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How the Atomic Bomb Saved 4,000,000 Lives
Omaha World Herald | November, 1987 | Davis

Posted on 09/25/2006 1:20:44 PM PDT by pabianice

Invasion Not Found in the History Books

Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped "Top Secret". These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

In the first invasion - code named Operation Olympic - American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 - 50 years ago. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment.

The second invasion on March 1, 1946 - code named Operation Coronet - would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. It's goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan. With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8 Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 - would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy.

Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the fall of 1946. Willoughby's own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary.

While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender. The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact.

So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu. The target date was after the typhoon season.

President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24. Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction. Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned -- via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts -- that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its schoolchildren, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses.

Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu. Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain.

The preliminary invasion would began October 27 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu. At the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu. On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion. As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy - the Third and Fifth Fleets -- would approach Japan. The Third Fleet, under Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido. Halsey's fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups. From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu. The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.

Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched. During the early morning hours of November 1, the invasion would begin. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu. Waves of Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches.

The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd and 41st Infantry Divisions would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield. The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and Americal Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima.

On November 4, the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack of the island of Shikoku, would be landed -- if not needed elsewhere -- near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard and Plymouth.

Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed.

If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1, 1946 Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu.

All along the coast east of Tokyo, the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions.

At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to go as far as Yokohama. The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions.

Following the initial assault, eight more divisions - the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division -- would be landed. If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error.

During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese kamakaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others. But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan.

What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland.

As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan -- the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.

On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet.

The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea, western Honshu and Shikoku, which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks.

Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks.

In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5, 651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12, 725 planes of all types. Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity. Hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes.

Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot.

When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a fourfold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships.

While Allied ships were approaching Japan, but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over kyushu. A second force of 330 navy combat pilots were to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. While these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports.

As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners.

Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue. With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days. The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy -- some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles -- when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyushu.

The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational. These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion. A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea. Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats.

The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing. The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese.

But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war.

Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan's top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans. This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army. These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.

Japan's network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches. Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counterattack. Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade.

On the western shores of Kyushu, the Marines would face the most brutal opposition. Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions , a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command. Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks

If not needed to reinforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers, and underground fortresses. As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns.

On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units. Suicide units concealed in "spider holes" would engage the troops as they passed nearby. In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines. Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform, English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops. Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs wold attempt to blow up american tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore.

Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach. Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.

The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called "Prairie Dog Warfare." This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean. It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific -- at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy.

In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.

In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan - "One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation" - were prepared to fight to the death. Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.

At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour.

The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Within days the war with Japan was at a close.

Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands. Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives.

One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks.

In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion, were instead lucky enough to survive the war.

Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history of modern warfare.

Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan, little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands. Japan today cold be divided much like Korea and Germany.

The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however, because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over.

The aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan, ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet.

In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans. Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives. These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man. The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful.

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: bombirannow; japan; ww2
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To: reagan_fanatic
Image hosted by Photobucket.comme too... my Dad was a CPO in the 7th Fleet.
51 posted on 09/25/2006 5:23:20 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: TexanToTheCore

You are correct. My dad was burned a crash in the CBI Campaign in '43 and was back in the US (as a still certified flyer)after his recovery... He was ready to go at Rough and Ready Island in '45.


52 posted on 09/25/2006 6:02:02 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Heyworth

"Japan was seeking terms of surrender at the time."

"Debatable. Certainly there were elements in the civilian leadership and diplomatic corps who saw the writing on the wall and wanted to find a way out for Japan, but the military was in control of everything, including all the channels of communication. They (the civilians and diplomats) had made a very tenuous peace overture for the Russians to relay to the Americans, but the Russians basically stalled on them while gearing up for their own invasion of China, Korea, etc., When the Japanese military got wind of it, I believe they arrested the people who had reached out. What few peace signals reached the Americans were so obtusely worded and so buried in a thousand "to the last man, woman and child" messages that they were simply ignored."


The diplomatic efforts to the Russians was transmitted to the Japanese embassy in 'Code Purple,' which the Japanese knew the British and Americans had already cracked. Truman and Churchill already knew what cards Stalin was holding at Potsdam with respect to Japanese peace initiatives.

