Skip to comments.Remembering When We Were Strong: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Moral Necessity of a Nuclear Strike
Posted on 08/08/2013 11:15:14 PM PDT by neverdem
In a time when America lacks the strength of will to force an active-duty Army officer (and admitted terrorist) to shave his jihadist beard before appearing at a court-martial, when we wring our hands in guilt over the use of the most precise weapons ever devised against an enemy of unquestioned cruelty and malice, and when we respond to threats with weakness that merely encourages greater violence, its worth remembering a time when this nation understood the necessity the moral necessity of decisive force.
By July 26, 1945, Imperial Japan was well on its way to defeat, yet it was still capable of great harm. Our navy (with the able and courageous British assistance) had swept the once-fearsome Japanese navy from the seas, and we were slowly destroying Japans capacity to wage war. Allied forces were on the move in Southeast Asia, the Soviet Union was poised to enter the conflict with overwhelming force (1.5 million men massed on the border of Japanese-held mainland territory), and the American army was barely a month removed from a decisive victory in the months-long battle for Okinawa. Japan was going to lose the war. It was inevitable.
That was the good news. But that good news was more than tempered by the bad news of the cost of that ultimate victory. Its tough for us to understand now, as many Americans have spent time in the new Japan, buy Japanese products, and rightly regard Japan as an indispensable ally, but in World War II the Japanese military fought with a ferocity that made al-Qaeda look casual and uncommitted. In Okinawa, the Japanese hurled more than 1,000 kamikaze suicide bombers at the American fleet, and tens of thousands more kamikazes readied to defend the Japanese home islands. Japan still held huge swathes of Chinese territory, where unrelenting war and mass-scale atrocities had already cost more than 10 million Chinese lives.
Just as disturbing, recent American experience in Saipan and Okinawa had illustrated the extent to which the Japanese civilian population would suffer in any further close combat. By some counts, up to one-third of the total civilian population of Okinawa died during the American invasion, many by suicide as parents killed children, then themselves, rather than fall into allied hands. At Saipan, Japanese civilians committed suicide by the hundreds sometimes cutting their own childrens throats persuaded by Japanese propaganda that Americans would commit unspeakable atrocities against civilians. Assuming similar behavior during an invasion, estimates of additional Japanese casualties ran into the millions with American casualty estimates wildly varying but certainly no less than hundreds of thousands.
Faced with the twin realities of inevitable Japanese defeat and staggering civilian and military casualties, the allies did the right thing: On July 26, they issued a surrender demand, the Potsdam Declaration(PDF).
The Japanese rejected it, the atomic bombs followed roughly two weeks later, and the war ended.
Its difficult to estimate the millions of lives those bombs saved, and the uncounted millions of descendants that live today as a result of Americas decisive application of force. But the benefits go beyond a mere calculus of lives saved, American total war didnt just defeat Japanese militarism on the battlefield, it destroyed it as a credible world view, as a credible moral force in Japanese life. This rejection of aggressive militarism has yielded incalculable benefits not just for generations of Japanese but also for generations of Koreans and Chinese nations that had suffered under Japanese oppression.
As we confront once again the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and as Americas critics decry our alleged barbarism, its worth remembering that weakness has terrible costs, and moral critics of decisive force should wrestle with that cost rather than utter platitudes like the U.N. did this week:
True security is based on peoples welfare and not on military annihilation, senior United Nations officials said today, marking the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and later Nagasaki, and honouring the survivors of the bombings known as hibakusha.
We are united in countering the erroneous view that security is achieved through the pursuit of military dominance and threats of mutual annihilation,Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon said in his message to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.
He added that security is based on a thriving economy, strong public health and education programmes, and on fundamental respect for our common humanity, and not on military prowess.
Japan and Germany were, of course, industrially advanced countries among the richest in the world when they launched their wars of aggression. Todays terrorists, though not nearly as formidable as Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, hardly conform to the stereotype of the disenfranchised poor lashing out in desperation. Food stamps and single-payer health care arent firewalls against evil, and were fools if we entertain that belief.
As the horror of World War II begins to fade into distant memory, its imperative that we not let the Left control the narrative. Already in pacifist Christian circles, Ive seen historically illiterate professors and pundits condemn the Hiroshima bombing with greater ferocity than they condemn the rape of Nanking, much less Japans years-long reign of terror in China. Our nation dialogues with (and funds) Holocaust-denying jihadists and displays little more than worried impotence as a hostile and hateful Iranian regime races towards an atomic bomb.
As a result, this generation or a generation to come may once again confront a series of terrible choices (I pray not involving nuclear weapons), but as they consider those choices, they should remember not just the Enola Gay, but the entire strength of this nation fully at war in 1945. Remember the lives we saved, and remember the far better societies that rose from the ashes.
