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Thread: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

  1. #1
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    Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    As reported on the BBC website

    One for the historians this but I remember an argument made that Japan was going to surrender to the Soviet Union and was negotiating terms, and the Americans did not want Japan run by the Soviets, so Hiroshima was bombed

    Nagasaki was targeted a week or so later, purely as a demonstration of power to the soviets.

    There was no need for the two atomic bombs as Japan was surrendering anyway.

    How accurate was that argument

    :-?

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks
    As reported on the BBC website

    One for the historians this but I remember an argument made that Japan was going to surrender to the Soviet Union and was negotiating terms, and the Americans did not want Japan run by the Soviets, so Hiroshima was bombed

    Nagasaki was targeted a week or so later, purely as a demonstration of power to the soviets.

    There was no need for the two atomic bombs as Japan was surrendering anyway.

    How accurate was that argument

    :-?
    Not very since Japan didn't surrender to anybody at the time of the Nagasaki bombing for starters. Why would Japan "choose" to surrender to the Soviets? It goes against the Japanese mindset of the time for one thing. Even if the Japanese somehow lost their spirit at the last second, picking Soviet control over the US alternative doesn't make sense. Did the German's rush east to embrace the Soviets at the tail-end of the European campaign in the same war? There's a reason why they didn't and the Japanese had two eyes and a brain as well.

    I think a better case can be made that the Japanese chose to surrender to the U.S. before the Russians had a chance to take more than Sakhalin island.

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    I suspect this argument, or variant thereof was proffered by supporters of CND :-?

    I do remember some of them saying how the second bomb was not needed.

    In these "enlightened" times, our history must be revised to be politically correct :roll: ](*,)

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    Even on the day of the Japanese surrender announcement, there was a (real) conspiracy that was being carried out in certain parts of the Japanese military to prevent the emperor from broadcasting the surrender declaration (a recording actually) and take him hostage, then declare a military state that would continue to fight until, well, ever hear the phrase "last man standing"?

    Due to the bravery of certain individuals and a lot of luck, the coup failed.

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    I'll refuse to say anything more on this politically loaded topic than this: that, no matter what excuses are made, and no matter what facts apply, nothing can change the fact that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a war crime. Explicite targetting of civilians is wrong, period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    I'll refuse to say anything more on this politically loaded topic than this: that, no matter what excuses are made, and no matter what facts apply, nothing can change the fact that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a war crime. Explicite targetting of civilians is wrong, period.
    Was the London Blitz a "war crime?" There's nothing wrong with you feeling this way GJ as long as you apply the same yard-stick to all parties responsible for the killing of non-combatants. No one came out of that war clean. IMO war in general should be a crime. If the A-bombs saved American lives in a war the Japanese started, I can live with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    I'll refuse to say anything more on this politically loaded topic than this: that, no matter what excuses are made, and no matter what facts apply, nothing can change the fact that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a war crime. Explicite targetting of civilians is wrong, period.
    "Politically loaded" is right. My uncle was a civilian until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and, along with the other Axis powers, devastated much of the world in an attempt to take it over. Then he was sent out into the Pacific (my father was in Europe). He wasn't there for the fun of it. My uncle would have been in the Japanese invasion and very likely would have died. An invasion would have done far more damage to Japan, killed more "civilians" on both sides, as well as made Americans far less willing to go easy on Japan post-war.

    It's interesting seeing the attitude of folks from different generations regarding "The Bomb." While there were some that were against the use of the bomb from my parents' generation, I would be very careful making self-righteous statements to someone of that age. They aren't removed from what the war was about - a life and death struggle for the survival of nations and peoples where tens of millions of civilians were dying. Now, people of my generation are enough removed from the war to have a less clear attitude, but it tends to depend on how much one has learned from their parents or grandparents. In the last couple of decades, it seems to be fashionable to assume it was all a big mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer17
    Was the London Blitz a "war crime?" There's nothing wrong with you feeling this way GJ as long as you apply the same yard-stick to all parties responsible for the killing of non-combatants. No one came out of that war clean.
    The London Blitz was a war crime, the bombing of Dresden was a war crime, and the Japanese invasion of China most definitely constituted a war crime. You are correct in saying that nobody came out clean; but this thread concerned a specific event, not the war in general.

    IMO war in general should be a crime.
    I'll agree with you there. It is unfortunate - no, tragic - that the mass murder that is war has ever been necessary in our history.

    If the A-bombs saved American lives in a war the Japanese started, I can live with it.
    How many American lives saved, versus the number of Japanese lives lost? Was it really worth it?