If the Roosevelt policy of 'unconditional surrender' had left room to ensure the integrity of the Emperor, whom the Japanese considered on the level of a 'god,' the ambiguity concerning the fate of the monarchy would have been resolved. Stimson was aware of this and requested the viability of a 'constitutional monarchy' be included in the demand for surrender, and his request was ignored at the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference. The people, including the military, obeyed the Emperor, and once the Emperor ordered the surrender, the war was over.


53 posted on 09/25/2006 6:08:09 PM PDT by PageMarker
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To: Fraxinus

That's very insightful and something that most folks overlook. Few historians or anyone else bother to look at the "totality of circumstances". The Japanese could see the darkness all around them. The atomic attacks were likely to show that the possiblity of staving off an invasion was now impossible.

I am willing to bet that the thinking in the upper echelon staff rooms was that if it could do this to a city,"What would these bombs do to a division?"


54 posted on 09/25/2006 6:21:55 PM PDT by Comstock1 (If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle.)
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To: pabianice

"On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet"

My father was a USN Crew Chief for a PBY (Patrol Boat Plane, aka sitting duck.) He had orders to leave for Okinawa in Mid August. The bomb probably saved his life. My thanks to Einstein and Fermi!


55 posted on 09/25/2006 6:26:14 PM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: pabianice

Using it today would save even more.


56 posted on 09/27/2006 1:30:38 AM PDT by TomasUSMC ((FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.))
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission
My father was a USN Crew Chief for a PBY (Patrol Boat Plane, aka sitting duck.)

My dad was a pilot in VP-11, also a PBY. (Although they added four .50 caliber in the nose—to be fired with the gunner straddling them!)

57 posted on 09/27/2006 2:04:30 AM PDT by Eclectica (Para el inglés, prensa 2.)
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To: TomasUSMC
Using it today would save even more.

Yes, but today we don't have leaders in high places of the same caliber as those we had fighting WW2.

Also it's not yet evident to a majority of the people how serious the current war against Islam is.

58 posted on 09/27/2006 3:00:19 AM PDT by Screaming_Gerbil (Let's Roll...)
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To: Eclectica
I reread a newspaper clipping from my father's hometown newspaper dated August 19, 1944. At that time he had finished aviation mech school in Great Lakes and finished Arial Gunners school at Jacksonville. The article stopped there, but he spent the next year assigned to a squadron that spent time at Corpus Cristi and San Francisco. Squadron had deployment orders for Okinawa for Mid-August '45 when the bomb dropped.

Can't say that they would have been involved in that first wave, but it sounds like they would have been right there. Sounds like my father might have been riding one of the fifty calibers. (I imagine the barrels get a little hot!)

Did your father see action?

59 posted on 09/27/2006 8:14:57 AM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: pabianice

I read a once that there was also a plan to use atomic bombs to blow breeches in the Japanese defenses for Allied troops to pour through into the countryside.

It would have been a tragedy to have our troops march through a radiation zone on their way to battle.


60 posted on 09/27/2006 8:20:13 AM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: Thud

This assumes unconditional surrender. Had we agreed up front to conditional surrender (e.g. letting the Japanese keep the emperor) both the mass cooking of babies and little old ladies and an invasion could have been avoided.


61 posted on 09/27/2006 8:21:42 AM PDT by Captain Kirk
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To: pabianice

ping for later


62 posted on 09/27/2006 8:21:42 AM PDT by connor_in (opus & bill 2008)
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To: nitzy

"I wonder how many lives could have been saved if we had the balls to drop 1 or 2 after 9/11."

Exactly where would we have dropped them?


63 posted on 09/27/2006 8:27:02 AM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: TWfromTEXAS

My Dad was on the USS Doyle, a destroyer/minesweeper. He was headed to the invasion of Japan when the A-bombs were dropped. My Uncle Ed was an MP and spent some time in Hiroshima.


64 posted on 09/27/2006 8:50:59 AM PDT by rochester_veteran (born and raised in rachacha!)
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To: PageMarker
AFTER the Emperor ordered the surrender, a group of officers attacked the Imperial Palace with the goal of capturing Hirohito, destroying the recording announcing the surrender that was to be played to the populace, and lead the military to seize control of the country. If one of the local generals had gone along with it, there may have never been a surrender.
65 posted on 09/27/2006 9:53:44 AM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: pabianice
My only question about the article is where the fuel to fly the 12, 725 Japanese planes was supposed to come from? Japan didn't have any.
66 posted on 09/27/2006 10:00:30 AM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: TexanToTheCore
I completely agree.