In the fight against evil, there are times when the strong response is the right response.
The Nation Calls the Bombing of Hiroshima Terrorism
I always found the most interesting part of those two nuclear bombings the fact that we experimented with uranium on Hiroshima and plutonium on Nagasaki. They were two differently fueled atom bombs (”Little Boy and “Fat Man”). One result I remember reading about in the ‘70s was that surviving citizens of Hiroshima had a far higher incidence of leukemia than the survivors in Nagasaki.
“I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a n****r or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a white man from dust, a n****r from mud, then He threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman.” ~Harry Truman, age 27, in a letter to his future wife.
I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.
~ Abraham Lincoln -- Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858
Japanese-Christian soldiers included stealthy acts of kindness towards Allied POWs. (A scarce commodity in WWII).
Neither is the building of roads and schools in the $#!+hole of Afghanistan....
“I always found the most interesting part of those two nuclear bombings the fact that we experimented with uranium on Hiroshima and plutonium on Nagasaki. They were two differently fueled atom bombs (Little Boy and Fat Man).”
Two types of atomic bombs were used simply as a matter of expediency. All other considerations were no more than opportunistic afterthoughts. When the Unitedd States embarked upon its development of a nuclear weapon, the decision was made to attempt the production of two different types of bomb grade fissionable nuclear material: uranium and plutonium. This decision was made in the hope that if one of the fissionable materials could not be made available and be fashioned into a working atomic bomb, then perhaps the other could be. In the end, both fissionable bombs were made a reality at virtually the same time, but there was one important difference. The bomb grade fissionable material was in much too little supply to fashion more than one or a few atomic bombs before the end of 1945 or the scheduled amphibious invasions of the japanese Home Islands in Spring 1946. The more of this uranium used to produce uranium bombs meant fewer plutonium bombs in the required time schedule. This resulted in the decision to use the prototype uranium bomb core on a Japanese target, while the first plutonium core was used to test the bomb design at Alamagordo, and the second plutonium core on the second Japanese target. A third plutonium core was readied for another attack upon a Japanese target later in August. Each of the remaining months in 1945 would have brought an increasing number of plutonium cores available for use until Japan either surrendered or the invasion of Japan ended the nuclear bombardment.
The plutonium bomb became the atomic bomb of choice because more of the plutonium cores could be produced at a faster rate. It also helped that the explosive yield was superior. It was only after some months and years had passed that the radiological studies discovered the radiation effects were considerably worse than had been anticipated. This wqas in the day and age when shoe stores and departments were using X-ray machines to X-ray customers’ feet to sell shoes to customers by showing how the feet looked inside the shoes being sold.
It should also be remembered how Japan also had two competing atomic bomb development programs, one for the Army and one for the Navy. Additonally, Japan had developed and considered using other eapons of mass destruction against the Continental United States. The largest submarines built before the advent of nuclear submarines about fifteen years later were constructed to carry weapons of mass destruction against American targets. Only the abrupt end of the war prevented them from reaching their intended targets.
~ Abraham Lincoln -- Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858
Creepy ass cracker....
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Nagasaki became the actual target of the second attack because the primary target had an overcast cloud deck that made the mandatory visual targeting impossible. Had Japan not surrendered, Nagasaki no doubt would still have had its military and military industrial targets struck by one of the next few atomic bombs in August or September 1945. Kokura and the Kokura Arsenal were immensely fortunate to have escaped destruction by an atomic bomb.
People tend to forget that the Japanese leading up to WWII were essentially murderous criminal racist/rapist bastards. All one has to do is look at Nanking in 1937-1938. Anyone who thinks that ending the war with 2 atomic weapons was a bad idea is an utter fool....
We probably never would have had to drop the bomb on Japan, if FDR hadn’t been manipulated by Stalin. The USSR was never made to declare war on Japan, and they never did until the day before we dropped the 2nd bomb.
We didn’t drop a bomb on Germany. You claim they were innocents saints then?
Hussein has compared himself to that creepy ass cracker.
the alternative was “no mainland invasion”
The Germans surrendered in May, ‘45. We dropped the bombs on Japan in Aug. Personally I wouldn’t have had a problem with us nuking Berlin, but since I’m of Japanese descent I tend to be more critical of my ancestral homeland....
If the Germans hadn’t surrendered first, I believe we would have used it on them. Remember the first test of an atomic weapon @ Trinity wasn’t until mid July of ‘45....
He’s just reversed the superior and inferior positions....
Some of our clueless military leaders also made the same suggestion before and after the atomic bombings. There are numerous reasons why doing so would have sacrificed many more lives, not less. One of the foremost reasons were the Japanese plans to murder the Allied prisoners of war en-masse.
