, Democrats who believed in defending America and minimizing American military deaths and injuries. The current Democrat Party with John Kerry at its head, has no such policy or backbone as witnessed by their current, daily defeatist actions! Our Arab Muslim terrorist enemies/haters are just waiting in the wings for the "make nice" morons to gain power in the USA. America needs a wake-up call, or many Americans will pay a price far beyond what they imagine, loss of life and, more important loss of liberty and freedom. It's your choice, America!
20 posted on 05/06/2004 7:47:35 PM PDT by JLAGRAYFOX
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To: walford
This is History Channel revisionism. The casualties that would have been incured to take the home islands of the Empire would have made Iwo Jima and Okinawa seem trivial.

Even after the firebombing of Tokyo which killed over 80,000 people the Japanese military would not surrender.

In fact they resisted surrender even after two atomic strikes. Here is a good article from a surprising author on the subject.

21 posted on 05/06/2004 7:48:43 PM PDT by PogySailor (Proud member of the RAM)
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To: Right Angler
According to the History Channel special about the planned invasion of the home islands, the US has not ordered any new Purple Hearts since 1945. We are still using what the war planners ordered in preparation for the invasion of Japan. That is plain scary...

Actually, we just recently ordered new ones. The show is a few years out of date. However, the Purple Hearts prepared for the invasion of Japan lasted us through Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and every other small conflict in between.

22 posted on 05/06/2004 7:49:07 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
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To: vetvetdoug
Think about it, the historians are the ones that came out publicly against the Clinton Impeachment. "Historians" is becoming a moniker for leftist idiots.

Not this historian.

23 posted on 05/06/2004 7:49:32 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
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To: walford
My grandfather was a Pacific War Veteran (1942-'45).
In late July, 1945, as MacArthur was planning Olympic & Coronet (the planned land invasion of the Japanese Isles), he related that everyone in his squadron (5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Pursuit Squadron) just assumed that they would all soon be dead in that attempt. They were projecting 100%--note that, please: 100%!--aircrew casualties by D+30 in the briefings they where being given. The Atomic bombs--Hiroshima & Nagasaki--saved his, and hundreds of thousands of American lives--and millions of Japanese casualties. So he maintained to his dying day--and I believe him.
I don't really care what the "motivations" where for doing it (though I doubt the "History" channel is telling the unrefined truth)--Harry was right, and I'm glad we dropped them.
EOM
24 posted on 05/06/2004 7:51:20 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: walford
Yeah my Dad was on his way to some sort of staging area when the little darlings surrendered. The survival rate among TBF flyers and crew was not too high.
25 posted on 05/06/2004 7:52:32 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (Further, the statement assumed)
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To: vetvetdoug
Think about it, the historians are the ones that came out publicly against the Clinton Impeachment.

What's scary is that it's not just history professors thus affected.
I remember John McLauglin interviewing a molecular biology prof (Oxford or Cambridge)
who did a lot of the work on the Thomas Jefferson fatherhood of slave-children
questions.
McLaughlin just about had to twist the guy's arm to admit the science didn't PROVE
Th. Jefferson did the deed...it just failed to exclude him from the potential pool of fathers.

But this same molecular biologist was admanant that Thomas Jefferson had most
certainly had fathered the children "because of the science and the history".
In-freakin'-credible.
26 posted on 05/06/2004 7:53:09 PM PDT by VOA
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To: vetvetdoug
Think about it, the historians are the ones that came out publicly against the Clinton Impeachment.

What's scary is that it's not just history professors thus affected.
I remember John McLauglin interviewing a molecular biology prof (Oxford or Cambridge)
who did a lot of the work on the Thomas Jefferson fatherhood of slave-children
questions.
McLaughlin just about had to twist the guy's arm to admit the science didn't PROVE
Th. Jefferson did the deed...it just failed to exclude him from the potential pool of fathers.

But this same molecular biologist was admanant that Thomas Jefferson had most
certainly had fathered the children "because of the science and the history".
In-freakin'-credible.
27 posted on 05/06/2004 7:53:09 PM PDT by VOA
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To: walford
Given:

1. The Japanese habit of fighting to the last man.

2. The horrendous casualties of the island campaigns.

3. The then-new horror of men who would blow themselves up to kill their enemies (kamikazis).

4. The (righteous) resentment of the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.

The use of the atomic bomb was inevitable. If there had been a more powerful weapon it would have been used.

I think Truman made the right decision.

