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F9Animal
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The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:15 am

I might be walking into flames here..... But.... I really want to know. As I get older, I have learned to appreciate life, and people. I hate war, but I love watching the History Channel. In school, I learned a little about the world wars, and the depth in the loss of life never really tugged me like it does today. The Holocaust was so awful, and watching it from the past disgusts me.

I love my country. I may not like some of the things my government does, but I am just the little guy that works my ass off to provide for my family. I can't change the problems my country has, as I am sure you can't either. However, I could never imagine having a massive bomb dropped on my city. I could never imagine the anger I would have at the enemy. I am sure it would bring me into a rage. I would be even more furious if it left scars on me, or killed family or friends. I would be insane if it killed one of my own children.

My country dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan. We killed thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Was the United States ever in trouble for this action? Did the United States ever face war crimes for this? Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

Most important to me... How can anyone from Japan ever forgive America? How and why would either Japan or the US be allies? I mean, I have Japanese friends, and they are some of the nicest people ever. I just wonder, do they hold resentment for WWII? Is Hiroshima or Nagasaki safe in terms of radiation? Was it hard for the Japanese to decontamination the cities?

I know, I can easily Google most of these answers... But.... I know we have a huge International group here, and it would be interesting to hear your opinion, or stories. I would also be very interested to hear from our Japanese members. I have never been to Japan by the way. I certainly hope to take the journey one day. Are there any museums or memorials you suggest I visit? This December, I will be taking a trip to Hawaii. Of course, I can't visit Hawaii without visiting Pearl Harbor. It's my first time visiting there!  

[Edited 2014-10-20 23:16:40]
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BMI727
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:20 am

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
In school, I learned a little about the world wars, and the depth in the loss of life never really tugged me like it does today.

Then you can sleep well knowing the US still hasn't used up all of the Purple Hearts ordered in preparation for an invasion of Japan.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
I just wonder, do they hold resentment for WWII?

That would be hypocritical considering how they mostly ignore atrocities committed by the Japanese.
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EA CO AS
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:52 am

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.

And for what it's worth, the conventional and incendiary raids on Tokyo - another valid military and industrial target - killed far more people than in either atomic weapon attack.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
the US still hasn't used up all of the Purple Hearts ordered in preparation for an invasion of Japan.

  

Plans for Operation Downfall were in place to begin on or around November 1, 1945 but estimates had the U.S. and allied nations potentially absorbing 500,000 to 1 million casualties with anywhere from 5 to 10 million on the Japanese side, including civilians.

Some recommended reading regarding the pros and cons:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_...bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki

I still believe that once all was said and done, the use of these weapons - while probably unnecessary because the Japanese would have sued for peace before 11/1/45 - still saved countless lives more from the conventional bombings that would have continued aggressively until the Japanese military finally agreed to unconditional surrender, something that the use of the two bombs accelerated.
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MrChips
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:06 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
That would be hypocritical considering how they mostly ignore atrocities committed by the Japanese.

Largely unacknowledged and unforgiven atrocities, too, I might add. Unlike Germany, who have spent a considerable amount of time and effort not only trying to atone for their actions, but they are very forward in discussing what happened in World War II - it's as if they don't really want history to repeat itself. Japan has never really addressed this issue adequately, if you ask me.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
My country dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan. We killed thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Was the United States ever in trouble for this action? Did the United States ever face war crimes for this?

No, the United States never really faced the consequences of dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, but as the victors in the war, you tend to get to dictate who and what is prosecuted afterwards. Additionally, there were far worse actions taken by the Allies in World War II, such as the carpet/fire bombing of cities in both Germany and Japan. Back then, there were a lot of arguments about the morality of these actions, and even today hundreds of thousands of pages have been written on both sides of this argument, which leads to the question dogging civilisation since the first time one group of humans attacked another:

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

By and large, it is generally acknowledged that it is wrong to target civilians in warfare; treaties such as the Geneva Convention expressly forbid this action. However, in situations such as World War I and II, in which the concept of "total war" - a war in which the entire population of a country is harnessed into the war effort either as soldiers or as part of the effort to feed, clothe and arm those soldiers - was born, the line between civilian and combatant becomes very blurry. As I alluded to in my previous paragraph, this was one of the ways that the mass bombing campaigns of World War II were justified.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
How can anyone from Japan ever forgive America?

As time goes on, these old wounds heal...sometimes through genuine atonement, other times through necessity. Never punish the son for the sins of the father, after all.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
How and why would either Japan or the US be allies?

Necessity, primarily. The United States essentially controlled Japan for quite a while after World War II, and made damned sure to develop institutions that would at very least ensure that Japan would not be hostile to them, if not genuine allies. Added to that, the fear of the spread of Communism, the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and the Korean War shortly after drove the Japanese further into the American sphere of influence.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
I just wonder, do they hold resentment for WWII?

There probably are people who hold resentment for World War II in Japan, just the same as there are people in the US that hold resentment toward Japan for World War II. Fortunately, I would say that they are but a handful in both countries.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Is Hiroshima or Nagasaki safe in terms of radiation? Was it hard for the Japanese to decontamination the cities?

Yes, both cities are safe; radiation levels there are only slightly above the normal background levels seen in the surrounding areas. Decontamination wasn't quite as long and difficult as you might imagine, since most of the affected area either burned or was reduced to rubble that needed to be hauled away anyway. Plus, nearly seventy years of weather has washed nearly all the remaining fallout away from the city. The true cost, one still being paid today, is that of the negative health effects on the people of both cities from the atomic bombings.

EDIT: I should also mention a couple more things. First, the alternatives to the atomic bombings were, if anything, even more horrifying. Do you blockade Japan and cut off their food supplies, potentially killing millions and leaving the country vulnerable to disease for a decade or more? Considering the ferocity of the campaign to capture the Pacific islands, do you risk an invasion, killing hundreds of thousands or even millions of soldiers on both sides (to say nothing of civilian deaths)? None of the options were pleasant at all, to say the least.

Also, you have to remember that the final months of World War II occurred after the alliance between the Soviets and the US and UK had largely fallen apart. Since neither the Americans or the Japanese wanted the Soviets to make appreciable gains in places like Manchuria, there was considerable pressure to end the war before that happened. In fact, many historians argue that it was neither the firebombings of Tokyo nor the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that persuaded the Japanese government to surrender; rather, it was the Soviet invasion (and rout) in Manchuria that precipitated their unconditional surrender more than anything.

[Edited 2014-10-21 00:20:31]
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bluejuice
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:18 am

My wife would likely not be alive today if not for the bombs. The war would have continued and countless thousands would have died on both sides. Her mother was born in post war Japan under US occupation. She likely would have died as an infant from starvation, disease, or during a bombing raid had the war continued. It is also believed that many members of her family would have perished as well. In particular, many male members of her family would have died on the battlefield in defense of the home islands. Two members were days away from making one way flights as kamikaze pilots. While it was certain the allies would have won the war either way, Japan might very well be like divided Korea. The northern islands would likely have fallen under Soviet occupation. The majority of my wife's family is from the northern island of Hokkaido. Having suffered humiliating military defeats early in the century, the Soviets would exact their revenge. It is almost certain the horrible fate suffered by Berlin would have been repeated in Japanese cities as well.
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BMI727
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:50 am

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
How can anyone from Japan ever forgive America?

