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WMD...was it so necessary?

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

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Odd then that many others, including myself have not come to that conclusion.

    Cold-blooded revenge would have been better served by taking any of the other options. Ending the war as quickly as possible, was not revenge. Letting millions of Japanese starve would have been revenge. Continuing the bombing campaign of Japan until there was nothing left but rubble would have been revenge. Then again, where was this "revenge" after the war? In fact, there was very little of it...The Americans sent a vast number of stores to help Japan stave off famine. The Japanese were treated quite well by the occupying forces. The Emperor kept his head, neck, and life.

    Just the US showing off...Heck we were doing that when we announced US bombing raids of Japanese cities well in advance of the raid - and the Japanese still could not put up an adequate defense - Now, that is showing off.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Again, do your own research...

    The firebombing was necessary from a military stand point. Precision bombing of Japan was turning into an abject failure with high losses of men and planes. More often then not, the target was not destroyed(or even badly damaged), and another raid would have to be scheduled to hit the same target again.

    Now, let's look at the Great Tokyo Fire Raid. Some 22 military and industrial targets lay within the area specified for the first fire raid. Hence, 22 targets would require a minimum of 22 daylight precision raids. The average loss rate of a precision mission was 4-5 B-29s per mission. Now that would be a total loss of 88 - 110 B-29s with the ensuing loss of some 968 – 1210 crewmen (granted not all of the crewmen might die, there was always the possibility of rescue).

    Yet, with the Tokyo fire raid, all 22 targets were destroyed in one stroke, with minimal losses to the B-29s.

    Cold. Hard. Numbers.

    How many letters to the families of US servicemen lost in action would you be willing to write...Just so that you can maintain the moral high ground.



    Yes, war is cruel. That's stating the obvious. Funny how quick that we are willing to revert to it given our knowledge of how cruel it is.



    We tried the "not being cruel" route. Unfortunately, you get more with a kind word and a two-by-four, than you do with just a kind word.



    What could have been avoided?

    The fire raids against Japan? Yes, most certainly they could have been avoided...Japan could have surrendered when they realized the war was lost back in 1944. Regretfully, their "honor" was more important to them, so they chose to fight on.

    Hiroshima & Nagasaki? Again, see the above.

    The Pacific War in general? Yes, most certainly. But, the Japanese leadership enter into a war with the US knowing full well that it was almost impossible for them to win. Yet, they still decided to go to war.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    There is a huge difference between Japan and Germany when it comes to ending the war, in Germany Hitler, after surviving the bob plot, was in firm control and was never going to surrender, it's also pretty questionable whether he was rational by 1944, assuming he ever was. in Japan there was an emperor that could oust the war party once he realized the war was lost, it happened in Italy where Mussolini was removed from power by the king when it was apparent the war was lost, and getting that to happen was the fastest way of ending the war.

    But simply ending the war was not the priority, the US got fixated with "unconditional surrender" so negotiated peace was unacceptable, ironically they ended up keeping the emperor, that had been the stumbling block, when they finally realized removing him would likely have resulted in chaos.

    IMO the collapse on the army in front of the Soviet offensive was likely to be more than enough, and the starvation threat, no need for it actually happening, was also likely to tilt he balance without any need for WMDs. But we will never know for sure, I don't think Hiro Hito ever gave his full version of the facts.

    What I'm pretty sure of is that, given the Japanese mind-set, any negotiated peace in 1944 was far more likely to bring about a ritual suicide of the military crique than it's survival, Japanese politics was not a bloodless affair.

    My personal opinion is that the dropping of the bombs had much more to do with inertia, that is the main driver behind a lot of things, than with anything else, stopping the process would have required a lot more effort and "political risk" than letting it continue.

    As to the moral justification of killing thousands of civilians to get at some installation of military significance, and that's what the fire raids were, it's a short step from there to just putting bombs in the streets "because they are supporting the war/invasion/puppet government" or any other "state sponsored crime" according to the bomber's logic. The sort of arguments that support the bombings can be used to justify almost anything, try this one for size "the only people who deserve the bomb are those that, by using it, declared it's use acceptable".
     
  4. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting take. I guess I will remain on the fence, which I tend to sit on whenever this discussion comes up. It's most assuredly not a black and white issue. Morally, I do not agree, but necessary given the alternatives.

    You bring up a good point politically as well.