28 posted on 05/06/2004 7:54:00 PM PDT by LibKill (Yep, we are cowboys. WYATT EARP cowboys.)
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To: walford
Speaking as someone whose father was sitting in the Philippines in August 1945, and who had already been told he was going to be part of either Operation Coronet or Operation Olympic...I don't care why they dropped them. I'm just damn glad they did, because without them, I doubt I'd be here.

}:-)4
29 posted on 05/06/2004 7:57:54 PM PDT by Moose4 (Those who serve--thank you. May you find us worthy of the sacrifices you make.)
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To: A Jovial Cad
I read an article that stated there was a plan to use Abombs to blow breeches in the Japanese defenses so that our troops could break out of the beachheads.

How many US troops would have succombed to radiation poisoning had we used the Bombs that way?
30 posted on 05/06/2004 8:01:40 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: The Great RJ; All
The idea of using it as a "test" is absurd--

The "test" some people wanted, mostly scientists at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, was to explode the bomb off the coast of Japan in order to demonstrate the power of the bomb without killing people. Since we only had enough Uranium-235 for one bomb (Little Boy) and enough Plutonium for three "Fat Man" style bombs (although Hanford was producing enough were by late Sept. we could have 3 or 4 bombs per month) it was decided not to offer a demonstration.

The theory behind the Uranium gun weapon (Little Boy) was so simple the scientists knew it would work without testing. They had to test the plutonium bomb in order to make sure it worked. This left the U.S. with enough plutonium for more bombs. One was Fat Man which detonated over Nagasaki with a yield of 20-22 kilotons. Col. Tibbets had sent several B-29's back to the U.S. after Nagasaki in order to pick up the next bomb but Gen. Groves halted the shipment to see if the Japanese would surrender.

the device had already been tested on New Mexico in July 1945.

And I took the tour of Trinity just last month. For a historian who has focused on atomic history, it was a blast. No pun intended. LOL

31 posted on 05/06/2004 8:02:34 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
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To: dix
For whatever reason these “experts” give, the fact of the matter is the Nips surrendered after we dropped the bomb.

Actually, they didn't.

The Japenese refused to surrender until we dropped TWO bombs AND bluffed them into believing that we had the capacity to keep dropping them.

32 posted on 05/06/2004 8:05:55 PM PDT by kennedy
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To: walford
I would suggest that you read Truman's AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

He discuses his decision at length. Truman understood his options and had he wanted to make a statement without destroying a Japanese city he might have considered Oppenheimer's suggestion that an uninhabited Pacific island be used to "scare" the world!!

The manner in which the targets were selected demonstrated the humane manner in which this decision was reached. For Example, Kyoto was not on the target list because it was a religious site which might infuriate the Japenese. Hiroshima had not received much bomb damage, (while more people were burned to death in the Tokyo firebomb raids carried out by LeMay's B-29s) and it was the home to a homeland defense garrison. This argument goes on and on and hasn't changed much in 60 years. I enjoy the History channel, (BA History!!) but I've found some of the shows to be sloppily produced. When this happens, I just click over to another show!

33 posted on 05/06/2004 8:08:00 PM PDT by Young Werther
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To: dix
If Pearl Harbor had not happened the bomb on Hiroshima would not have happened.
34 posted on 05/06/2004 8:09:26 PM PDT by southland
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To: John H K
it's an absolute certainty that several MILLION Japanese would have died over the winter of 45/46 from starvation. A lot more than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But that would have been ok because they would have died naturally and not killed by the evil atomic bombs. </lefty-peacenik mode>

35 posted on 05/06/2004 8:14:11 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: George from New England
I'm 49. My dad went in about 1946 or 47 too.

Same here. I'm also 49 and my Dad went in around 1946 and flew numerous bombing missions out of England.

36 posted on 05/06/2004 8:14:35 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: walford
Bump for later.
37 posted on 05/06/2004 8:16:08 PM PDT by Springman
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To: walford
"dropping the A-bombs on Japan were unnecessary"

Someone forgot to tell Mac Author, in 45 he was planing the invasion of Japan and not looking forward to the lose of American life it would entailed.

38 posted on 05/06/2004 8:16:33 PM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: Young Werther
I enjoy the History channel, (BA History!!) but I've found some of the shows to be sloppily produced.

Same here. However, I enjoy finding all the mistakes I can. Most are minor, but some stand out screaming "HERE I AM!"