Probably quite easily considering that the atomic bombings probably saved a large portion of Japan from a half century of Communist darkness.
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moo
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:02 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Then you can sleep well knowing the US still hasn't used up all of the Purple Hearts ordered in preparation for an invasion of Japan.

And why was it an "either or" situation? Japan is a series of islands, kick them off the main land (already being done) and then blockade them until they capitulate. A low tempo campaign of aerial bombing and naval shelling would keep Japans industrial capability at a level which would cow the populace.

A few years of that and Japan might have surrendered anyway - and all accomplished with minimal allied casualties in the mean time.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.

Actually, the cities were primarily chosen because they were left relatively unscathed during previous operations - and they were relatively unscathed because the US military planners avoided them due to "overriding religious and historical importance".

Hitting Tokyo wouldn't have had much impact, because it was pretty much already in a devastated state from previous campaigns, as were the other major cities. The US wanted a statement, pretty much along the lines of "hey, look, we can level entire cities in one go now - see the before and after pictures!" which they wouldn't have got with Tokyo et al.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:28 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
And for what it's worth, the conventional and incendiary raids on Tokyo - another valid military and industrial target - killed far more people than in either atomic weapon attack.

That's very much right. Dropping the atomic bombs on Japan did not add any quality or quantity to the warfare. For the U.S., it was just more efficient (risking one plane, and with it the millions of $ spent building that weapon). But when you consider it as an atomic test, the bomb being a dud (or the bomber being shot down before releasing the weapon) would have still been an acceptable risk to the planner.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.

It was my impression that Nagasaki and Hiroshima were spared in order to use the atomic bombs.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Then you can sleep well knowing the US still hasn't used up all of the Purple Hearts ordered in preparation for an invasion of Japan.

This question is quite moot, because McArthur ordered the Philippines retaken from the Japanese forces in spite of the fact that the Japanese navy was already contained, and the Japanese Empire did not pose a threat anymore. The liberation of the Philippines cost 14'000 dead Allied soldiers and 48'000 wounded. If around 60'000 casualties are acceptable for an adventure not carrying strategical importance, then 600'000 would be acceptable too for the capture of the Japanese mainland.

And well, since the Japanese navy was already beaten and contained, why not carry out a blockade of the Japanese mainland? Why is always the "We've saved the lives of millions of GIs!" card always played in the argument about the strategical bombing of Japan?


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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:39 am

Quoting moo (Reply 6):
A low tempo campaign of aerial bombing and naval shelling would keep Japans industrial capability at a level which would cow the populace.

A few years of that and Japan might have surrendered anyway

And yet that, coupled with effectively starving the population with a full naval blockade, would likely have resulted in Japanese deaths equal to if not greater than that inflicted by the two bombs.

Quoting moo (Reply 6):
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.
Actually, the cities were primarily chosen because they were left relatively unscathed during previous operations - and they were relatively unscathed because the US military planners avoided them due to "overriding religious and historical importance".

Only partially accurate. The cities selected by the target committee - Kokura, Hiroshima, Niigata, Kyoto, and Yokohama - were all chosen partially due to limited previous damage but primarily based on their military significance at that time. Kyoto was later removed from the list at the request of Secretary of War Stimson since he'd honeymooned there; it was replaced by Nagasaki on July 25, 1945.

From President Truman's diary:

"This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital [Kyoto] or the new [Tokyo]. He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one."
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moo
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:43 am

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
For the U.S., it was just more efficient (risking one plane, and with it the millions of $ spent building that weapon).

Just an FYI, but there was more than one plane involved in Special Mission 13, which was the strike on Hiroshima - there were in fact 7 aircraft in the target area at the time, including one with a second nuclear weapon on board in case the Enola Gay had to turn back for any reason.

The spare delivery aircraft had also delivered six "pumpkin bombs" on training missions over Japan.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:43 am

I'm probably in a different position to most people on here - in that I was born in 1939..........

My earliest memory is of being bombed - in our otherwise-peaceful Hertfordshire village. I also had to watch the sufferings of my parents - my father, born in 1900, had been in the infantry in WW1 but was excused further service in 1939 because, in the meantime, he'd become a lab technician involved in fighting malaria. Even so, he had to re-join the Army in 1940, spending his nights (after a day's work) patrolling the outskirts of our village, in case German paratroops landed. My quiet and unassuming mother was in even worse case, since she was an admiral's secretary - travelling in to the Admiralty in Central London every day, right through the 1940-42 'Blitz,' when London got bombed pretty well all the time..........

By 1945 I was more 'switched-on' - but I knew that I had uncles and cousins who'd played their parts in defeating Germany, and then been sent to the Far East to do the same to Japan.

Then, quite suddenly, the news suddenly arrived that the War was over - that Japan had surrendered.

The joy was 'unconfined,' as they say. Up to then, at about six years old, I'd been expecting years more of war, and yet more uncles and cousins 'copping it.'

All I can say is that, in my opinion. the Allies did exactly the right thing in dropping the A-bombs. There's no room for doubt that doing that saved lives on both sides, by forcing the Japanese to give up. If they HADN'T been dropped, defeating Japan would probably have needed at least two more years of 'conventional warfare,' with many hundreds of thousands more soldiers and civilians killed on both sides?

Given that lots of people (soldiers AND civilians) were dying every day, right through the War, I can't help feeling that the Allies got it right in using the A-bombs as soon as they were available. Otherwise WW2 might very well have gone on until about 1950, with God knows how many more casualties on both sides?
 
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Kiwirob
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:07 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
That would be hypocritical considering how they mostly ignore atrocities committed by the Japanese.

Pot meet kettle, the Allies committed many attrocities during WW2, as victors they were able to whitewash them, many are only coming to light now.

Quote:
American soldiers in the Pacific often deliberately killed Japanese soldiers who had surrendered. According to Richard Aldrich, who has published a study of the diaries kept by United States and Australian soldiers, they sometimes massacred prisoners of war. Dower states that in "many instances ... Japanese who did become prisoners were killed on the spot or en route to prison compounds." According to Aldrich it was common practice for U.S. troops not to take prisoners. This analysis is supported by British historian Niall Ferguson, who also says that, in 1943, "a secret [U.S.] intelligence report noted that only the promise of ice cream and three days leave would ... induce American troops not to kill surrendering Japanese."

So a mans life can be measured in ice cream and leave?

Quote:
Ferguson suggests that "it was not only the fear of disciplinary action or of dishonor that deterred German and Japanese soldiers from surrendering. More important for most soldiers was the perception that prisoners would be killed by the enemy anyway, and so one might as well fight on."[90]

U.S. historian James J. Weingartner attributes the very low number of Japanese in U.S. POW compounds to two important factors, a Japanese reluctance to surrender and a widespread American "conviction that the Japanese were "animals" or "subhuman'" and unworthy of the normal treatment accorded to POWs.[93] The latter reason is supported by Ferguson, who says that "Allied troops often saw the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians—as Untermenschen."[

How about the US soldiers who collected Japanese body parts?

Quote:
When Japanese remains were repatriated from the Mariana Islands after the war, roughly 60 percent were missing their skulls

We all know Soviet soldiers raped pretty much anything that moved in Berlin, but how much do we know about the mass rape of Japanese women by US soldiers? Next to nothing, is the most likely answer, good ole god fearing US farmboys wouldn't do that .