    The second bombing is what throws me. Was the primary reason political? Was the U.S. just flexing their muscles as a superpower to the Soviet Union? Did all signs point to the Japanese eventually coming to a peace agreement?
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In my opinion revenge wasn't so much a motive as an enabling factor. Had the Japanese not started the war as they did and conducted it the way they did the allies might have been more willing to settle for something other than unconditional surrender and devastating Japan. In a similar vein a demonstration for the Soviets wasn't a bad thing as far as the leadership at the time was concerned but I don't think it was a major motive.
     
  6. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    Again, do your own research...
    That's funny. I doubt you've footnoted more material, dug through National Archives, and interviewed more WW2 vets than I have. Debating is one thing. Insults usually cover over lack of content.

    The firebombing was necessary from a military stand point.
    That is strictly an opinion on your part. You should read Bowen's Fighting With the Screaming Eagles. His opinion as a WW2 vet that saw it as a POW.

    How many letters to the families of US servicemen lost in action would you be willing to write...Just so that you can maintain the moral high ground.
    What is funny is that you in some ways are using my argument. You are stating it is a political or emotional decision rather than cold hard facts in a necessary environment.

    We tried the "not being cruel" route. Unfortunately, you get more with a kind word and a two-by-four, than you do with just a kind word.
    Are you one who sees US troops as Boy Scouts with guns always doing what is right? For some reason I don't think you support our current admin in all decisions. Your comment is an opinion laced rant.



    The Pacific War in general? Yes, most certainly. But, the Japanese leadership enter into a war with the US knowing full well that it was almost impossible for them to win. Yet, they still decided to go to war.
    Yes they did...but why? Why did they attack Pearl Harbor? Were we getting directly involved because of atrocities against the Chinese? Because of actions against the British Empire?
    We cut off their blood supply. Why? All altruism? No way.

    We also leave out the racism aspect of the bomb. Was it more acceptable to nuke Japanese than it would have been to nuke Germans?

    We can go back and forth. Could not dropping the bombs have led to bad outcomes. Of course. Maybe the Japanese would have developed a time machine. They were defeated. The basic questions still are:
    Was it necessary?
    Not likely, but maybe.
    Is it right to attack civilians?
    I hope I'm not attacked for the current admin decisions or previous decisions. Then again we can digress into WMD debates again.
    Let's say ISIS and the "Evil Axis" wins the current wars. And they nuke the US.....Justified? Yes, in their eyes I am sure.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As to the first you don't quite have that correct. The Emperor did not have the power to unilaterally remove the war party. He had been pushing for peace for the last several months. He needed the political support of at least the parity of the council and a good rational to do so. The bombs provided that.

    The fixation on "unconditional surrender" was not just a US fixation. The lack of it in WWI was viewed as one of the main factors that lead to WWII. Keeping the Emperor was hardly ironic. It was the arguably the best choice but the point was it was the choice of the victors.

    As for the Soviet intervention there is little to suggest that the loss of Manchuria would lead to an immediate surrender. Indeed had the bombs not been dropped the invasion of the Kuriles may have failed or at least given the Japanese a victory or two and prolonged the war. When you consider that the combination of the bombs and the loss of Manchuria almost failed to end the war suggesting that dropping the bombs didn't hasten the end of the war makes little sense.

    The question is what kind of negotiated peace would they have accepted in 44? Would they have been willing for instance to give up their holdings in China? I doubt it at that point. The possibility that the leaders of the war party would commit suicide is hardly enough to offset that. Then there's the possibility of the leaders of the peace party being assassinated as well and another war party taking over leadership.

    Inertia may have played a part but there were a number of powerful leaders arguing for different strategies and considerable deliberation was given to whether or not to drop the bomb so how much part it played is an open question.

    The line was drawn in the international conventions, certainly it could have been drawn elsewhere but that's where they were in WWII and that governed to a large extent what was considered acceptable. The experience of WWII including dropping the bombs and fire bombing did lead to a revision of the conventions and one that pushed in the direction of reducing collateral casualties rather than making them more acceptable.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The primary reason for the second was the same as the first. The ability of the US to refine Uranium was known or subject to reasonable projection. We had enough Uranium for one bomb and wouldn't have enough for another for some time. It was not unreasonable to expect the Japanese to understand that as well. The use of a second bomb so soon afterwards showed that we had overcome that limit. Post war evidence suggest that said reasoning was correct. There was some debate as to whether or not to drop the third one ASAP or wait and use it tactically during the invasions or use a number of them in a mass bombing at a later date.
     
  9. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    I feel that you are now taking it to another level. If your point is that the US involvement prior to Dec. 7 was selfish in nature, I can no longer take it seriously. Of course no one is truly selfless, the US had considerable political reasons for blockade, but those were secondary to that current state in the world. NOT ONE of the allies wanted another world war, and to suggest that the US were perhaps baiting their involvement for political gain is uninformed.


