I was having a discussion with a few friends the other day regarding the war, and the subject of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came up. One of my friends has always been of the opinion that we should not have used the bombs. Several of us are fairly well versed in the typical responses to this viewpoint, even knowing that they will do little good towards influencing him or anyone who feels this way. But one of my friends put forth an argument I had never heard before, and I was just wondering what others might think of this. Rather than the usual arguments for using the bombs because of the cost to both sides of the potential invasion, the fact that we were going to use conventional bombs to annihilate them regardless, the blockade would have starved the country cruelly anyway, etc., he put forth the following, which I am still trying to digest, although it seems to make some sense. He suggested that if we had not used the two bombs on Japan, and the world had not seen firsthand the absolute devastation wrought on the cities and the longterm effects of radiation poisoning etc, then either the U.S. or the Soviets might not have been as hesitant to use the H-bombs for a first strike when we had both developed and stockpiled them, and thus the two superpowers would have been far more likely to have entered into a doomsday scenario and annihilated each other to the cost of tens if not hundreds of millions of lives and large metropolitan areas of each country leveled and uninhabitable for years to come, thus the 2 bombs used on Japan actually saved uncountable lives. I have to admit that this is the first time I had ever heard this viewpoint. Has anyone else ever heard this argument, and more importantly do you think this is a valid point? I'd like to think we still would have avoided a nuclear worldwide holocaust, but the argument seems to have some merit to me. If we had not had the examples of two destroyed cities, would we have been less resistant to using the weapons against one another, and would we truly have destroyed a great deal of the civilized world if we had not had actual examples of what these weapons could do? I mean it's one thing to see films of a large explosion in the desert or the pacific ocean, but without the perspective of two cities in ruins would the powers that be have really been more willing to use them en masse?