Quote:
According to Svoboda there are two large events of mass rape recorded by Yuki Tanaka at the time that the R.A.A. brothels were closed down in 1946.[13]

According to Tanaka, close to midnight on April 4, an estimated 50 GIs arriving in 3 trucks assaulted the Nakamura Hospital in Omori district.[14] Attacking at the blow of a whistle, over the period of one hour they raped more than 40 patients and an estimated 37 female staff.[14] One of the raped women had a two-day old baby that was killed by being thrown on the floor, and also some male patients who tried to protect the women were killed.[14]

According to Tanaka, on April 11, between 30 and 60 US soldiers cut phone lines to a housing block in Nagoya city, and simultaneously raped "many girls and women between the ages of 10 and 55 years."[

History is written by the victor, you can get away with anything when it you who are telling the tale.

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 4):
It is almost certain the horrible fate suffered by Berlin would have been repeated in Japanese cities as well.

It was repeated in Japanese cities by US service personel, not to be outdone US forces in Europe also did a fair bit.

Quote:
After the fighting moved on to German soil, there was a good deal of rape by combat troops and those immediately following them. The incidence varied between unit and unit according to the attitude of the commanding officer. In some cases offenders were identified, tried by court martial, and punished. The army legal branch was reticent, but admitted that for brutal or perverted sexual offences against German women, some soldiers had been shot – particularly if they happened to be Negroes. Yet I know for a fact that many women were raped by white Americans. No action was taken against the culprits. In one sector a report went round that a certain very distinguished army commander made the wisecrack, 'Copulation without conversation does not constitute fraternisation.
 
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moo
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:16 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
That would be hypocritical considering how they mostly ignore atrocities committed by the Japanese.

Lets not forget that Karl Dönitz was found guilty of many crimes at the Nuremburg trials, but was not sentenced on several of them because of the out cry surrounding the allies identical actions in the pacific theatre of war against the Japanese...
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:52 am

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 11):
how much do we know about the mass rape of Japanese women by US soldiers?

We know it occurred, although not frequently, and while deplorable it was nowhere near as horrific as the 200,000 or so women kidnapped by the Japanese military and forced into sexual slavery as "comfort women" for their troops.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:43 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
The liberation of the Philippines cost 14'000 dead Allied soldiers and 48'000 wounded. If around 60'000 casualties are acceptable for an adventure not carrying strategical importance, then 600'000 would be acceptable too for the capture of the Japanese mainland.

The Philippines were not entirely controlled by the Japanese by the time of the invasion. During the course of the war Philippine and American guerillas controlled a majority of Philippine territory. If the Japanese had controlled more the causality figures would have been higher.



Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
It was my impression that Nagasaki and Hiroshima were spared in order to use the atomic bombs.

Nagasaki had many arms plants. I have a Japanese rifle that was built there, in 1945.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Did the United States ever face war crimes for this?

Who would have prosecuted them?

Quoting bluejuice (Reply 4):
My wife would likely not be alive today if not for the bombs. The war would have continued and countless thousands would have died on both sides.

My mother may have never been born. My grandfather fought in Pacific in WWII and was involved in the liberation of the Philippines. He likely would have been involved in the invasion of Japan. He always said he was damn glad they dropped the big bomb.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
That would be hypocritical considering how they mostly ignore atrocities committed by the Japanese.

The Japanese had one hell of a germ warfare program.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 11):
How about the US soldiers who collected Japanese body parts?

I don't know how wide spread that was, but my grandfather once told me about guys cutting out the eyes of dead Japanese soldiers. Of course they were already dead, so I don't really think it is that terrible.



Quoting kiwirob (Reply 11):
We all know Soviet soldiers raped pretty much anything that moved in Berlin, but how much do we know about the mass rape of Japanese women by US soldiers? Next to nothing, is the most likely answer, good ole god fearing US farmboys wouldn't do that .

I have read a couple of books on that subject and from I have read the occupation troops were the main culprits in that. The Soviets also stole a lot personal property from the Germans; with cameras and bicycles being the most popular.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:02 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
Of course they were already dead, so I don't really think it is that terrible.

Desecrating a body isn't "that terrible"?

Well okay then. Learn something new every day. I wonder if you'd have the same reaction if that happened to someone whose funeral was being held in your church.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:08 pm

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
I just wonder, do they hold resentment for WWII?

Not really. Some older people with conservative views do, but they are a rare breed.

Some in this very thread have said Japan does not properly atone for or acknowledge its misdeeds in WWII, but that demonstrates a deep lack of understanding of the culture here. Japanese people by and large see the war as the result of a band of militaristic madmen, and do not place personal responsibility upon themselves or their relatives for what went down. Therefore it is neither practical or emotionally necessary to spend time dwelling on it - which is a kind of live, and let live attitude that has allowed this culture to survive a lot of other difficulties in its past.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Is Hiroshima or Nagasaki safe in terms of radiation?

Perfectly safe. Both are wonderful cities with a lot of unique character - should you have the chance to visit Japan, I'd wholeheartedly recommend a visit to either. Nagasaki is a bit more difficult to get to than Hiroshima though.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Most important to me... How can anyone from Japan ever forgive America? How and why would either Japan or the US be allies?

Easy to forgive in some ways, especially politically. My argument has always been that a strong negative outcome of using the bombs, probably unforseen at the time, is it allowed Japan to play the victim card for decades - as the only nation in which citizens have been on the receiving end of nuclear weapons. It has given Japan a diplomatic trump card as one of the leading nations against nuclear weapons, which has been a convenient shield as it has willingly played host to US nuclear assets since the middle of the Cold War.

As far as the allies thing - quite simple - political and economic necessity.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
I still believe that once all was said and done, the use of these weapons - while probably unnecessary because the Japanese would have sued for peace before 11/1/45 - still saved countless lives more from the conventional bombings that would have continued aggressively until the Japanese military finally agreed to unconditional surrender, something that the use of the two bombs accelerated.

This is a quite fair and historically accurate viewpoint.   
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:28 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.

This is why the US was never prosecuted and why there's no basis to do so. It would have been a war crime to have attacked civilians fleeing; attack cities where civilians are picking up after being pummeled. To level the military capability of a country is perfectly within the norms of war, which is why when a war begins, you vie for air superiority by destroying the enemy's air force and military installations before launching a ground invasion.

Another reason: it was done to inspire fear and accelerate the acceptance of the terms of surrender.

The unanswered question for all times: was it ethical to do so?
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:40 pm

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

This is a topic that comes up with some frequency.

Throughout history, it’s been the pain inflicted on civilian populations that has, in many, many cases, led to peace. It’s been the unfortunate loss of civilians and the horrors of war taken to their doorstep that’s resulted in the demoralization and end to hostilities. Wars are not only won by military battlefield victories alone; in fact, it’s almost always the opposite (or at least complementary factors) that create victory: the elimination of war-making capacity (destroying a nation’s war-making capability by destroying their manufacturing, rail and transportation, resupply, oil/fuel capability, and so on. And breaking the morale of a country is paramount to that.

