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No Apologies For Hiroshima or Nagasaki (from an email)

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Ken The Kanuck, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The suggestion that is put forth that they were peaceful cities with no military targets is meant to show that the US was just being murderous with their new toys. This usually comes from folks who have no time on the subject and no thought of adding to their knowledge base, they're one step shy of conspiracy theorists to me. CTers have as their goal to make a person or group look bad, and will say or do anything to accomplish that. The reason they are impervious to the fatal flaws of their theories is they don't care about that kind of thing. Just so long as it gets out there they're happy, the demonizing will continue. The "happy, peaceful cities" folks don't have the excuse of the mission, they're just lazy.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    It's very difficult to make a definition of "terror bombing" that doesn't include the fire bombing campaigns or the A-Bombs and still refers to anything, both incendiaries and nukes are area weapons, while the do probably destroy the target they also kill anyone in the neighbourhood, so stating "they were not targeting civilians" is simply false, they may not be primarily be targeting civilians, and I doubt even that when the results were judged by the size of built up area destroyed, but they knew perfectly well they were going to kill thousands of them. IMO the term "collateral damage" has no moral relevance, it's still voluntary killing.

    What I believe is critical here is that aerial bombing, like all military action, has two effects, a physical one and a moral one and IMHO the moral one is by far the most important one as I tend to side with Clausewitz's assertion that the ultimate target in warfare is the enemy's will to fight not the physical destruction of the enemy. Aerial bombing has a mixed record in this respect, it actually helped increase enemy determination to fight in the Blitz and Serbia, and possibly Germany as well, but succeeded in Yugoslavia, Japan (limited to the A bombs) and at Rotterdam and Warsaw where the bombing was crucial to forcing a surrender. What is interesting here is that in all successful instances "shock" that is not that different from "terror" was caused by single high intensity attacks while the protracted bombing campaigns, while producing material effects, failed to be decisive. So it seems to me that protracted bombing is basically attritional warfare, the worst kind there is from a human perspective as it's likely to last a long while with no results.

    BTW adopting an "attrition" strategy in an asymmetrical context is really begging for your opponent to come up with something really horrible and unexpected to strike back, unfortunately the western military, with their "avoid losses at all costs" doctrine are often doing just that. We often seem to have lost the vision of targeting the "will to fight" in favour of body count and letting internal propaganda needs trump actions aimed at enemy morale.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    If wars were fought using peace time morality there would be no wars fought. Lovely idea, ain't gonna happen.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I disagree. IMO the term "terror bombing" should refer to raids whose primary purpose was to induce fear into the civilian populace. If the primary purpose of the raid is to destroy targets of military (including logistics and production) nature then it's not "terror bombing".

    Again I disagree. If there is IMO a huge difference between targeting civilians and targeting legitimate targets which may (and in some cases clearly will) result in civilian casualties. You simply can't fight a war without the latter but the former is unnecessary. Once the decision is made to fight rather than simply surrender one simply has to realize that civilians will be killed in some senses of the word this is volentary but it's a long way from deliberately targeting them.

    The thing is the moral of the civilian populace is often not a key factor. The moral of the leadership and the combatants is. Nor is moral always the key component. Especially on smaller scales physical destruction of the opposition and their means to fight is often critical. I'm wouldn't limit the moral effects on Japan to the A-bombs either I think the conventional bombing played an important part. In Japan's case some of the leadership was already convinced that surrender was the best option and most of the rest were convinced (IMO) that they couldn't win but could "die with honor" the atomic bombs convinced enough of the latter group that even that wasn't possible. The bombing campaigns also may have (and IMO almost assuredly did) have a significant impact on the decisions to surrender and how the populace and military reacted to this both in the short and long term.

    While this is true to some extent I've there has been a very significant effort IMO targeting the "will to fight" although it has concentrated on key personel rather than the civilian or even the bulk of the fighters of the groups being attacked. Much of this is not well reported and perhaps purposely so.
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    You say if the primary purpose of the A-bomb was to destroy 'some' military targets? Hmm...bit like using (an expensive) sledge hammer to crack a few nuts...
    To me, the primary purpose of the first was to see if it would work and what would happen...the second to destroy all will to continue...IMO
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    We knew it worked. The Little Boy was dead simple, get two hemispheres of uranium close enough together quickly enough to avoid puddling before the mass went critical. An engineering problem, not a physics one. Fat Man was more complicated, but, again, the physics were done and they were testing the timing circuits of the implosion bomb at the Trinity test.

    As for "cracking nuts", we weren't trying to do that, we wanted to powder them. It worked. We did learn things from the two bombings, but it would have been moronic to not try to get information from the events.

