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WMD...was it so necessary?

Discussion in 'Atomic Bombs In the Pacific' started by Brandon Lee, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Brandon Lee

    Brandon Lee New Member

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    Some regard today's holiday as little more than an excuse to give state employees a beach day off. But it in fact marks a momentous day in world history -- the end of War World II, a struggle that claimed the lives of an estimated 50 million people.
    Japan surrendered shortly after the United States dropped atomic bombs on two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The 70th anniversary of those bombings has reinvigorated a decades-long debate about whether America was right to do that.
    Critics of the action -- which killed an estimated 130,000 people, most of them civilians -- argue that the Japanese had sought negotiations in 1944, and that the United States thus had no moral right to fight on. Recognizing victory was no longer probable, Japanese leaders had hoped a negotiated peace might help them avoid being held accountable for their war crimes, to retain control of some of the countries they had conquered, and to keep their emperor in place.
    Indeed, some scholars now argue that the A-bombs were not even what drove the Japanese to surrender. Japan had hoped the Soviets might play a role in a negotiated end to the war. It was only after Russia invaded Japanese-held Manchuria, ending that dream, that the surrender came.
    We may never know exactly what led Japan to quit. We do know that there was no appetite in America for concessions to Japan, as victory neared against a country that had launched a sneak attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor; threatened our existence as a free society; treated civilians and prisoners with savagery; and forced enormous sacrifice on our people, as our young men struggled to push Japan back, island by island.
    It also seems highly probable that far fewer lives -- including those of Japanese civilians – were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki than would have been lost during an all-out invasion of Japan. We personally know Americans, stationed in the Pacific at the time, who were deeply grateful that President Harry S. Truman used the means at his disposal to end the war before the invasion commenced.
    Clearly, the surrender was beneficial to the world. With humane help from the United States, Japan avoided social collapse and starvation, and became a prosperous, innovative democracy, one of our strongest allies.
    That is what we celebrate today. Maybe, even on the beach, we can pause to remember those who defended our freedom and made very difficult decisions amid the chaos of war.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  4. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Japans negotiations involved demanding the right to keep territory. The Us alternatives were quit the war and allow Japan to rearm, invade and inflict tens of millions of casualties or blockade and watch millions die of starvation. The only ones responsible were Japans leaders who were willing to destroy their country rather then lose face.
     
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  5. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    What would President Brandon Lee have done?

    And i often wonder at what the grieving mothers and children etc of the dead of Operation Olympic when they found out that Truman had had the means to stop the war, and had not done so. Probably dragged him out of the White House and LYNCHED him!
     
  6. gaweidert

    gaweidert New Member

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    Truman simply had to drop the bomb. Doing so saved the lives tens of thousands of American soldiers and sailors and millions of Japanese. We actually did firebombing raids on Japaneses cities that killed more people than the atomic bomb blasts. With the atomic bomb in our arsenal the Japanese military would no longer gaurantee that they could keep the homeland and the emperor safe. After the second bomb was dropped the emperor made the decision to finally stop the war in order to preserve the homeland and culture of Japan. He overrode the Army which wanted a war to the end. Having the Russians come in was certainly part of the equation, but Russia did not declare war on Japan until the day that second bomb was dropped.

    What most people do not realize was that the Japanese Army and homeland had suffered very little damage in WWII. Most of the doamge we did was to their navy and naval personnel. For instance, the sailors who survived the sinking of the 4 carriers at Midway were not allowed to go home but were immediately assigned ot garrison duties on various islands in the Pacific.

    Ths Japanese had correctly guessed where we would have to invade the homeland. We estimated that there we three divisiond of troops there. There were actually 9. The Japansese still ahd an air fleet numbering over 12.000 aircraft. Many of these were assigned to Kamikazi units that were to sink ships in the invasion fleet. 36 ships were sunk at Okinawa and another 368 were damaged. Any invasion fleet would have suffered many times that in an invasion of the Japanese homeland.

    We had over 20,000 killed at Okinawa, 55,000 wounded and 26,000 cased of combat fatigue as it was called at the time. The fury of the battles if Okinawa and Iwo Jima was a huge factor in Truman's decision. One that may have saved the lives of my father and my father in law.

    In a 1985 interview the then mayor of Hiroshima was being interviewed by an American journalist. He was a bomb blast survivor. He was asked if he was mad at hte US for dropping the bomb on his city, He was incredulous at the question. He repleid that of course not. Japan ahd started the war with the US and the US ended it using the weapons that they had. He then stated that if Japan had developed such a weapon they would not have hesitated to use it on the US, IT was total war.
     