There were MAJOR disagreements between Marshall and Ike on this, and on up via Roosevelt to Churchhill on diverting critical resources to break the German people’s will vs breaking their military. Both tactics won out, but it was a tenuous relationship, particularly late in the war when everyone had just had enough, tempers were flaring, Britain was already facing the end of their empire as they knew it, America was going to be a clear world power, the rise of the Soviet menace, et al, et al….ALL of those factors had to be weighed against the strategic aims of not only winning the war, but also—and perhaps MORE importantly—setting the stage for what the world would look like POST WWII. To that end, civilian deaths were necessary to bring Japan to its knees.

WWII is rife with such examples—with concerted efforts by ALL parties to try to inflict harm to destabilize populaces: the V1 and V2 rocket campaigns against Britain by the Germans, the firebombing of Dresden and the major bombing of non-military or manufacturing targets in Germany by the Allies, and so on.

F9—any study of war is to study human nature. The ways nations, leaders and armies have inflicted pain, caused death and destruction, and the myriad factors that go into such decisions have spurred so much scholarship over the decades that it really is an injustice to try to explain in minimalistic terms on an internet forum.

Quoting moo (Reply 6):
A few years of that and Japan might have surrendered anyway - and all accomplished with minimal allied casualties in the mean time.

There wasn't an appetite for doing that, not after having been at war for so long. Remember, much of the world had been at war since 1939 if not, unofficially even before that, and to try to "starve" out Japan and isolate them would have been another lengthy commitment.

There are some intriguing counter-factual arguments to be made here though and some historians have done that. A longer war with Japan by the US would have left the Soviets unchecked. On a very basic—and perhaps oversimplified—level, we can only speculate how (more) disastrous that would have been. Russia’s body count gave them a leg up at the Yalta conference as it was. An ailing Roosevelt only made those negotiations worse. But the palate to shift resources and finish the war in the Pacific after VE Day was something that was of great concern to US leaders.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:06 pm

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
How can anyone from Japan ever forgive America?

It's really pretty simple. They first understand that they started the war with the US at Pearl Harbor. December 7th, 1941. When you start a war like they did then you should expect all of the reactions that the enemy you created can generate. When you start the war you make yourself a target, even though arrogance at the top would probably have denied that.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
If around 60'000 casualties are acceptable for an adventure not carrying strategical importance, then 600'000 would be acceptable too for the capture of the Japanese mainland.

War is not an adventure and retaking the Philippines was a necessity, first to free the prisoners the Japanese were holding in horrid conditions. There was also a long term strategic need for recapturing Clark and Subic Bay.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
And well, since the Japanese navy was already beaten and contained, why not carry out a blockade of the Japanese mainland?

That would have intentionally allow our men and women in the prisons starve to death - something that the American people would never forgive the Military for,

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
Why is always the "We've saved the lives of millions of GIs!" card always played in the argument about the strategical bombing of Japan?

We did, I strongly believe, save he lives of a lot of people by avoiding an invasion. And an invasion would have been necessary as Japan would not have been allowed to negotiate a truce. Not after Pearl Harbor. Japan could not have been allowed to continue without a total

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
The Philippines were not entirely controlled by the Japanese by the time of the invasion. During the course of the war Philippine and American guerillas controlled a majority of Philippine territory.

There are a couple of books by W. E. B. Griffin that cover the achievements of Wendell Fertig, who was the leader of the men who did not surrender. He was an engineer before the war and went into the service as a Lt Colonel during the war. After the US surrendered Fertig started with a few troops and believed that he didn't have the "stature" to attract nd lead more troops. He had his stars made out of silver dollars and made himself a General. When McArthur finally returned to the Philippines there Fertig was commanding 30,000 men under arms. That, in the traditional Army, would be an Army Corps commanded by a 3 star General. The Army, however, never acknowledged Fertig's achievements and he was never given a simple star - probably too many Generals getting their nose bent by his "assuming" the position and the command.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:24 pm

Wow guys! Seriously great information here! A wealth of knowledge here. I was watching World War II in color last night, and obviously the topic was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When I saw a child with horrible burns, it hit me. I know Japan wasn't the only country to have destruction like this.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:48 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 18):
There were MAJOR disagreements between Marshall and Ike on this,

Could you point me towards a source for this? I've never found a sliver of daylight between Ike's position(s) and Marshall's position(s). I've never even heard of any disagreement between them.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:36 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
I don't know how wide spread that was, but my grandfather once told me about guys cutting out the eyes of dead Japanese soldiers. Of course they were already dead, so I don't really think it is that terrible.

Bet you wouldn't think it was ok if it was your granddad having his eyes cut out.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 19):
The Army, however, never acknowledged Fertig's achievements and he was never given a simple star

Sad when McArthur was given a Medal of Honour for absolutely nothing except abandon his command. Now if he had ignored orders and gone down fighting this might have been warranted.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
Desecrating a body isn't "that terrible"?

Not compared to torturing a living person. The Japanese tortured POWs and starved many of them to death. The Japanese were not particularly nice to the Chinese and Koreans either. WWII, in the Pacific, was brutal. There is a great Chinese movie on the subject; 1942. It should be required viewing for those who get their history from modern media and have no idea what the Japanese were up to in China. The Americans weren't all peaches and cream during the war either, but if people want to bad mouth the Americans in WWII they need to study up on what the Japanese did to Allied POWs, the Japanese germ warfare program and what they did in China. I think the average American is taught way more about the war in Europe than the war in the Pacific. The textbooks at the school I teach at barely mention the Pacific war and make no mention of brutal expansion of the Japanese empire. I would suspect that it isn't PC to talk bad about the Japanese in the USA because they are not white. However the Germans are white so we are free to openly criticize everything they did.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
I wonder if you'd have the same reaction if that happened to someone whose funeral was being held in your church.

Cutting somebodies eyes out at a funeral is A LOT different than doing it after a battle, especially if it were hand to hand combat.


I remember back in college I had a professor who stated that the Japanese were not aggressors in WWII. She was a typical self hating leftist, who bad mouthed the USA every chance she could get (she also admitted to being a communist). I asked her about Japan invading Manchuria and occupying Korea and she said they had to do that to in order to gain resources to fight the aggressive USA. When I asked her why those events happened before the US became involved in the war, she threw me out of class.

Some people just can't accept a history that isn't a revision of actual facts. I wonder how many students in that class just believed the nonsense she was spouting off. She was also big giving the Soviets all the credit for defeating Germany and treated the other allies as minor players.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:05 pm

Quoting tailskid (Reply 21):
Could you point me towards a source for this? I've never found a sliver of daylight between Ike's position(s) and Marshall's position(s). I've never even heard of any disagreement between them.

Sure, I'll source something from a few books at home tonight. Rick Atkinson alluded to this in the third and final installment of his excellent books on the war in Western Europe. His notes and bibliography of referenced researched works is impressive.

http://liberationtrilogy.com/books/guns-at-last-light/

If I recall correctly, the discussion was more or less about logistical support and the already-overstretched supply chain for the Allies. The port of Antwerp hadn’t been opened yet because of a strategic error by Monty in not taking the Scheldt. That, compounded with the LONG supply lines from French ports to the front lines, supply shortages of some things, other things in excess, etc all made it a challenging situation (there were hundreds of tons of needed supplies that sat on ships because they couldn’t port, and when they could, it was almost impossible to control it, move it and get it where it needed to go. The famous “Red Ball Express: helped to ameliorate this, but it was grossly inefficient.