On Wake Island, the Japanese commander ordered the beheadings of all of the American civilian construction workers to prevent their recapture when an American naval task force conducted a naval bombardment of Wake. The Japanese commander wrongly assumed the bombardment indicated an iminent amphibious invasion of Wake Island.
In Indonesia and elsewhere the Japanese herded Anglo-American prisoners of war into air raid trenches and other such confined spaces, poured in aviation fuel or other gasolines, and burned the men alive to prevent rescue or for revenge.
Some of japan’s highest ranking military officers ordered preparations to be made for the murder of all Allied prisoners of war, military and civilian along with millions of other people in the Japanese occupied zones. Emperor Hirohito found it necessary to dispatch his own brother, a royal prince of the Empire, to China and Indo-China in a dangerously risky attempt to countermand those murderous orders. Even after the atomic bombings of Japan, these murderous Japanese officers conspired to kidnap the Emperor to prevent the surrender, prolong the struggle, and murder the prisoners of war and countless other people at risk of japanese revenge.
In the end, the loss of Japanese lives were a small fraction of the human lives the Japanese were about to destroy in the most barbarous means imaginable just among the prisoners of war, neutrals, and civilians in the occupied zones. These are lives that are seldom even mentioned much less taken into consideration when the number of Japanese and Anglo-American lives were to be lost by a direct invasion of the Japanese Home islands. So, even if there had been no invasion, the surrender was secured by naval blockade, there still would have been a worse loss of life committed by japanese atrocities. These losses were forestalled by the atomic bomb attacks.
“We didnt drop a bomb on Germany.”
We couldn’t, because the atomic bombs did not come into existence until aft the Germans had already surrendered in may 1945. The first plutonium core did not become available until the end of July 1945, when the TRINITY test detonated the first atomic fission device at the endo f july 1945.
Lincoln seemed to evolve on those issues.
There you have it. That is the problem with our political amd military leadership today. We don’t win wars anymore. We do not have the will to win wars anymore. The only way to defeat the current radical Islamist enemy is to utterly destroy their will to fight. If anything, our half-measures in this pseudo war on terrorism just provoke continued conflict.
As for the atomic bombings of Japan, those two bombs saved millions of Japanese and American lives. If we had to invade Japan, the slaughter would have been horrific. Our leaders back then understood what had to be done to achieve total victory and they did it. I pray that we avoid wars in the future, but if we must fight them, I hope that we have the will to win. If not, we should stay home.
(i knew a Japanese drafted into the imperial (fascist) army, he did not want to go, but was a Christian and did just that, i.e. acts of kindness to individual Allied (US/UK) POWs such as stealthily bringing extra rations at night when his asshole sadistic superiors were not looking. took big risks, but he knew what his Christian Bible said, even if written in Japanese.....
Thanks for your kind reply and the interesting info.
Are you totally ignorant of US history, or just plain stupid? The first bomb wasn't finished until after Germany surrendered in May of 1945. The reason we bombed Japan in August was because that was when the bombs were finally tested and ready to go.
If we had the nukes before Germany surrendered we would have used them, bet on it. As for dropping a bomb on Germany we dropped many tons of conventional bombs on Germany and laid that country, and parts of France and other countries also, to total ruin.
Also, we did far more damage and killed many more Japanese with our fire bombs than we did with the nukes.
Actually one of the reasons they were murdered was because the Japanese high command didn't want to feed or transport the prisoners to Japan.
When the Japanese commander asked for transport and extra food for the prisoners he was told none would be forth coming and for him to remember the code of Bushido.
This code is the one that prevented any soldiers of the Japanese army from surrendering and it also considered any one who surrendered not worthy of life. In other words the high command was telling the commander on Wake to execute the prisoners.
These messages were decoded using the magic devices we had and the few Japanese codes we had broken. A matter of record.
The Average Japanese of WWII was utterly vicious and sadistic. The rape of Nanking and the general treatment of the Chinese, Philippine and other people who came under their control proves it.
not an easy topic, not an easy decision for Truman but what was the option(?), for a full scale invasion would have killed far more Japanese civilians all over the islands and of course massive casulties for Allied troops going in there and subduing, I also imagine the scores of mass suicide people would have been forced into (brainwashed by their criminal Tojo govt). people have to remember many war criminals got the long rope at Sugamo Prison afterwards and justice was served in many an instance against those lousy fascists and Class-A types (war crimes). and just leave it at that. it is a new Japan and they are a great ally to the United States against bigger fish to fry out here, such as Red China and batty North Korea now.
...remembering also the Dutch POWs in the SW Pacific...