    Van Rijn: Please don't pull the patronizing "this generation has it all wrong" stuff on me. I understand what WWII was about, and what was at stake there. Also, what makes you think that the alternate plan - an invasion of Japan - was what I think of as the "right" way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    ..The London Blitz was a war crime, the bombing of Dresden was a war crime, and the Japanese invasion of China most definitely constituted a war crime. You are correct in saying that nobody came out clean; but this thread concerned a specific event, not the war in general.
    Your distinction is fallacious. There wouldn't have been the A-bombings without the war.
    How many American lives saved, versus the number of Japanese lives lost? Was it really worth it?
    Yes. As Van Rijn correctly points out, an American invasion of Japan would have resulted in many more casualties on both sides than the A-bombings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones

    How many American lives saved, versus the number of Japanese lives lost? Was it really worth it?
    Well, yeah. You would have many hundreds of thousands of Americans and Japanese killed in an invasion along with hundreds of thousands of Japanese killed in conventional bombing. I don't see a whole lot of good choices here.

    Van Rijn: Please don't pull the patronizing "this generation has it all wrong" stuff on me. I understand what WWII was about, and what was at stake there. Also, what makes you think that the alternate plan - an invasion of Japan - was what I think of as the "right" way?
    I don't recall saying that. I do have a bit of a problem with an "It was wrong, and I won't listen to any counterarguments" attitude, though. By the way, I know very well that I don't understand what WWII was all about. I'm too removed from it.

    As for alternative plans, what would you have chosen?

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    My husband is 65 years old. We may never have met and gotten married in 1972.

    Why?

    His father was drafted into the Army in 44 and sent to the Pacific. He was slated to be in the second wave to hit the Japanese Home Islands on that "D-Day" being organized. This if the Bombs were not dropped and Emperor made his famous statement to end hostilities. He served with the Occupying Forces instead and told me a few stories from his time being there (stationed at Sendai). He was finally released from the Army in 1946 as Staff Sgt. and went back to his family. If that invasion had happened, then my husband's mother would have been a widow trying to raise a 5 year old son in rural Missouri on her own.

    According to my father in law, the Japanese hated the Russians. In the beginning, the Soviet soldiers would be found dead in the streets at night if they went out by themselves. After that, they went out only in groups.

    Part of his job was disarming the Japanese Military and going through warehouses. He also told me of finding a warehouse with medical jars filled with human body parts. Part of some scientific experimentations .....some of those parts were from American POWs.

    At the time, it was hard for me to believe him. Oh sure, you read and heard enough about the Nazi medical atrocities but there was not much about the Japanese being involved in this kind of stuff. I knew about the Japanese POW camps, Bataan and all that. I knew about the "Rape of Shanghai" and the Japanese Army atrocitis/brutalities in Manchuria from a long ways back. But medical experiments? Not much was ever released except from the mouths of a few old vets like my father in law who saw the evidence.

    By the way, he died in November 1999 at age 86.

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks
    As reported on the BBC website

    One for the historians this but I remember an argument made that Japan was going to surrender to the Soviet Union and was negotiating terms, and the Americans did not want Japan run by the Soviets, so Hiroshima was bombed

    Nagasaki was targeted a week or so later, purely as a demonstration of power to the soviets.

    There was no need for the two atomic bombs as Japan was surrendering anyway.

    How accurate was that argument

    :-?
    It's not very accurate.

    The Japanese were trying to use the Soviets (who had a non-agression pact with the Japanese) as 'honest brokers' to negotiate a peace settlement with the US. This was not officially sanctioned, and the people trying to do it would have been shot if they had been discovered.

    As it turned out, the Soviets (Molotov?) strung the Japanese along for a while being non-committal, then announced that they would not be renewing the non-agression pact that was due to expire in early August 1945.

    The US did want the war to end before the Soviets attacked the Japanese on cessation of the pact as there would be land claims and occupation forces that the US would have preferred not to deal with.

    The Japanese were, under the military government, prepared to "fight to the last" against any invasion of the home islands. Any Allied invasion force would have suffered enormous casualties - as would the Japanese (including a very large proportion of civilians).

    After the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb, the Japanese government still would not surrender in accordance with the Potsdam Proclaimation. When the second bomb was dropped, the Emperor demanded that the military government surrender. There were moves in the Japanese military to gag and depose the Emperor, but the majority remained loyal to the Emperor and wanted to end the war.

    Even the Emperor's speech to his people did not mention the word "surrender". Most Japanese actually believed that they had won - until occupation forces arrived.

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    BTW, I always was impressed by the way the Soviets finally declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945, so they could get a jump on their Asian land grabs, and claim to have been at war with Japan in WWII.

    What bravery!

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    Thankyou for clearing that up about the Soviet involvement.

    On BBC Radio 4 they had an interview with the pilot of the Enola Gay
    Listen here

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Maksutov
    BTW, I always was impressed by the way the Soviets finally declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945, so they could get a jump on their Asian land grabs, and claim to have been at war with Japan in WWII.