Ike was, in his masterful way, trying to balance ALL constituencies. He did this well and held the alliance together, even if it was sometimes too politically driven and conservative. Atkinson made some passing mention that Marshall was starting to believe there ought to be a more concerted effort to end the war in 1944. Ike’s wide-front strategy affirms his dilatory approach. [The counter-factual “what if” historians have a field day with the missed opportunities by the Allies that could have ended the war in Europe sooner…]

Anyhow, my point is that at the same time, Churchhill and the Brits were INSISTENT that X% of all Allied sorties flown be taken to bomb German cities and take out V2 sites. That represented a serious diversion of assets that could have—arguably—been used to support the front, thus moving the front along faster and arguably ending the war sooner. The UK wouldn’t take no for an answer, even though they weren’t really calling the shots then. Ike had to hold the delicate coalition together.

It was that debate that caused some friction between Ike and Marshall, even outside the other players in the arena. It was never serious, however, and you are correct that those two were largely in lockstep and fully trusted each other. Perhaps I’m misrepresenting it in the context of “argument” per se; more like a more thorough strategic discussion than they had had to that point since D-Day because there were SO many fractious parties—Monty and Patton among them, plus the Market Garden debacle, the failure to seize key port at Antwerp, etc.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:18 pm

It continues to stun me every time discussions like these come up that people argue like there was some humane, acceptable script to follow for the largest, most violent conflict in the history of the world. There is hardly a way for anyone who was not of at least a certain age at that time to really understand what that war meant to people.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 19):
That would have intentionally allow our men and women in the prisons starve to death - something that the American people would never forgive the Military for,

Excellent point. The Japanese treated POWs horribly, but a blockade would have ensured that they all died, probably badly.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 22):
Sad when McArthur was given a Medal of Honour for absolutely nothing except abandon his command. Now if he had ignored orders and gone down fighting this might have been warranted.

"Live to fight another day" apparently doesn't mean anything to you.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 23):
She was also big giving the Soviets all the credit for defeating Germany and treated the other allies as minor players.

Funny you should mention that.

On June 6th of this year I was at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. One of the presenters that day is Dr. John McManus, a World War II scholar. He had an interesting comment on that issue. He said that, without D-Day, Germany likely would have still lost the war because the Soviet juggernaut was just too much to overcome. However, he said, while the Western Allies (perhaps mostly the Americans) have said before that, without the Western Allies, the French would be speaking German today, it is likely that without the Western Allies, the French would be speaking Russian today. The Soviets would not have stopped after reaching Berlin; they would've gone straight across Europe and simply replaced Nazi Germany as the rulers of Europe.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:13 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 19):
And an invasion would have been necessary as Japan would not have been allowed to negotiate a truce.

This is highly debatable based on what is now known. Following the May firebombing raids in Tokyo, there was great strain among the public and a large rift growing between the Imperial Army and other elements of the military structure. Tojo still had his loyalists but back-channel communications to Europe and the USSR regarding conditions of surrender had already begun. The most key point is that the Kempeitai (the Japanese equivalent of the Gestapo) had deserters and were beginning to lose their hold in suburban districts of Tokyo - suggesting that citizens were fed up with the firebombing and food conditions and were no longer believing the victory stories coming over the airwaves. Based on all that, it is unlikely the military government would have been able to remain in the capital through the autumn of 1945.

Of course that leaves many questions - would a mass uprising have been possible given the starvation and poor living conditions in most cities? Probably not. Kyushu may have been difficult in an invasion, but it seems the large population centers on Honshu would not have been in any position to fight. There was already evidence of this in Okinawa - as US forces met fierce resistance from the IA garrisons there, but the civilian population did not come to the IA's defense in many instances and tried to hide out amid the fighting (likely due to how terribly the imperial government treated the Okinawans).
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:25 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 22):

Bet you wouldn't think it was ok if it was your granddad having his eyes cut out.

Impossible to know.... If he was killed I would never have been born. I don't see why it would be any more vile than being blown apart by an artillery shell, being burned to death by a flame thrower, or even by being bayoneted in hand to hand combat.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:50 pm

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 25):
He said that, without D-Day, Germany likely would have still lost the war because the Soviet juggernaut was just too much to overcome.

Hitler defeated himself against the Soviets, though. His decision to try and humiliate Stalin by trying to take Stalingrad and the oil fields in the Caucusus simultaneously, instead of pressing on to Moscow while he still had the advantage and momentum is what allowed the Soviets to turn the tide of the war against the overstretched Nazi military.
Had Hitler listened to his commanders and taken Moscow - where all their rail ran through as a hub - and/or taking the oil fields first, then Stalingrad, that would have crippled if not crushed the Soviet ability to fight entirely.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:52 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 23):
Cutting somebodies eyes out at a funeral is A LOT different than doing it after a battle, especially if it were hand to hand combat.

You missed the point entirely. No where in my post did I say it had to be at the funeral. Body desecration is body desecration. What you said was that it isn't so terrible. I find it unacceptable under any circumstances.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:00 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 24):
strategic error by Monty in not taking the Scheldt.

You're being far too kind to Montgomery with that remark. Churchill, Alan Brooke and Monty were in lockstep on their strategy. The strategy was to intentionally create a supply crunch by not opening up Antwerp. Without Antwerp, there wouldn't have been supplies to sustain an offensive both in the (British) north and Patton's third Army in the south; their plan was for Patton to have been frozen out while they gloriously marched through Holland and across the Rhine at Arnhem with the US First Army covering their right flank (and doing most of the combat.) They succeeded in getting the First Army to do their dirty work in the Hurtgen forest and they succeeded in bringing the Third Army to a halt (which allowed the enemy to regroup and defend before the Rhine), but due to Monty's inept, lethargic leadership the Britts failed at Arnhem. It is worth mentioning that simultaneously the Canadians were stuck with the job of reducing all the strong points that the British had bypassed on their road to glory. yuch!

Marshall and Ike were on the same page but Churchill had outmaneuvered them both, it was a mismatch from the start. Ike was a mere General, Marshall was only Brooke's equal while Churchill was a Prime Minister: Roosevelt's equal. Ike was Marshall's man through and through - Marshall had taken him from Lt Colonel to four stars.

Here's a book that will set the stage for this information:
http://www.amazon.com/The-War-Between-Generals-Command/dp/1872197280

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 25):
Quoting kiwirob (Reply 22):
Sad when McArthur was given a Medal of Honour for absolutely nothing except abandon his command. Now if he had ignored orders and gone down fighting this might have been warranted.

"Live to fight another day" apparently doesn't mean anything to you.

kiwirob stated the real truth. The fact is that MacArthur was not the principle reason for the evacuation. He hitched a ride on the PT boats which were evacuating the Top Secret Magic intercept team (actually he was the "cover" for that evacuation.) MacArthur refused to allow the Magic briefing team in his command because he considered them too independent (nor beholding to him personally) so he never received the Magic intelligence which his command was entitled to, but there was a Magic signals intelligence team in the Philippines doing the intercepts and forwarding their data on to Washington. This team had to be gotten off the Philippines before that Japanese arrived lest the whole operation be blown. The allied war effort (in WW2 and later in Korea) would have been far better off had he stayed and let Wainwright escape.