Yes, that is true as far as it goes, however, one of those superior officers responsible for such orders was Terauchi, Field Marshal Count Terauchi, if I remember the name, rank, and spelling at the moment (forgive my error otherwise). He was in particular responsible for much of the atrocities committed throughout the vast regions under his command. He ordered the dismissal and sometimes disgrace of general officers who failed to carry out some of the war crimes he ordered. He was one of the officers the Emperor was most concerned about in addition to those in China when the safety of Allied POWs, neutrals, and civilians became a prime issue as the surrender developed.
A Japanese cargo or Hell ship was being used to transport some of the last walking and emaciated American POW survivors of the Cabanatuan POW camp to japan as slave laborers, when an American submarine sank the Japanese Hell ship. the torpedo tore a large hole in the side of the cargo ship. Some few of the nearly dead Americans were swept out of this hole alongside of the sinking ship. One of these survivors watched as the japanese lowered soldiers in a lifeboat equipped with a machinegun and manned by soldiers with rifles. They began gleefully shooting the American survivors in the water as their own cargo ship sank behind them. As the ship slipped beneath the surface of the sea, it created a large whirlpool and vortex of water into the dark depths of the sea. The lifeboat and the Japanese aboard it still shooting and slaughtering helpless Americans in the water continued even as the vortex sucked them underwater too.
The American submarine surfaced and rescued the survivor who witnessed these events.
An uncle who served two tours of duty in Japan told the story of a Japanese manager who befriended him. This man was a high school student when the atomic bombs took place. He told my uncle those bombs saved his life, because his school class had been assigned to attack the American troops on the beachhead with sharpened bamboo sticks.
There was no hope of avoiding defeat after the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria. Surrender was rational to save their Asian forces and the home island from certain destruction. Truman (as recorded in his diary and by others) was well aware that the Japanese were hopelessly defeated and seeking terms of surrender.
The bombings were the first shot in the Cold War that simultaneously allowed the Japanese to claim victim status and dismiss their own barbarity. The international perspective is definitely a credible argument.
Germany surrendered before the bomb was ready....
The U.S. has had a completely different approach to warfare since 1950 because we wage military campaigns for completely different reasons now. We are now an empire in every sense of the term, and it makes no sense to destroy cities and civilizations when our primary goal is to occupy them and do business with them. In our current position, destroying an "enemy" is a pointless exercise.
The U.S. government had no problem dropping atomic bombs on Japan because as a nation we weren't terribly interested in the Japanese mainland. Our primary interest in the Pacific was the possession and control of Japan's colonies and their resources.
I don’t think there is any doubt the US saw Japan as the key to the balance of power in Asia. The primary American objective may have been not to make Japan a part of our offensive capability as much as keep them out of the Soviet sphere but there was still extreme concern that a politically unstable, economically weak Japan would increase the influence of the domestic communist movement.
How come we didn’t use the bomb on Richmond or Atlanta? Again, proof that we are racist against Asians.
The statistics on lives saved by the bombs is obvious, yet they ignore it.
As far as it being an ethnic choice...bombing Japan vs. Germany..well, look at the stats from the firebombings of Dresden and Hamburg. The death totals were also staggering. And MORE Japanese probably died in the multiple bombings of Tokyo than from the two nukes combined.
The two greatest examples of nation building success..Germany and Japan post WW II..both occurred after we'd totally vanquished them..and killed most of their military and political leadership. Compare that to Iraq..where we tried our best to be careful...how's that working out?..More Americans were killed there AFTER Bagdad fell, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi have been killed in terrorist bombings since the war supposedly ended.
But even if everything they say about killing supposedly innocent Japanese civilians was to suddenly be deemed 100% true, the use of the bombs was still justified by the lives of American troops it saved.
They attacked us...they massacred our troops, and civilians..they started it..
After Pearl Harbor..Adm. Halsey was quoted as saying that "before we're through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell."
The same needs to be said of Arabic.
He would have been at the forefront of an invasion of Japan, so I'm glad the Atomic Bombs were used.
Thanks for the ping!
But the moral problem of incinerating women and babies in tens or hundreds of thousands remains as a real, serious issue, and I actually think that our failure to accept the rightness of that explains a lot about why we are having such trouble winning wars now.
War is obliterating the enemy. Japan’s right to even exist ceased to exist when they waged war. Two atomic bombs? Hell, we had the right to use them even up to today, to continue to destroy Japan as we saw fit. The fact that we used only two and quit should make them still thank us for our mercy.
If you don’t like war, and the fact that it means your total obliteration, then don’t wage war.
Do you actually believe that the U.S. would have dropped a nuclear bomb on Germany, because I don’t believe that.
Do you actually believe that the U.S. would have dropped a nuclear bomb on Germany, because I don’t believe that.
Yes, we would.
Look-up the history of the development of the B-36.
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