    What bravery!
    AFAIK, Stalin had promised to the Allies that three month after the end of the war in Europe (8. May) he would declare war on Japan. The Allies wanted that to increase pressure on Japan. Josef was a bad guy, but now to say the Soviet declaration of war against Japan was something unexpected or something not considered good by the allies doesn't history justice.

    Harald

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    I'll refuse to say anything more on this politically loaded topic than this: that, no matter what excuses are made, and no matter what facts apply, nothing can change the fact that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a war crime. Explicite targetting of civilians is wrong, period.
    IMO, you're just dead wrong here.

    Dropping the bomb was the best of two bad choices. The Japanese were NOT going to surrender. They were stockpiling weapons of all sorts, especially suicide weapons for a determined resistence to invasion. They were training children to attack tanks by carrying explosives and run up to tanks to detonate them in contact with the tank. They were trainning civilians to swim out to ships and landing craft with bombs for suicide attacks. They were issuing pikes and spears to all civilians for attacks on invading troops. Large numbers of aircraft and small boats were assembled for Kamikaze attacks.

    If we had to invade, the carnage to both our troops and Japanese civilians and troops would have far greater than the the number killed and wounded from the A-bomb attacks.

    Our only alternatives were to invade or impose a lengthy blockade and starve the entire nation until thery could no longer resist -- a far crueler fate, and one which would maximize civilian suffering, since food would ahve been channeled to the military. And conventional attacks (which killed far more people than the nukes) would have been continued.

    An earlier post mentioned the attempted coup by officers determined to continue the war. This dramatically underscores the forces militating against surrender. The coup involved attacking the Emperor. There is nothing in western culture that I can think of which is more sacred than the person of the Emperor. The impact/revulsion of such an attack on the body of a Pope pales in comparison to the Japanese feelings about the Emperor. Yet these guys tried it, in order to avoid a surrender.

    They would NOT have quit without the dropping of the A-bombs. To imply that it was done for political reasons to demonstrate our power simply ignores the documented facts. I rank the idea just after denial of the Holacaust.

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    A point that I always bring up when this subject arises: dropping the A-bombs on Japan not only ended WWII, but most likely prevented WWIII. Human nature being what it is, we would have eventually used atomic bombs - one way or another. It was the spectre of the destruction which was wrought upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki that prevented the use of atomic weapons in later years. Those images haunted humankind throughout the Cold War and, most likely, prevented our total annihilation.

    Do I feel bad for the loss of innocents in those two cities? Sure I do. But people need to understand that tens of millions of people died in that war! Japan was an aggressor nation and bears much of the responsibility for the outcome of the war. (A strong argument could be made that WWII actually began in 1936 with Japan's invasion of Manchuria.) As ye reap, so shall ye sow. Those who would sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

    I mourn the loss of all of those killed in that horrid war. To the dead, it matters little how they were killed. I especially honor those killed in the atomic bombings, for their sacrifice may well have saved us all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krevel
    But people need to understand that tens of millions of people died in that war! Japan was an aggressor nation and bears much of the responsibility for the outcome of the war.
    And Japanese civilians were not responsible for what their government did.

    That said... Yes, I might be wrong about the use of the atomic bomb. Perhaps it was the only way to end the war without further massive casualties... But it was still a crime, and something of the sort that should never be repeated.

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    Sammy said

    "They were training children to attack tanks by carrying explosives and run up to tanks to detonate them in contact with the tank."

    Did the military planners who organised the bomb drop not realise that it would lead to the direct death of children? How is this different?

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    Quote Originally Posted by begtets
    Sammy said

    "They were training children to attack tanks by carrying explosives and run up to tanks to detonate them in contact with the tank."

    Did the military planners who organised the bomb drop not realise that it would lead to the direct death of children? How is this different?
    I think you missed his point. There would have been many more civilian casualties (including children) had the bombs not been dropped.

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    Not really, the quote could have been made without mentioning children, just simply that "operatives" were being trained. The word children was used to make the matter emotive but not I don't think by Sammy he/she was simply quoting, if you know what I mean. :-?

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    War is Hell

    Don't go picking no fights.

    Oh yes, one more thing.

    It's Over. Learn and move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    And Japanese civilians were not responsible for what their government did.
    And I agree with you. At that point in the war, many Japanese were not happy with their leaders and were against the war. But where were they in the early part of the war when the victories were rolling in? I'll let you draw your own analogies to modern times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    That said... Yes, I might be wrong about the use of the atomic bomb. Perhaps it was the only way to end the war without further massive casualties... But it was still a crime, and something of the sort that should never be repeated.
    Again, I agree, but this time with some caveats. Crime? Perhaps. In war, we laud those who are the most efficient killers, in peace time, we condemn them to death. I really don't know, and I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of those who decided to drop "the bomb". It's too easy to look back from our present vantage point and condemn those who had to make the tough descisions. Once again, I think that the onus is on those who started the war.