My three favorite historical goats to kick around are Winston, Monty and MacArthur!
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:35 am

Quoting falstaff (Reply 23):
Not compared to torturing a living person. The Japanese tortured POWs

And you think the US didn't do it in WW2, hell they're still doing it today.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 23):
Cutting somebodies eyes out at a funeral is A LOT different than doing it after a battle, especially if it were hand to hand combat.

No it's the same a dead body is a dead body, cutting there eyes out is the ssame, it doesn't matter if they're on a battlefield or in a church. I would have expected better from you.

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 25):
"Live to fight another day" apparently doesn't mean anything to you.

It's still not worthy of a Medal of Honor. To win one you actually have to do something

Quote:
In an Act of Congress of July 9, 1918, the War Department version of the medal required that the recipient "distinguish himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," and also required that the act of valor be performed "in action involving actual conflict with an enemy."

I don't see how getting onboard a PT boat meet the criteria above.

Even Ike thought it was a daft decision.

Then to cap it all off he insisted on invading the Phillipines, there was no strategic need to capture them. He wanted to wade ashore on the beach and announce "I have returned."

14000 Allied troops died so MacArthur could make that speech.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:07 am

Quoting tailskid (Reply 30):
My three favorite historical goats to kick around are Winston, Monty and MacArthur!

When you start reading about MacArthur he was a bit of a joke, a very brave man in WW1 then became a complete pussy in WW2, and an inept fool in Korea.

I'm amazed at how Dugout Doug recieved the Distinguiished Flying Cross, the man was not a pilot. The citation reads

Quote:
Stratemeyer awarded MacArthur the Distinguished Flying Cross ("for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight"), on the ground that MacArthur's flying visits to Korea were made "under conditions presenting the threat of hostile air interception."

Basically he got on a plane and flew to Korea, big deal that, must be worthy of a medal, in fact all servicemen who flew to Korea should have been given one, if Dougout Dugs was valid.

He also recieved the Air Medal.

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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:55 pm

First, being in Japan, the atomic bombings are a touchy subject but one that-surprisingly- many Japanese friends and I can go on for hours discussing about.

Quoting F9Animal (Thread starter):
My country dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan. We killed thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Was the United States ever in trouble for this action? Did the United States ever face war crimes for this? Isn't it wrong to target civilians in war?

This whole war was involving civilians. The entire japanese populace was mobilized for the war effort. Even if they didn't want to. This was a totalitarian regime that used the Emperor as a puppet...or rather, positioned him to a place where people looked as the goal of the war- glory to the Emperor.

That's how the Japanese were mobilized.

Second, the estimates of a full-scale land invasion by the USA were that it would kill ~2,000,000 Japanese soldiers, US Soldiers and civilians, and probably would've dragged the war on for another 3 years or so.

The USA was also getting weary of collaborating with the USSR.

The Emperor, in many documents (especially ones released rather recently,) expressed 1) a desire to AVOID war with the USA 2) a desire to end the war as soon as Iwo Jima and Okinawa were lost 3) and almost threatened to completely obliterate the military in an effort to draw the government to agree to the surrender after the atomic bombings.

In my opinion, and the opinion of many of my japanese colleagues, the bombs were justified. But does the world want to see them used again? No. Not one bit.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 33):
This whole war was involving civilians. The entire japanese populace was mobilized for the war effort. Even if they didn't want to. This was a totalitarian regime that used the Emperor as a puppet...or rather, positioned him to a place where people looked as the goal of the war- glory to the Emperor.

That's how the Japanese were mobilized.

The same happened here in the UK - you don't need an undying devotion to a god-Emperor in order to mobilise the populace for war.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:15 pm

Quoting moo (Reply 34):

The same happened here in the UK - you don't need an undying devotion to a god-Emperor in order to mobilise the populace for war.

You certainly don't, it's always amazed me at how quickly NZ mobilised for both world wars, especially WW1. The total population of New Zealand in 1914 was just over 1 million. In all, 120,000 New Zealanders enlisted, of whom 103,000 or 10 per cent of the Kiwi population served overseas. A total of 18,500 New Zealanders died in or because of the war, and almost 50,000 more were wounded.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:45 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 17):
Another reason: it was done to inspire fear and accelerate the acceptance of the terms of surrender.

Good point. It was the first known use of "shock and awe" tactics, although it wasn't called such back then. A lot of historical commentary says that after no word of surrender was heard from the Japanese after Hiroshima that the decision was made to go ahead and bomb Nagasaki. Fact is, the Japanese command would not have had a lot of news and photos of Hiroshima by the time Nagasaki was bombed. Certainly not enough time for the leaders to decide 1) what had actually occurred in Hiroshima; 2) the extent of the destruction; and 3) if this was the U.S.'s way of conducting the war going forward. Nagasaki was bombed on just the third day after Hiroshima, which means the bomb was loaded in the B-29 within 48 hours after Hiroshima was obliterated. Not enough time in my opinion to get word back to U.S. leaders about surrendering. In my opinion, the U.S. had already planned to bomb a second target to send a clear and convincing message to the Japs that this was the way forward in the campaign. Unbeknownst to the Japanese there wasn't another bomb available and wouldn't be for some time after Nagasaki.

One point people forget when debating the claims about whether the Japanese would have surrendered or not had the invasion gone forward: the Allies' terms for surrender were "unconditional surrender", meaning the Japanese could not ask for any conditions or terms. They had to surrender in total; utter capitulation. That would be a very hard pill to swallow for any society and it is a term of war that hasn't been used since WWII. Most conflicts since then have had negotiated surrenders or settlements. So to those who say the Japanese would have surrendered once an invasion started, I say BULL. Since their culture was based on notions of self-sacrifice and honor, given a choice between UNCONDITIONAL surrender or honor I think hundreds of thousands would have taken their own lives or sacrificed them in honor of their homeland and emperor.
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:48 pm

It's still a debate whether it were the atomic bombs that stopped World War II. I do think that the dropping of those bombs at that moment in time saved a lot of lives in the ensuing years, possibly up to this date, as Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed how horrific the results were.

There is quite some evidence that suggests that not the bombs, but the invasion of the Soviet Union in Manchuria was the final nail in the coffin of the Japanese military. The non-agression pact between Japan and the Soviet Union gave the former hope that there was still a possibility of surrender on terms. The timing of the talks between Japanese leaders suggests that the second bomb was dropped after the decision to surrender was taken, these talks were held after, as promised, Stalin started the invasion exactly three months after the end of the war in Europe.
 
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:40 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 28):
Hitler defeated himself against the Soviets, though. His decision to try and humiliate Stalin by trying to take Stalingrad and the oil fields in the Caucusus simultaneously, instead of pressing on to Moscow while he still had the advantage and momentum is what allowed the Soviets to turn the tide of the war against the overstretched Nazi military.
Had Hitler listened to his commanders and taken Moscow - where all their rail ran through as a hub - and/or taking the oil fields first, then Stalingrad, that would have crippled if not crushed the Soviet ability to fight entirely.