The best show on the History Channel is "Mail Call"! As a note, Kyoto was saved by Sec. of War Stimson who felt because it "was the ancient capital of Japan, a historical city, and one that was of great religious significance to the Japanese." Incidentally, he had also spent his honeymoon in Kyoto many years earlier. However, by taking Kyoto off the target list, (something that ticked off Gen. Groves and the committee picking targets because they felt Kyoto had the best topography that would not less the effects of the blast) the city became a target for LeMay and his B-29 firebomb raids. So in order to protect it, they "officially" kept it on the list of atomic targets but never planned to actually bomb it. Only the five cities on the targeting list were off limits to LeMay, Hiroshima, Yokohama, the Kokura Arsenal (primary target of Bock's Car), Niigata, and Nagasaki.

39 posted on 05/06/2004 8:18:27 PM PDT by COEXERJ145
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To: Rebelbase
And your point? (I'm already pretty sure I know what it is, but go ahead and expound on the theme).

40 posted on 05/06/2004 8:20:21 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: VOA
yeah, that's why they ran up the white flag after the first one was dropped

IIRC, the Japanese were stunned out of the minds, but did make some noises about surrender after the first bomb.

I believe there's evidence that Japanese communications re surrender were mistranslated.

Don't get me wrong, I think Truman made the right decision with the first bomb. It's the second I'm not so sure about. But, when the commander-in-chief gets faulty intelligence, can we really blame him?

41 posted on 05/06/2004 8:25:08 PM PDT by shhrubbery!
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To: shhrubbery!
The japanese were still shooting at us after Hiroshima so the second bomb was necessary .. We had no more bombs under construction at that time.
42 posted on 05/06/2004 8:33:43 PM PDT by southland
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
*Yeah my Dad was on his way to some sort of staging area when the little darlings surrendered*

So was my grandfather, only it was P-38's.

*The survival rate among TBF flyers and crew was not too high*

My grandfather swore, till the day he died, that had it not been for Hiroshima & Nagasaki his whole squadron would've been wiped out down to the last man, himself included. He also estimated that they would've probably killed, in strafing runs & fragmentation bombing runs, *at least* 1,000 Japanese defenders for every *one* of them whom went down due to flak, A.A. fire, etc.
The Atom bombs *saved* lives in light of that terrible arithmetic, IMHO. My grandfather was speaking from the perspective of the Army Air Corps.--just imagine what would've happened after the Army Divisions and Marine Units had splashed ashore in an invasion of the Japanese Mainland!





43 posted on 05/06/2004 8:49:54 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: Rebelbase
I read an article that stated there was a plan to use Abombs to blow breeches in the Japanese defenses so that our troops could break out of the beachheads.

Which also brings up the fact that nearly everyone at that time simply thought of the bomb as a bigger explosive. The effects of radiation were not well understood.

44 posted on 05/06/2004 8:54:20 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: A Jovial Cad
I'm another Atomic Bomb baby. My dad was in Tacoma, Washington waiting to ship out for the invasion. His unit was told to expect 80 to 90% casualties. My dad was a medic and was told not to expect to come home, because the Japs targeted the red crosses on the medics' helmets and equipment. Truman knew all these numbers and was sickened by them. He knew damn well he was saving lives by dropping those bombs.

This whole Soviet thing has been raised many times over the years and debunked just as many times.

45 posted on 05/06/2004 8:55:37 PM PDT by Dems_R_Losers (Except for the one who married me!!!)
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To: Moose4
Exactly right, plain and simple.
EOM
46 posted on 05/06/2004 8:59:51 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: walford
The History Channel just quashed my thread, so I appended my comments here. They know very well that their portrayal of HST and the American people's motivation is slander.
http://boards.historychannel.com/threaded.jsp?forum=101&thread=300011719&start=29&msgSeq=29
47 posted on 05/06/2004 9:02:13 PM PDT by walford (http://utopia-unmasked.us)
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To: JLAGRAYFOX
Massive loss of life.
48 posted on 05/06/2004 9:05:32 PM PDT by mtntop3 ("Those who must know before they believe will never come to full knowledge.")
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To: COEXERJ145
Are you sure about Yokohama? Yokohama was firebombed in May, here's an interesting link

Air Raid against Cities of Kawasaki and Yokohama

49 posted on 05/06/2004 9:05:57 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: walford
After the fact, it wasn't obvious that the Soviets would destroy the Japanese army in Manchuria so decisively. Given Truman's knowledge at the time, dropping the bombs was the correct thing to do; end the war quickly.

The Japanese didn't believe that the Hiroshima bomb was nuclear at first. Communications with Hiroshima were destroyed and the actual destruction wasn't as much as some of the other raids. The Americans communicated (somehow, probably not by pidgeon) that the Japanese should examine the sulfur in the phone line insulation. It would contain a quantity of a rare isotope of chlorine the could only be produced by a neutron flux.
50 posted on 05/06/2004 9:07:20 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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