    In the end, I guess it depends on whether or not one is in the "let's kill a few more Japs, just for shits-and-grins" school or not. I don't know adults in that school, they're all graduated to the real world.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The first device exploded was indeed to see if it would work. The second and third were aimed at destroying military targets and hopefully convincing the Japanese high command to surrender. Neither the second or third were aimed at inducing terror in the civilian population. Indeed the potential civilian casualties especially in the event of Downfall being prosecuted were a point in favor of using the 2nd, 3rd, and potentially latter devices against Japan.
     
  9. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    peep:
    "there is IMO a huge difference between targeting civilians and targeting legitimate targets which may (and in some cases clearly will) result in civilian casualties. You simply can't fight a war without the latter but the former is unnecessary."

    Civilians worked in the factories that produced war materials, wether directly or indirectly. By bombing WW2 civilians, their capability to go to work was physically and emotionally obstructed.
    Roadways and other infrastructure is damaged, thereby helping impede Japans abilty to make war...
    The fanatical devotion to the Emperor implied the civilian population would never capitulate unless commanded to do so. which could only have been brought about by the use of overwhelming force.

    Probaly similar to todays fanatical islamic sects, where Kamikazi like tactics have been employed.

    Hmmm, how to deal with fervent religious fanatics...
     
  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    seems like it was needed to make the bombs do the most destruction, because there were still some that did NOT want to surrender, after 2 cities were demolished!!....the only way to do that, was to drop it on a populated city...this had a great impact on the emperor ..
    .Opana made a great point on using peacetime morality...
     
  11. WW2HistoryGal

    WW2HistoryGal Member

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    This was floating around the Internet on the anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. I was in violent disagreement with this "historian."

    [SIZE=x-large]Our “Merciful” Ending to the “Good War”[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]Or How Patriotism Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry[/SIZE]
    By Christian Appy
    “Never, never waste a minute on regret. It's a waste of time.”
    -- President Harry Truman
    Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I'm wondering if we've come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world's only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people -- slowly and painfully -- leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000?
    Given the last seven decades of perpetual militarization and nuclear “modernization” in this country, the answer may seem like an obvious no. Still, as a historian, I've been trying to dig a little deeper into our lack of national contrition. As I have, an odd fragment of Americana kept coming to mind, a line from the popular 1970 tearjerker Love Story: “Love,” says the female lead when her boyfriend begins to apologize, “means never having to say you're sorry.” It has to be one of the dumbest definitions ever to lodge in American memory, since real love often requires the strength to apologize and make amends.
    More here:

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176031/tomgram%3A_christian_appy%2C_america%27s_hiroshima_and_nagasaki_70_years_later/#more
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You should have given us a warning WW2HistoryGal.

    [SIZE=x-large]Our “Merciful” Ending to the “Good War”[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]Or How Patriotism Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry[/SIZE]
    By Christian Appy
    This article is for amusement purposes only, and is not meant to be taken seriously!


    I must admit I had several good belly laughs reading it. Christian Appy may be a "professor of history", however I it should be properly termed "Professor of Alternate History." For he is a very poor historian.
     
  13. WW2HistoryGal

    WW2HistoryGal Member

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    EXACTLY.
     
  14. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    It is a revisionist and biased essay. Sad thing is that if "scholars" repeat this often enough the mass of humanity will believe it.
     
  15. WW2HistoryGal

    WW2HistoryGal Member

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    That it is. It's very sad.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm sorry the Japanese wound up nearly committing national suicide. I'll be sorrier if they don't learn from the mistake of letting rabid militarists hijack their country.
     
    USS Washington likes this.
  17. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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  18. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    yes they got POUNDED/burned/etc....most of the major cities received heavy damage, along with the 2 hit with the bombs...I really don't think most people alive can effectively imagine what it was like .....we have news' stories about the big China explosion and warehouse fires.......wasn't Little Boy about 15 times this last China explosion?? just imagine whole BLOCKS of houses on fire!
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've lost my notes on some of this, but I remember the term "city smasher" was used by the people who reported back to the Big Six.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The recent Chinese blasts(there were two) don't even come close to Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Reports of the blast estimate the yield at around 3 tons(TNT) for the first and 21 tons for the second. No offense meant, but this, comparatively speaking, is peanuts.

    The combined PEPCON explosions(1988) were around 1 kiloton in yield
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V-1BL1Tr90

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvaaWwRWJ9I

    Hiroshima was around 16 kilotons and Nagasaki was around 21 kilotons.
     

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