Skip to comments.The Moral Lesson of Hiroshima
Posted on 07/28/2006 8:20:58 AM PDT by mjp
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Some have said we only should have dropped one. However, even after both were dropped a significant faction of the Japanese military wanted to continue the war. When the Emperor agreed to surrender, a coup against him ensued. It's hard to convincingly argue that one would have worked when two barely did.
Besides the Allied military casualties, the Japanese military and civlian casualties and invasion would have caused, roughly 50-60,000 innocents were being killed each month in territories occupied by the Japanese.
Some have suggested we blockade Japan and starve them into submission. It's hard to imagine how this could have resulted in less suffering and death. It would have taken years if the war-weary world had enough guts to see it through. They most likely would not have and the result would have been incomplete victory and incomplete tranformation of Japan.
IIRC, When MacArthur was installed as ruler over Japan he said the decision to keep or boot the Emperor would be up to the Japanese people.
The anticipated carnage from an invasion was massive. The Purple Hearts printed for were enough to last through the Korean & Vietnam wars and right through Desert Storm.
Regarding the Japanese government surrendering vs. the military, I thought the Japanese Foreign Minister was on the deck of the Missouri and signed the instrument of surrender. Picture
"and had been seeking to negotiate a surrender through various methods and channels for months prior to the dropping of the bombs"
I agree with you. I've also speculated that the U.S. had no intention of invading Japan anyway -- since it wasn't necessary to do so to win the war.
one of the best reads i have read. thanks.
"Your comments are chillingly arrogant. US invasion casualties were forecast to be over one million men."
Your comments are chillingly ignorant.
Right there in your response is the cxrux of the issue:
"...casualities were estimated to be over one million men..."
Estimated. There's that word again.
And that "estimate" does not take into consideration a variety of factors: how long before Japan finally starved, how long before critical shortages of materials brought the entire Japanese nation to a screeching halt, how long could the Russians be expected to remain a somewhat-freindly memeber of the Alliance?
The sad truth of the matter is that while "one million casualties" is a significant and chilling number, we'll never know if it was accurate, nor will we ever know if it could have been mitigated. The fact is that the United States and it's allies were sout of soldiers come 1945, and in that regard, 1 million casualties is a price no one wanted to pay (nor should they have). I take question with the "morality" that says 150,000 incinerated Japanese was more "humane" then allowing them to die of starvation or disease, or by a bullet to the brainpan, if the end result is the same: dead Japanese and an enemy who has surrendered.
If I used your logic, then Pearl Harbor was a "humane" attack because, while 2,400 American's died at anchor, thousands more would have died in the open ocean if the fleet had put to sea to meet the initially superior Japanese fleet.
How many times does this silly lie have to be refuted? The rate of death, deaths per 100 soldiers, was the SAME for prison guards at Andersonville as it was for prisoners. The conditions were horrible for both, but there was no attempt to mis-treat prisoners.
If your intent is to eliminate an enemy who represents a threat, then destroying it completely is a great idea. But if this "enemy" is a faction within a larger society or nation, or possesses valuable resources that could be exploited by the "winner" in the war, then destroying the enemy makes no sense at all.
Remember, they started the War to begin with.
And Japan would probably still have an emporer.
They had a plan. Called Cornet.
The build up had started, but wasn't complete, when the bomb was dropped.
Well, as to sources, there's a ton of them.
- Dirty Little Secrets of World War II and Victory At Sea (James Dunnigan and Alfred A. Nolfi)
- The Two Ocean War (History of the United States Navy 1941-45) Samuel Elliot Morrison
- The Penguin History of the Second World War (Calvocoressi, Wint and Pritchard). Calvocoressi, incidentally, was a codebreaker at Bletchly Park. This is the DEFINITIVE Book on the politics of the Second World War, in my opinion.
Those will do just to begin with. If you want more, I'll be more than happy to provide them for you.
I will bring up WTC as it is historic fact. They thought of WTC as the capitalist Mecca. My company lost 87 people there.
Nuking Mecca etc is not satisfying, but it could be necessary. Just as we didn't nuke Moscow, but we definitely had it in our sights.
How do you destroy a culture produced by a poisonous ideology without addressing the simple fact that it is the Muslim mentality that breeds the death cult.
Again academics can put their books down, because it will be at the point of a sword, gun, atomic weapon, that Muzzies will finally be subjugated. It will take sujugation to get them to discard their death cult ideology.
Oh yeah, I spent 13 months in Iraq NOT killing and destroying everything I saw because they were Muslim.
The liberal media keeps pushing the idea that innocent civilians must be spared during war, such as in the latest Israeli war. The big problem with that new and untested moral code is then the civilians don't have much stake in the matter. What do they care? Pulling your punches against innocent civilians, for religious or other reasons, will lead to a never ending mini-war, which is precisely why the Israeli-Arab conflict, going on now for thousands of years, will never end.
And I would have been happy to stay home in 1991. I'm sure Dad would also have been happy to have stayed home in 1967-68. The fact of the matter is that warfare is endemic and no matter what we'd prefer, we often have to make that sacrifice.
However, we can't call ourselves a morally-superior system when we engage in the deliberate infliction of suffering on the innocent when we do it (and call it virtue or mercy), and then call it somethign else when an enemy does it.
I have no doubt that had Germany or Japan possessed such weapons they would not have hesitated to use them, but it does not automatically follow that they would have affected the eventual outcome, particularly with regards to Japan. And the fact that I can't prove otherwise (and neither can you -- history doesn't work on "What if?") doesn't make the concept invalid.
Talks of the planned invasion. I will dig up more after lunch.
But Truman forgot the lesson described in this article when the Korean War came along. Truman fired MacArthur for demanding the same sort of total victory over North Korea that we achieved over Japan in WW2 and then settled for a tie. And the result is: North Korea exports rockets, missiles and technology to enemies that we are fighting today and threatens Japan, South Korea and the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons.
Thank you very much (NOT) President Truman.
"Had the United States negotiated in 1945, Japanese troops would have returned to a homeland free of foreign control, met by civilians who had not confronted defeat, under the same leaders who had taken them to war. A negotiated peace would have failed to discredit the ideology of war, and would have left the motivations for the next war intact. We might have fought the Japanese Empire again, twenty years later. Fortunately, the Americans were in no mind to compromise."
History shows that we WOULD have had to fight them again, for the reasons stated above. And chances are excellent that others around the world would have determined that the U.S. was composed of a bunch of whimpering cowards. So, other countries would have attacked us, too. JUST BECAUSE THEY COULD...
Some sobering wisdom in the piece.
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