The horror of Okinawa was the preview, and would have been magnified a million-fold. Japanese civilians had been taught that the Americans would slaughter the men, rape the women and enslave the kids - and they believed it. They were ready to fight to the death and never surrender.

Before the A-Bombs Gen. Lemay had destroyed virtually all the cities in the firebombing, which would have convinced any other country to surrender. But they didn't.

The casualties, and especially the Japanese casualties, would have been unimaginable. Truman did the right thing.

67 posted on 09/27/2006 10:16:26 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission
Did he see action?.

YEAH—He saw Action!!!!!

He was shot down five times...once by P-40s! That one killed the co-pilot sitting next to him! His logbook is on the Internet (VP-11 site—search PBY, VP-11, logbook).

68 posted on 09/28/2006 2:28:31 AM PDT by Eclectica (Para el inglés, prensa 2.)
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To: SoCal Pubbie

Japan conquered the Dutch East Indies to secure oil for their wars.


69 posted on 09/28/2006 7:40:26 AM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: pabianice

It is never right to do a wrong thing in order that good may result.
It is OK to kill an invader. Bombing the invader's mother, father, grandmother and grandfather doesn't sound like killing an invader.
Bombing munitions factories is generally seen as a normal part of a war.
Looks like it is not possible to say that "bombing saved lives".


70 posted on 09/28/2006 7:45:17 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: Eclectica

Thanks, the link is:

http://www.pbycia.org/



71 posted on 09/28/2006 8:10:48 AM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged

Bombing a country that started the war is not just good tactics but morally correct.


72 posted on 09/28/2006 10:52:11 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: pabianice

Great read!


73 posted on 09/28/2006 10:54:53 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (USAF Air Rescue "That others may live.")
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To: Leftism is Mentally Deranged
"It is never right to do a wrong thing in order that good may result."

Ends do not justify means, but I would dispute that neither the end--the total capitullation of Japan--nor the means, US military force, including use of the atomic bomb, were wrong.

It would have been wrong to NOT to drop the atomic bomb. Dropping the atomic bomb in these circumstances was the moral choice. It prevented the invasion of Japan, and the needless slaughter of 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 Japanese, civilian and military, and the death of of what? 1,000,000 to 4,000,000 American servicemen, including my aviator father, and marine uncles. It resulted in the liberation of all concurred territories.

"It is OK to kill an invader. Bombing the invader's mother, father, grandmother and grandfather doesn't sound like killing an invader."

I disagree with the careful shaping and phrasing of your assertion. What was going to make the Japanese stop invading, stop attacking, and not just us.

Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, they attacked and invaded the Philippines. They attacked and invaded China, Korea, the Dutch East Indies, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Burma. They slaughtered millions of innocent people, they enslaved others, some they raped, some they worked to death, some they used for biological experiments. What was their objective in doing this and who did the wrong thing? Get a good answer from the Japanese before you ask this question of the Americans.

Please reread the Japanese plans for the defense of their island. Children, grandmothers, grandfathers, women all would have been enlisted in that defense. There was no distinction between civilian and military. It is starkly clear that use of the atomic bomb absolutely did, in fact, without the least question, save lives.

Consider a world in which we neither invaded Japan nor dropped the bomb. Japan would have been left in control of the bulk of its empire, the southwest Pacific, its resources and navigation lanes. How long would it have been before it rebuilt its forces started a new war? We dint just liberate the nations the Japanese conquered, we also liberated the Japanese people from their military overlords.
74 posted on 09/28/2006 5:36:32 PM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: Captain Kirk

"This assumes unconditional surrender. Had we agreed up front to conditional surrender (e.g. letting the Japanese keep the emperor) both the mass cooking of babies and little old ladies and an invasion could have been avoided."


If I remember correctly, the survival of the Emperor was not the only issue in a conditional surrender. Most of the government would have been left intact. We also picked intelligence that the conditional surrender that was offered was a stall for more time.

Dropping the bomb was a good decision.



75 posted on 09/29/2006 2:19:13 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: TexanToTheCore; PageMarker
Your contention that the bomb was for Joe Stalin is absolutely wrong.

You are correct, of course. But, that is the revisionist line lately taken by the anti-Americans who try to make the assertion that dropping the bomb was unnecessary.

Such a view is anti-historical and relies on a breathtaking ignorance of the times. To have had the bomb in 1945--and not used it--would have been an act of madness.