This is widely recognized as Hitler’s downfall (although there are many decisions that could be found culpable, although none as damning as this). Oil was SUCH a compelling need for the Germans that they were almost forced to do it. I read a great book, Hitler’s Mediterranean Strategy (can’t recall author), that went into the push for oil in great detail: after the Germans were forced from North Africa, they abandoned the Middle East by and large, which they shouldn’t have done. But the Med has always been a ‘series of islands’ in war, and greatly misunderstood and mis-executed all the time. That said, Hitler knew Stalin would cross him eventually.

Quoting tailskid (Reply 30):
You're being far too kind to Montgomery with that remark. Churchill, Alan Brooke and Monty were in lockstep on their strategy. The strategy was to intentionally create a supply crunch by not opening up Antwerp. Without Antwerp, there wouldn't have been supplies to sustain an offensive both in the (British) north and Patton's third Army in the south; their plan was for Patton to have been frozen out while they gloriously marched through Holland and across the Rhine at Arnhem with the US First Army covering their right flank (and doing most of the combat.)

That’s interesting to hear. I’ve heard this argument before as well. I don’t want to sound too conspiratorial by concurring fully with you, because that would put a lot of blood on the hands of the British, but it is true that the failure to capture, secure and open the port of Antwerp sooner was one of the biggest failings in the entire war. There’s no question that Patton had the Germans on the run and that he could have taken the southern arm all the way to Berlin and done so with enough speed, had he been given the supply and logistical support, to end the war sooner. Letting the Germans slip the Falaise pocket was a blunder, not giving Patton the gas he needed, and coddling Monty (again, politically wise but questionable decision by Ike) all meant the war dragged on. Antwerp would have been HUGE in shortening the war.

Quoting tailskid (Reply 30):
They succeeded in getting the First Army to do their dirty work in the Hurtgen forest and they succeeded in bringing the Third Army to a halt (which allowed the enemy to regroup and defend before the Rhine),

And let’s not forget that even fighting the battle of the Hurtgen Forest was the dumbest damn thing the Allies might have done in the war (other than the aforementioned failure to seize Antwerp and not cinching the noose in the Falaise gap). It was more like a 3-month siege, costly, futile and damn dumb. I put that one on Ike too, all because he wanted the broad front to placate the Brits.
 
Ken777
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:12 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 33):
This whole war was involving civilians.

We tend to believe that civilians who put on the uniform in a war time environment are no longer civilians. That's utter crap. Armies are made up of civilians serving for a (hopefully) brief time - like 2 years when drafted during the Vietnam War. Those civilians are directed by professional military personnel (whose families are normally civilians). There is no way to avoid harm to civilians in war,

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 33):
In my opinion, and the opinion of many of my japanese colleagues, the bombs were justified. But does the world want to see them used again? No. Not one bit.

We don't want to see it used again because of the radiation involved. At the same time the fastest way to end a war militarily is to oil the enemy as fast as possible - and with our regards to civilians. ISIS is probably going to be a good example of not doing this. We really need to get some very heavy air strikes and bring in as many drones as possible and kill the SOBs.
 
slider
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:53 pm

Quoting SuperCaravelle (Reply 37):
It's still a debate whether it were the atomic bombs that stopped World War II.

I disagree. I know we've talked about this seemingly ad nauseam, but there's no evidence to suggest the Japanese were ready or even remotely inclined to surrender.

No theory that the bomb was unnecessary has been validated through any official records—whether they be declassified intel reports, diplomatic documents and letters, or any other account. The previously discussed notion that an invasion and blockade would have been far more deadly for both parties and would have lasted far longer. This whole revisionist history notion that the US shouldn’t have dropped it, or that there were other alternatives just doesn’t hold up under intellectual or academic scrutiny.

Like I said earlier, the US didn’t have the stomach for dragging the country through several more years of war….certainly not when we had to help rebuild Europe and, well, put the world back together and take a front seat in doing so, especially given the Soviet menace. No, it was the notion that we would keep sending B-29s across Honshu and obliterate Tokyo. That’s it.
 
tailskid
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:01 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 38):
Patton had the Germans on the run and that he could have taken the southern arm all the way to Berlin

Patton couldn't have gone all the way to Berlin in the fall of 44 on his own, but he could have seized everything west of the Rhine which would have had enormous tactical consequences (many divisions would have been freed up from force protection duties and the Bulge couldn't have happened.)

Quoting Slider (Reply 38):
the battle of the Hurtgen Forest was the dumbest damn thing the Allies might have done in the war ......I put that one on Ike...

That wasn't Ike's fault. The Roer Dams had to be taken lest the British Army get caught in the flood plain below the dams while attempting to cross the Rhine and the Germans then opened the dams. If the British Army was to take the lead in the north as Churchill insisted, those dams had to be taken. This was not optional. Remember the alternative to the "broad front" was the "pencil push" which was to be the British offensive in the north.

IMO "the dumbest damn thing the Allies did" was to invade Italy in 43. Marshall was opposed to this. He wanted to take Sardinia and Corsica and from there on to Southern France. That would have tripled the German supply lines and left them open to air attack all along the way. Also for the allied armies, heavy on artillery, armor, and trucking; fighting on level ground would have been far more tactically suitable than pushing infantry up hundreds of miles of mountain valleys, always in range of dug in German artillery. In the end, all Italy offered was a tour of the Alps anyway.

In contention for even dumber than invading Italy was the invasion of Crete (the attempted invasion of Greece.) That set back the operation in Africa by a year.
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:02 am

To answer your question on whether or not the US was punished for using the atom bomb; since the weapon was used for the first time, there were no laws for or against its usage. In fact, such little was known about its power that the US didn't even fully comprehend its power and effect on the environment its used on. And since the US and the Allies were the victors in WW2, they weren't going to make it sound like their usage was a crime, and they weren't going to include it in the Rules of War, like incendiary weapons in some situations are.

BTW, are nuclear weapons still considered legal in the Rules of War, or are they outlawed?
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:49 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
Absolutely, however the cities were chosen based on their military and industrial significance, not to rack up a body count.

To put it in perspective, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were roughly equivalent to, say, Buffalo and Rochester, NY.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 26):
This is highly debatable based on what is now known. Following the May firebombing raids in Tokyo, there was great strain among the public and a large rift growing between the Imperial Army and other elements of the military structure. Tojo still had his loyalists but back-channel communications to Europe and the USSR regarding conditions of surrender had already begun.

The thing is that that is what is known now. At the time, this wasn't clear. And given that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor while sending a peace envoy to Washington, D.C. pretty much meant that there would be no "terms" of surrender. It would be unconditional or not at all.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 39):
We tend to believe that civilians who put on the uniform in a war time environment are no longer civilians. That's utter crap. Armies are made up of civilians serving for a (hopefully) brief time - like 2 years when drafted during the Vietnam War. Those civilians are directed by professional military personnel (whose families are normally civilians). There is no way to avoid harm to civilians in war,

And that's just it. War is hell. Civilians will suffer and die.

There is one other point to make: why were two atom bombs necessary? Because Japan didn't surrender after Hiroshima. Japan had been taken over in a frenzy over the war. Individual Japanese boys put themselves into airplanes and willingly flew themselves into Allied ships. Even after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Japan, they didn't surrender. It wasn't until the second one that they finally were shocked out of their frenzy.

We could have dropped several kilotons of conventional munitions on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed a lot more people. It's not as if there is anything magical about nuclear bombs that makes them more destructive (leaving fallout aside) than kilotons of conventional munitions. It's just that their destruction is more concentrated into a smaller package. We could have leveled those two cities in a different way.