    The Japanese government has never apologized for starting the war nor for their actions, like the rape of Nanking, during the war.

    WWII holds many lessons for us. Pity that we haven't learned them yet.

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    Re: Hiroshima Remembers atomic bomb

    Quote Originally Posted by Maksutov
    BTW, I always was impressed by the way the Soviets finally declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945, so they could get a jump on their Asian land grabs, and claim to have been at war with Japan in WWII.

    What bravery!
    As kucharek pointed out, the Soviet Union agreed to declare war on Japan three months after the end of the war in Europe and they did. Let me point out that this is one of the few agreements that the Soviets ever kept!

    Just imagine if we hadn't used the A-bombs, had gone ahead with the invasion, ultimately requiring the assistance of Britain and the Soviet Union. Imagine Japan and Tokyo partitioned into occupation zones like Germany, Austria and Berlin. Imagine a Stalinist government on Hokkaido today starving their people as a sign of their "self-sufficiency". No thanks! We did the right thing.

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    Funny thing about the title of the thread...

    Do you think Hiroshima will actually forget the atomic bomb?

    I've seen some news blurbs stating that people are "forgetting" the bombings...I don't believe that...I doubt the human race will ever forget the initiation of another deadly weapon.

    Here are two: the longbow and the trebuchet. I'm sure a historian can tell you when these devestating weapons were first used (1066 comes to mind for some reason)

    Other weapons: musket, tank, artillery, stirrups, ironclads, many others...

    I don't think people will "forget"

    I will not contribute to these other moral issues being raised, I don't want to embarass myself with my ignorance

    L8R

    Pete

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    A little off topic here

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki let the genie out of the box, (for good or ill concerning WW2), but others saw the destructive power and wanted that for themselves. Britain included. Not all of these states were democracies, and some tyrants did embark on their own nuclear programmes.

    Saddam Husain had one, and luckily the Israelis were not going to allow it and so they sent their fighter planes to destroy them (See This Link)

    Colonal Ghadaffi Had one, and after seeing the US attacks on Iraq in 2003, invited the US to come and take it away as he decided to be a "good boy" (I wonder why)

    Today we see news of an accord between India and Pakistan

    Nuclear weapons can not be uninvented, but thankfully it was the superpowers that kept everything in check, after a fashion..

    But what is really scary concerning nuclear weaopns is what happened to the stock piles of soviet battlefield tactical nuclear weapons after the splintering of the Soviet Union?

    What if a few of them were to fall in to the hands of say Al Quaida...

    It is only a matter of time berfore a terrorist explodes a nuclear device in a city. We used to think that no group would want to be the villains who did that. 9/11 showed that to be a false sense of security.

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    I believe the biggest consequence of using the nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the fact that America remained the only nation in the world that had used nuclear bombs; even with good intentions in the Cold War, America would be viewed as hypocritical for that choice. (How can we trust that America is peaceful when you actually used the weapons you want us to get rid of?)

    However, I think it was a good choice, the lesser of two evils. But could there have been a lesser of three evils, perhaps?

    Truman could have performed a test on a deserted island, and demonstrated the power before using it in war.

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    And the Japaneese would have concluded that they did not have the courage to use it on a city, and called their bluff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    ..Truman could have performed a test on a deserted island, and demonstrated the power before using it in war.
    I don't think such a "demonstration" would have worked even if it could have been pulled off. It's not like the Japanese population could tune into their version of CNN and watch this terrible weapon "live" at any rate. Besides, we did "demonstrate" the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Japan didn't surrender, so I don't think detonating a nuke on a deserted isle would have persuaded them either. I think when Nagasaki was bombed the Japanese hierarchy figured we'd just keep dropping them and that's what prompted them to acquiesce.

    Regarding this "third option," there's two other factors to consider. In the midst of a brutal war, how would such a demonstration have been conducted? Somehow, "Time out Japan, we want to show you something" doesn't sound realistic. The other factor was our nuclear arsenal at the time. IIRC we didn't have nukes to spare back then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    How can we trust that America is peaceful when you actually used the weapons you want us to get rid of?
    We only used them on an enemy who had attacked us and had given them many chances to surrender during a massive war. When we had a monopoly on them, we didn't start empire building. I doubt the same would have happened if Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the USSR had had the same monopoly.

    Truman could have performed a test on a deserted island, and demonstrated the power before using it in war.
    There are many problems with that. They were jury rigged devices, and it was amazing that the first three devices all worked. Plutonium and Uranium didn't exactly grow on trees. Japan had already suffered massively (look at the Tokyo firebombing). Japan's government obviously accepted massive casualties.. Even when we used one, they didn't give in - among other things, they suspected we didn't have the resources to do it again. Even after the second one, if things had gone just a little different in their government's machinations, Japan still wouldn't have surrendered.

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