76 posted on 09/29/2006 2:30:52 PM PDT by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings...Modesty hides my thighs in her wings...)
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To: Skooz

I am constantly stunned at how ingnorant people are of World War I and World War II. Many seem to envision WWII as a larger Vietnam War, not too big to be inconvenient, really.

It required everyone's contribution from the children who picked up recyclable scrap to the men on the front lines. We were fighting for our lives.


77 posted on 09/29/2006 2:43:09 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: Thud

The history is even more complicated than that. After the great loss of life at Saipan - I believe it was 900 US dead a day - the "Joint Chiefs" wanted to use poison gas on the Japanese. FDR said no but his only reason was that he was afraid the Japanese would retailiate. (I'm sorry I can't source this but I read it a long time ago and didn't save the reference).


78 posted on 09/30/2006 2:38:30 AM PDT by Oakleaf
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To: Oakleaf

That is, would retaliate by using poison gas against our troops.


79 posted on 09/30/2006 2:39:14 AM PDT by Oakleaf
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To: pabianice
Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture.

There would be no Japanese culture left and that territory would probably have been annexed by the US considering how much blood we paid for it.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan, little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands.

Russia would never have been able to do that considering that they could not effectively project power across the ocean.

80 posted on 09/30/2006 2:49:44 AM PDT by Centurion2000 ("Be polite and courteous, but have a plan to KILL everybody you meet.")
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To: pabianice

Other factors that influenced the decision to drop the bomb were:

a) Inadvisability of "Demonstration": one plan was to invite the Japanese and neutral observers such as the Swiss to a demonstration of the bomb at sea near the coast of Japan. This was decided against because we had only tested one bomb. It was not at all clear that these weapons would work reliably every time and if we set up a demonstration and it didn't go off we would have lost 'face'.

b) The Horror of Blockade: Another option to avoid the loss of American lives was to blockade Japan until they surrendered. This was dismissed because a) it could take many months or even more than a year and we wanted the war over with and b) the brunt of the blockade would be borne by the elderly, the young, the sick and civilians - whatever food and medical care was available would of course have been given to the Japanese forces.

c) The Number of Bombs: IIRC after we dropped the two we had enough material to make one more by September and one more by December. After that my memory fails me but I want to say that we could only make maybe one or two a quarter (anyone have any data on that?) In any case, this also influenced the decision not to have a 'Demonstration'. We had two bombs, if we used one in a 'Demonstration' we only had one left and another one available in September. We didn't know at the time what the reaction of the Japanese would be.

I'm sorry I can't give sources for this but my library is not readily accessable.

I am also one of those who wouldn't be here if the bombs hadn't been dropped. My father, God rest his soul, was in the USN Medical Corps on an LST (one of the ones in a flotilla that converted to a hospital ship with the OR on the tank deck). He had been at the invasion of Okinawa and they were slated for the invasion of Japan. He never would have come back.


81 posted on 09/30/2006 2:54:07 AM PDT by Oakleaf
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To: MikefromOhio
"JUNE 18, 1945 - When A Democracy Chose Genocide

The United States government decided on June 18, 1945, to commit genocide on Japan with poison gas if its government did not surrender after the nuclear attacks approved in the same June 18 meeting. This was discovered by military historians Norman Polmar and Thomas Allen while researching a book on the end of the war in the Pacific. Their discovery came too late for inclusion in the book, so they published it instead in the Autumn 1997 issue of Military History Quarterly.

You should probably take some time to read this ....

82 posted on 09/30/2006 2:55:45 AM PDT by Centurion2000 ("Be polite and courteous, but have a plan to KILL everybody you meet.")
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To: Thud
From:

"A Study of the Possible Use of Toxic Gas in Operation Olympic."

To:

So the United States has within living memory made a decision to commit genocide on a whole people as a matter of state policy.

That's quite a leap!
83 posted on 09/30/2006 3:24:19 AM PDT by Beckwith (The dhimmicrats and liberal media have chosen sides and they've sided with the Jihadists.)
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To: Beckwith

There is the argument-- not mine, but I understand it-- that as killing a man in self-defense is not murder, killing a population in self-defense is not genocide.


84 posted on 09/30/2006 3:41:50 AM PDT by ExGeeEye (135 days (counting up))
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To: Captain Kirk

I will suggest again the reading of "The Rape of Nanking".

Then come back on this thread and report what you read.