It was the shock of those two bombs that took the Japanese out of their frenzy and finally got them to surrender.

And since Nagasaki, the human race has never set off another nuclear bomb in anger.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
NAV30
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:56 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 38):
but it is true that the failure to capture, secure and open the port of Antwerp sooner was one of the biggest failings in the entire war. There’s no question that Patton had the Germans on the run and that he could have taken the southern arm all the way to Berlin and done so with enough speed, had he been given the supply and logistical support, to end the war sooner.

Slider, in fairness, one has to bear in mind that pretty well all the Allied commanders had experienced the 'through the mud, through the blood' strategies of WW1. The decision was therefore taken that, advancing through France, Belgium. and Holland, Allied troops would not fight pitched battles to capture every next village occupied by the enemy, but would bottle them up and go round them wherever possible, leaving them to surrender when their supplies ran out.

This worked brilliantly, in that the Allies reached the Rhine in September 1944, only three months after D-Day; but there, with the failure of the Arnhem operation to capture and hold a bridge over the Rhine, with winter coming on in any case, the offensive had to slacken, while the rest of France and Holland (especially all the towns where the Germans were still holding out on the coast) were 'mopped up.'

Antwerp (and the river leading to it) was captured and cleared of mines by November 1944, and the port went back into use at that time:-

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/antwerp_and_world_war_two.htm
 
tailskid
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:35 am

Quoting Nav30 (Reply 44):
France, Belgium. and Holland, Allied troops would not fight pitched battles to capture every next village occupied by the enemy,

You must be thinking of the island hopping campaign in the Pacific. In Europe the advance was methodical, they did take every village along the way the exception being along the coast of France and Belgium where the strong points meant to repel invasion were left behind by the British and delegated to the Canadians. In the US sector the western end of the Brittany peninsula was left behind by the main advance and fought as a separate battle. There were of course tactical maneuvers by armored units, but anything the lead units left behind were quickly reduced.
 
SuperCaravelle
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:10 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 40):

I disagree. I know we've talked about this seemingly ad nauseam, but there's no evidence to suggest the Japanese were ready or even remotely inclined to surrender.

No theory that the bomb was unnecessary has been validated through any official records—whether they be declassified intel reports, diplomatic documents and letters, or any other account. The previously discussed notion that an invasion and blockade would have been far more deadly for both parties and would have lasted far longer. This whole revisionist history notion that the US shouldn’t have dropped it, or that there were other alternatives just doesn’t hold up under intellectual or academic scrutiny.

Like I said earlier, the US didn’t have the stomach for dragging the country through several more years of war….certainly not when we had to help rebuild Europe and, well, put the world back together and take a front seat in doing so, especially given the Soviet menace. No, it was the notion that we would keep sending B-29s across Honshu and obliterate Tokyo. That’s it.

I'm not talking about alternatives, I think from US perspective it absolutely was the optimal thing to do at that point. It's just that from Japanese perspective the invasion of the Soviets in that time period was a very significant event too.
 
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einsteinboricua
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:08 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 42):
BTW, are nuclear weapons still considered legal in the Rules of War, or are they outlawed?

If you consider nuclear warfare as a "scorched earth" policy (you're effectively ruining the non-war resources of the enemy), then yes, they're outlawed. Nuclear weapons today are a deterrent, and I think China and India have committed to a no-first use (ie. unless they're attacked with nuclear weapons, they won't use them).

So while they're not outlawed, they're effectively in check.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
slider
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:34 pm

Quoting tailskid (Reply 41):
That wasn't Ike's fault. The Roer Dams had to be taken lest the British Army get caught in the flood plain below the dams while attempting to cross the Rhine and the Germans then opened the dams. If the British Army was to take the lead in the north as Churchill insisted, those dams had to be taken. This was not optional. Remember the alternative to the "broad front" was the "pencil push" which was to be the British offensive in the north.

Ah, good point. I forgot about that. The push to the Ruhr valley had to go through there.

Quoting tailskid (Reply 41):
IMO "the dumbest damn thing the Allies did" was to invade Italy in 43.
Quoting tailskid (Reply 41):
He wanted to take Sardinia and Corsica and from there on to Southern France.

Operation Dragoon was wildly successful. Hell, the Allies stormed up from Marseilles, freed Lyon, got as far as the Belfort Gap and the Vosges before stopping. Due to supply chain problems again. Had this thrust been made with more punch from the start, in LIEU of Italy, the war probably would have ended sooner. Damn good point.

And the Allies could have sealed off Italy at the top of the boot, blockaded it from the sea, thus negating a ton of German divisions altogether. Italy was a damn slog that doesn't get enough visibility for how utterly miserable it was.

Quoting Nav30 (Reply 44):
Antwerp (and the river leading to it) was captured and cleared of mines by November 1944, and the port went back into use at that time:-

Right, but it was about (and correct me here if I'm wrong, going from memory) at least three months from the time Antwerp was taken to when the port was operational---HUGE delay that impacted the logistics of the Allies unduly.

Quoting SuperCaravelle (Reply 46):
I'm not talking about alternatives, I think from US perspective it absolutely was the optimal thing to do at that point. It's just that from Japanese perspective the invasion of the Soviets in that time period was a very significant event too.

Oh, OK, gotcha...
 
NAV30
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RE: The US Dropping Atomic Bombs On Japan World War 2

Fri Oct 24, 2014 6:21 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 48):
And the Allies could have sealed off Italy at the top of the boot, blockaded it from the sea, thus negating a ton of German divisions altogether. Italy was a damn slog that doesn't get enough visibility for how utterly miserable it was.

'Italy first' was kind of 'unavoidable,' Slider. It's not commonly known that Italy had more troops in the North African campaign than Germany, and (contrary to popular history) they often fought quite well. What's more, Italy had a good air force and a good navy. There was probably no alternative but to knock out Italy before going on to invade 'mainland' Europe. It's not commonly known how close the Normandy invasion came to being delayed due to continued resistance in Italy. The Axis held on fast to the 'Gustav Line' in Northern Italy - in fact the Allies only broke through the 'Gustav line' a couple of weeks before the Normandy invasion on June 6th., 1944?

"Mark Clark’s disastrous attempt to split the Gustav Line in the Liri Valley died on the banks of the Rapido River (“the bloody Rapido”) in January 1944, and when the Allied end run at Anzio also failed, there was now a stalemate on two fronts. In early February the U.S. Thirty-fourth Infantry Division failed to capture the western anchor of the Gustav Line, and one of the holiest shrines of Roman Catholicism, the abbey of Monte Cassino. A second offensive in mid-February again failed and resulted in one of the most hotly debated incidents of the war–the destruction of the abbey by Allied bombers.

"The Third Battle of Cassino in mid-March was preceded by a thunderous artillery barrage from nine hundred guns and a massive aerial bombardment of the town. Follow-up ground attacks by New Zealand troops once again ended in failure. Only with the launch of Operation Diadem in May 1944 did the Gustav Line finally collapse when the Second Polish Corps succeeded in capturing the abbey on May 17, thus ending one of the longest and bloodiest engagements of the Italian campaign."


http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battles-of-monte-cassino

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