  7. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    'Operation Ketsu-Go' is a real eye opener to any 'what if' on this subject.

    My personal view is that 'Operation Olympic' would have FAILED! The US troop ships would have been sunk long before they got to Kyushu.

    JMO


    John
     
  8. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Again I refer you to Downfall and Hell to Pay. After reading them, I think the Japanese attraction to Ketsu-Go and the awareness that the US had to invade Kyushu made dropping the bomb a necessity. There are several threads that discuss the need to drop the bomb as opposed to not dropping it. While I agree with the above posters, I think that minds cannot be made up until the proper reading is done.
     
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  9. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Test post for my 'numbers' problem.
     
  10. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    No numbers.
     
  11. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    It's not a problem. It's a feature. ;)
     
  12. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    I think you call it over there, a PITA!

    90% sure it is the fault of Firefox. Not happening on any other forum though.
     
  13. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Numbers are back. I use Firefox and have had no problems.
     
  14. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Funny, I was curious as to the reasons for your numbers, lol.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The bombs made them quit, period. The whole thing about the Soviet threat is revisionist history. The Soviets didn't want to invade the home islands any more than we did - they wanted as much of the Asian mainland as they could swallow, but invading Japan itself was never seriously considered.

    With enough pressure and time, we probably could have negotiated a settlement where Japan gave up all of its possessions and reverted back to pre-expansion days. Then we'd have a hostile nation under the same leadership - a cold war. And this after tens of millions of Chinese and other Asian deaths, American, Brit/Commonwealth deaths, billions of dollars in expense and looking ahead to the next war when they rebuilt their army and navy.

    Only occupation of the home islands would end the war in a fashion that made any strategic sense. We could expend another 2, 3, 4 million Japanese, American, Brit and Commonwealth lives, or start dropping the bombs. The bombs made strategic sense. They also made moral sense - 130,000 lives vs millions of lives.

    It was necessary.
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Keith is right. After reading Frank's Downfall, I've come to the same conclusion about the role of the Soviets. They had little influence on the outcome of the war. Japanese representatives in Moscow had no real instructions to do anything but delay in hopes of getting better terms in the peace. The only thing that brought the fighting to an end was the use of the bombs. Period.
     
  17. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    The Russians agreed at Yalta that they would enter the Pacific War 90 days after the German surrender. This they did to the day,

    They wanted the Kuriles and had no interest in giving up the few days it took to get them.

    Japan knew they were beaten and only wanted to change the "Unconditional Surrender" to some better deal, including keeping the Emperor off the scaffold. Big Mac did that anyway.
     
  18. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    I do wonder about German attitudes about surrendering to the Americans compared to the Soviets. Tokyo watched the Americans slow to watch the Soviets take
    Berlin. They had to wonder even if unofficially and had to know of Soviet brutality and future lifestyle. There also had to be fear of a SOVIET CHINA.

    My dad and uncle would have been in a Japan invasion. Call it what you want, but the bombs still were an attack on civilian populations.

    That aspect is cruel. Think about how we complain about the lack of control we have over our democratic governments. Civilians in Japan were decidedly more lacking in control.
     
  19. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Many more German civilians died via conventional bombs, than Japanese via the nuclear bombs. And millions more Japanese civilians would have died in an invasion, had we not used the bombs. We had to have an occupation, a complete surrender, rather than a cease-fire, settlement, whatever. Anything less than occupation would have left the same militarists in charge, and set the stage for another war in coming years.

    The emperor was a puppet. The government was run by a council of army and navy militarists. They had to go or we'd have to fight them all over again a few years later. We had to have an unconditional surrender. Period. That's the simple and ugly reality.
     
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  20. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Quite so, Sir. A discrete round of applause from the cheap seats.
    I honestly think there's little more to be said on the subject than that.
    Genuine objective truths are rare in any period of history, but the above still stands for me as the only logical viewpoint on 'The Bomb' in WW2, and the more I read, the more that viewpoint is enforced.
    Any talk of conditional or negotiated surrender was and is, frankly, nonsense. The way to end that particular theatre was brutal and direct - as the belligerent target had been for the previous decade, and would continue to be if given any wriggle room at all.

    Ugly indeed, but that doesn't make it wrong.
     

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