    We also leave out the racism aspect of the bomb. Was it more acceptable to nuke Japanese than it would have been to nuke Germans?

    I have no words for this comment. It clearly seems that you are trying to drum up issues.
     
  10. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    You have got to be kidding me. The US had a segregated military. The US interned Japanese Americans, not German. You don't think race would have been a discussion if the bombs were ready prior to German surrender? And you want others to take you seriously? The US still is and was a country largely of German descent. We are further removed now from the German influx, not so much in 1945. Even in the 60s it was not uncommon for German to be heard fairly often in small communities.

    You think war isn't about selfishness? You think we lived in a total vacuum and made all decisions on altruism? Nations compete. We are now competing with Russia. Our interests would be to sell energy to Europe and/or have US based companies involved in Donbas. It is normal competition. Our corporate and energy interests also involve harming Russia's main economic competitive advantage. If you miss that you live in a hole. You think corporate and nationalistic competition didn't see it's way into WW2, then you are taking the arguing to a whole argument into a whole new low intelligence level. The US in ww2 wasn't Boy Scouts against gangs exactly. The US rarely gets involved in wars for humanitarian reasons.

    I have no words for your comments....again those types of words are meant to cover up lack of content. If you want to have big boy discussions, you can't only argue naive points.
     
  11. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Your comment, which I deliberately displayed as you typed it, was NOT prefaced at all. Hence my objection. It was a statement without provocation that just seems a bit baiting.

    Unfortunately, and not trying to sound condescending, we are on a forum. When you use comments randomly that have not fit into your argument then it sounds, IMHO, like an attempt to conjure up more interest.
     
    George Patton likes this.
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    W. T. Sherman:

    If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop the war.
    .....
    You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices today than any of you to secure peace.
    .....
    You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.
    .....
    You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!
     
  13. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting, because I have not said any of those things. If you read the post carefully, and I recommend it, I agree with you on the political selfishness, but considerable attempts were made to stay out of the war while supporting our interests from thousands of miles away.
     
  14. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Insults only make you look built on an unstable foundation of logic.

    I love a good debate, and I have no issue with another's reasoning. I have no ego and will take on another's perspective if the research and sources dictate it. However, one must be OPEN to another's opinions. When one closes the door before the argument begins, what's the point. This is the most polarizing issue of the war. The moral aspect of it overwhelms. One in which I cringe when thinking about it.
     
  15. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    Agree completely with this post. I was opposing your insult. If it was meant for me, why not then use it somewhere else. If you read my posts my insults are only in relationship to an insult instigated by someone else and only to make the point. Your original point was intended as an insult. "Taking it to a new level" was an attempt to insult. My argument was a viable argument whether you agree or not.
     
  16. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Lol, I agree with much of your argument, only a couple components I disagree with, and I mentioned them above.

    I am afraid that whenever the subject is brought up on the forum, the moral issues exacerbate the argument.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The US may have been segregated but the bomb was planned for Germany. Indeed there were those that objected to using it against Japan that were all for dropping it on Germany. So racism looks to play little role in the decision.

    The rant in the second paragraph is initiated by straw men and really introduces nothing that most if not all of us aren't aware of. Although Boy Scouts vs gangs might be a pretty good analogy inspite of your opinion on the matter. As for your final conclusion it's quite obviously false. The US often get involved in wars for humanitarian reasons, they aren't the only reasons however and may often not be the dominant ones but they are there.

    As for your third paragraph it rather refutes itself.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What did you consider an insult? Why do you consider the above insults? I didn't see anything he said that I would consider such. Furthermore you accused me of insulting you as well, when I asked where you ignored it. After reviewing my comments in this tread I don't really see any insults. So again which comments do you consider insults. A point being an insult? "Taking it to a new level" an insult? It's a perfectly reasonable observation at this point. If you don't like it explain why in a reasoned and rational way don't get huffy about it. I'm not sure I've seen any viable arguments by you in this thread by the way. You give opinions some based on assumptions of questionable validity and arrive at conclusions based on the preceding by leaps of faith. Not really a viable argument in my book.
     
  19. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    That is an insult. Yours are also based on opinions, albeit using found facts to support your opinion which really doesn't anymore than other opinions. You do it repeatedly. You are just as huffy.
     
  20. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

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    Not going to address your again insults. However, to deny that racism could have had a part in it is again your opinion, not fact.

    OK, so what humanitarian wars does the US get involved in? Kuwait?
     

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