85 posted on 09/30/2006 8:41:07 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: TexanToTheCore
If I remember correctly, the survival of the Emperor was not the only issue in a conditional surrender. Most of the government would have been left intact. We also picked intelligence that the conditional surrender that was offered was a stall for more time.

If it was stall, it interesting that Truman, overruled his pro-FDR advisors, and in the end agreed to conditional surrender e.g. keeping the emperor. The Japanese then stopped stalling (which had continued even after the bomb) and complied.....but only after Truman agreed to that condition. Had Franklin D. "Unconditional Surrender" Roosevelt still been president in August, the war would have continued to drag on even after dropping the bomb. Truman, at least, finally realized that the continued demand for Unconditional Surrnder was a foolish waste of lives.

86 posted on 10/03/2006 8:51:45 PM PDT by Captain Kirk
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To: TexanToTheCore
By the way, how does any atrocity by Japanese soldiers during the rape of Naking justify a policy of intentionally frying babies and old ladies.
87 posted on 10/03/2006 8:52:55 PM PDT by Captain Kirk
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To: Captain Kirk

Applying the mores of today is of little value in analysing the actions during World War II. I really would suggest readig the book as it details the spectacular cruelty of the Japanese in one city in China. One city, mind you. Other areas of China experienced much the same genocide, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

The book sobered me up. I now approach analyses of that era very carefully as it was a situation that I have not experienced and I hope never will.

It is inadvertently the best argument for the 2nd Amendment ever written.

One of the sobering reports is of two Japanese officers who had a beheading contest. It was covered in the Tokyo newspaper as sport. They called it a gentleman's draw after each officer had killed 137 chinese.

It was nothing more than sport to them. They deserved the bomb.


88 posted on 10/04/2006 9:26:03 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: TexanToTheCore
Of course, those Japanese soldiers deserve to die and, if still alive, should be tried for war crimes. It does not follow from this, however, that we would be similarly justified in mass slaugher of Japanese women and children (none of whom took part in the Rape of Nanking). Of course, collateral damage in war is unavoidable. Intentional killing of civilians, whether to "make a point" or as part of some grander utilitarian calculus, should be off limits.

Interestingly, conservatives at the time were in the forefront of condemning Truman's decision to drop the bomb.

89 posted on 10/05/2006 6:49:18 AM PDT by Captain Kirk
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To: Captain Kirk

Which Republicans decried the use of the bomb?


The death of Japanese civilians was to be horrific had we invaded. Millions dead from battle, tens of millions from disease and starvation. We were able to end the war by killing 400,000, a much smaller number. It was a good humanitarian decision.

WWII was a war that did involve the killing of millions of civilians, but that was started by the other side with the V1s and V2s that hit London. It was continued with the bombing of Coventry by the Germans. I do not accept that the Coventry bombing was a mistake as accurate air navigation was long established and it is simply unlikely. Really unlikely.

In all cases, the other side began the reign of civilian terror, Japan in Korea and especially China, Germany in England and Russia.

Our primay requirement was to destroy manufacturing capacity and most all of our bombing was designed to do so. But bomb drops were exceedingly inaccurate by today's standards, the Sperry Bombsight adding a lot of accuracy but not enough to keep the collateral damage to a level that is consistent with today's standards.

And I think you should read some more on WWII. Your knowledge of that conflict is not up to snuff. I know that because you have no real realization of the difficult position that we were in nor do you know what the concept of Total War means.


90 posted on 10/05/2006 11:30:22 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (This space for hire...)
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To: Captain Kirk
Interestingly, conservatives at the time were in the forefront of condemning Truman's decision to drop the bomb.

Do you have any sources on this one?
91 posted on 10/06/2006 2:20:55 AM PDT by dbehsman (NRA Life Member, and loving every minute of it!)
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To: Beckwith

From:

>>"A Study of the Possible Use of Toxic Gas in Operation Olympic."

>.To:

>>So the United States has within living memory made a decision to commit genocide on a whole people as a matter of state policy.

>>That's quite a leap!


About 500,000 tons worth of B-17/B-24/B-25/B-26/B-29 deliver poison gas bombs worth of "Leap."

This does not include the 50,000 tons worth of "tactical" poison gas stocks kept on hand for Army and Navy rockets, guns and howitzers plus USAAF fighters.


92 posted on 10/09/2006 11:01:47 AM PDT by Dark Wing
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